My Many Hats

2 Nov
  • Mother, first and foremost. I grew them in my womb, I pushed them out the saloon doors, I shared my boobs with them, and I am, for the most part, usually always in their corner – unless their corner is full of bullshit and petty lies, whining, arguments over the last ice-block, and or, who has had more seconds on the iPad (which is, as far as the kids know, in the middle of the rice paddies because dad threw it there last night – a whole post on its own. Fucktard. My thousand dollar iPad with last pics of my dying parents and footage of my brother’s wedding is not in the bloody rice paddy, but the whole fuckin huuha about it was too stupid for words and I’m currently too enraged to post about it). The mother has to teach, inspire, worry, share, love, and of course serve up the nicest parts of dinner to the children, then serve hubs and then get some if there is any left over. Β I should really put ‘Cook’ as one of my hats considering the amount of time spend in the kitchen. Did you know that two days ago I spent over an hour making mince and potato croquettes that got devoured in less than ten minutes. But then I guess I drink a glass of wine that took a few years to make in less than 20 minutes so shit knows why I’m complaining!!

 

  • House Keeper – Keeper of the House. You know, the daily shit that keeps life running smoothly for those family members, all of whom have no inkling of what it actually takes to keep the cogs turning. There’s the typically washing, dishes, cleaning, vacuuming yaddah yaddah, but then there’s annual New Years cards, getting ready for the priest’s visits and other cultural things,not to mention the dealing with people who turn up at the house. These can range from the post man, the parcel delivery guy, the water tank checker and cleaner guy – all of whom I know and smile at and who don’t expect to come inside. Then there’s the religious woman who sits in the genkan with Granny K and her magnifying glass as they talk about passages regarding Christ and the Holy Grail, fuck I don’t know. She’s annoying because she is very pushy in her extremely quiet and demur way. Then there are the random relatives who rock up at 9am and ask to pray at the family alter. Granny K is out and I have to show them in, serve them tea and make chatter for half and hour. Found out later they are cousins!! Which makes sense considering I was having a hard time trying to figure out the family tree. And by cousins I mean the husband and wife are cousins to each other. . .

 

  • English Teacher – this is third on the list because it probably takes up a third of my week. I have 50 students ranging from 3 to 16 that I teach myself at my English office in town, and then I have thirty kids I teach every Thursday at the school in the next town over, and then 20 more at the same school every second Saturday. They are generally all very good kids. Of course I have my favorites and the 3-4 year-old class leaves me exhausted to the point I have to start visualizing that end-of-day wine in order to get through my next class of 10 year olds. My husband thinks my teaching is a ‘hobby’ – ensue hysterical laughter. Dickfuck. There is planning, teaching, organizing, payment schedules, contact with parents, halloween parties, Christmas parties and of course putting on that same genki teacher face whenever I’m out in public and I inevitably meet a student, a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother (although there is only one of those I see regularly and she is super annoying because EVERY time she sees me, without fail, she comments on how big I am)

 

  • Daughter in Law – Lots of people have mothers in laws but not many are ‘fortunate’ enough to live with their aging one with no drivers license. We had A LOT of differences at the start but it is clear that now I am her preferred go to person – over hub that is. Sometimes I get shunted for the prized eldest son but usually its me. We get along a lot better and actually have conversations – which is something hub is incapable of doing with her. He gets all cross and then the next day we both just rant about him in the car on the way to one of her endless hospital visits. If it isn’t her knee, it’s her eyes, or her high blood pressure, or the other knee she got surgery on, or the time she fainted and we had to call the ambulance, or two days ago when she bumped her head getting Japanese rice wine vinegar out of the cupboard and thought she was dying… … All these things that stop me from making a daily schedule – can’t go shopping at the good supermarket cause its 40 minutes away and Granny K will no doubt need picking up from the GP right in the middle of the time I want to be away. So I go to the local supermarket and get so annoyed (in my head) at the aforementioned great grandmother of one of my students getting all suprized (fuckin again) at how big I am that I forget to get the four fillets of salmon hub specifically asked me to get because they are on special…. He finds it extremely hard to forgive anything, or anybody. There is never any “hey babe, don’t worry about it. Can you get them next time they’re on special, thanks”. It is more like “FFS, I asked you to do ONE THING”

 

  • Soccer Parent Rep – our team is very small. Only 14 kids and 10 families involved. Hub reneged on putting his hand up to be the parent rep from October through to the end of March next year – why? Because he just presumed I’d do it, even though I confirmed with him, on several several occasions, that he, himself, would be doing it. There isn’t that much to do – especially as there are no overnight tournaments to organize in this half. I have to organize all the car pooling for each game (every weekend) which means texting the group and working out how many times people have been, how many kids they can fit in their car yaddah yaddah. Coach gives me any tournament entry towels or packets of washing powder etc etc to hand out to each family. There are two parent meetings to be held, for which I need to make the handouts, decide on a date most people can come, book a room, hold the meeting. And there is the get together to farewell the 6th grade students in March.

 

  • Volunteer Helper – I help out at the school. I go in on Tuesdays and help with the morning math drills for the first graders and on Thursdays I read to the older kids. I like this and while I definitely wouldn’t whine about it because it is a choice I made, it is still something that adds to the whole day of busyness and trying to make sure I am appropriate in my choice of Japanese and cultural-ness-ness.

 

  • Volunteer Road Safety Warden – I get to wear a yellow sash and carry a flag that used to beep. Sometimes I push the button and make pretend beeping sounds anyway. I only do this once a month and all households are on the roster. That said, hub has never done it, despite it being over before he needs to go to work.

 

  • Gaijin – this is really a 24/7 hat. I am and always will be a foreigner in Japan. There will always be daily looks, constant questions, constant interest slash sometimes hatred slash sometimes over zealous people who just see me as a machine of English. Kids that point, parents that say things to them in hushed voices as I pretend not notice, smile and go along with my shopping.

 

  • Wife – if it has to make the list it can be at the bottom today. He’s seriously being a twat lately – not all the time but sometimes he just leaves me scratching my head and refilling my wine glass. Intercultural marriage is so hard. It is exhausting. It must be for him as well, I know, and I’m sure he has a list of reasons why he is so hard done by but for fucks sake . . . This all said though, my wife ‘hat’ is a full time job when he is home. Constantly making decisions on my Japanese, on how things are done, compromising on how I do things when I am on my own and when he is there.

 

I am also a translator, dog owner and WARRIOR.

Right, I better finish tidying the house, folding the washing and preparing for English – before going to the supermarket in the next town over because hub pointed out they have half-price frozen foods today…

 

 

Sweet Dreams, Good Health and Quiet Living you lot.

 

Oooooh, but before I go. My other halloween creations…

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16 Responses to “My Many Hats”

  1. littlebelgianwriter November 2, 2016 at 8:03 am #

    After reading this, I do feel for you. It’s good to rant at times. I would have a hard time coping with the gajin part I guess.

    • gaijinwife November 2, 2016 at 11:01 am #

      Ranting helped a lot!! Thankyou πŸ™‚ Having to be a ‘gaijin’ all the frickin time is sooo tiring!

  2. Anonymous November 2, 2016 at 8:39 am #

    Thank you for your honesty in this post. I have huge respect for the fact you are doing the hardest job in the world (parenting) mixed in with all your other challenges. You are amazing!

    • gaijinwife November 2, 2016 at 11:03 am #

      Thank you. I don’t think I’m amazing – although actually, no, on some days I think the shit I get through and the progress I make is pretty amazing πŸ™‚ Sometimes it would be nice if my husband had lived abroad for an extended period of time so he at least ‘got’ some of what I deal with every day.

  3. Debra November 2, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

    Where’s blogger on the list ? You do that so well ! Should be close to the top πŸ™‚

    • gaijinwife November 2, 2016 at 11:38 pm #

      Thank you Debra. I consider myself more of a venter :p

  4. Claire Debenham November 2, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

    Don’t forget translator, too. You’re obviously good at it. Though I bet hub thinks that’s a “hobby” too.

    • gaijinwife November 2, 2016 at 11:39 pm #

      You’re right, he does view it as a ‘hobby’ – which is anything that doesn’t require you to leave the house in the morning and come back in the evening! Am not in the middle of translation at moment so wasn’t thinking about it πŸ™‚

  5. matchaproblem November 3, 2016 at 2:16 am #

    Oh my god, being a gaijin is so tiring. Last time I got back to the U.S. after a while in Japan I started laughing like an insane person in the supermarket. A friend was like “?!” I was like “Nobody cares about me! I’m not interesting!!!!”

    I spent a lot of time in research settings in Tokyo where I was the only 1. woman 2. foreigner 3. academic so I was never -not- interesting, even though it’s friggin’ Tokyo and these are people in the friggin’ TV industry!

    I do have a couple of extra strikes against me: 1. I have a lot of visible tattoos, which I do my best to cover over in professional settings, but damn it’s muggy in the summer and 2. I have short hair. Oh, and I’m 5’9″. Here in Texasland, I don’t even get a glance unless I’m out with the twins.

    Wow, can you imagine if I had the twins in a grocery store in Japan? I think I just had an anxiety attack.

    • gaijinwife November 3, 2016 at 2:29 am #

      LOL – imagine if it was the supermarket here!! Everyone would just automatically assume we were related. I have a tattoo but its not visible. Jeeze, when the kids were small they would ask ‘mum, why have you got a big eye on your side?’. My answers would range from ‘all the better to see you with my child’ to ‘its not a fuckin eye its a celtic circle with thousands of years of meaning that used to look lovely when I was 20 and 30kg lighter’…..

  6. Ruth November 3, 2016 at 8:50 am #

    That’s some teaser for your next post; The iPad – Coming to a Tanbo near you! Can’t wait to hear what happened.

    • gaijinwife November 5, 2016 at 5:59 am #

      It’s still in hiding πŸ™‚ Shou keeps asking for it but I told him it isn’t coming out again unless Dad is away. He just says the dumbest shit that is not follow-through worthy at all and if he did ever chuck my iPad in the rice paddy I’d probably divorce him!

  7. Anonymous November 4, 2016 at 9:38 am #

    I just visited home (Wisconsin,USA) in Sept. It was SO nice to blend in and not be told things like,”You are tall like a man with a grandmother’s bosom.” Or when asking if a cute pair of women’s tennis shoes comes in a 25 being taken to the men’s dept and handed the ugliest pair of shoes there!

    • gaijinwife November 5, 2016 at 6:00 am #

      Normality for at least a small amount of time! Nice. Blending in sounds like a distant dream. It sucks that standing out is just something we are all used to now!

  8. bri65 November 5, 2016 at 5:11 am #

    Gosh, all I can say is, you have so much energy! And you do all of it (well, almost all of it) with a willing heart, which to me is equally as amazing. Plus, you do cool Halloween make-up masks! Not just one mask, but many!!

    I will also say, thanks for your blog. Don’t stop!

    • gaijinwife November 5, 2016 at 6:01 am #

      Some days I surprise myself at how much gets done. Other days I vege on the couch for hours and try to get more stars on Jelly Splash. Got to find that middle ground right πŸ™‚

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Mrs D Is Going Without

Too much wine in rural Japan

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