Archive | February, 2017

Roses are Red

15 Feb

Valentine’s Day is a boiling heap of commercialistic bollocks. I know this. If I got flowers and bubbles every year I might lean more to the side of not caring about the commercialistic bollocks part of it but, sigh, Japan takes it to a whole new level.

In Japan, February 14 is for girls giving to boys and March 14, White Day, is for boys giving back to girls. It has evolved into all sorts of madness and now essentially chocolates are exchanged between work colleagues – this is a voluntary obligation in many places, as the name ‘giri-choco’ (obligation chocolate) suggests. The next biggest group of chocolate givers are girls to their other girl friends. This also has an original name, ‘tomo-choco’ (friend chocolate).

I remember last year, or perhaps the year before, Marina wanted to give chocolate to one of the boys in her class. We made some together and took it too his house and Marina was all nervous and cute and giggly. The whole thing was marvelous. The original ‘doki-doki’ ‘waku-waku’ of giving to someone you actually fancy. Brought back memories of my youth.

This year she wanted to bypass all the boys and just give tomo-choco to all the girls in the school. Obviously if our local school was a normal size I would never encourage this kind of behavior, but when there are only 11 girls in the ENTIRE school and you can get away with a single batch of cookies and a batch of cupcakes then well, its a nice afternoon baking with your daughter… ….

OK, so Marina is 9 and an afternoon baking is still not a pleasant experience, mainly because I’m too much of a control freak but I’m working on it, honestly.

Anyhoo, I can see this taking far to long to tell and I’ve got a shitload of shite on my list for today so I better stop fluffing on.

She made 16 little bags with one cookie and one cupcake in each. One for each girl, one for her two main teachers and one for the principal (she also asked me to take one to her teacher from last year who is now retired and lives on the other side of town and one to the 55 year-old man who runs the local dairy – I obliged on both accounts and nothing about this is creepy, trust me)

She took her stash to school yesterday.

I came home after work to find out that her teacher had confiscated her stash, along with that of another girl. He took them to the staffroom and said they would get them back at the end of day. They then spent little break getting told off for bringing them to school when they specifically got told on Monday not to bring valentine’s day stuff to school.

Marina wasn’t at school on Monday because I was taking her to a doctor’s appointment in the city. The teacher should have written something in her notebook that Ryu had taken to school for her. Apparently the girls got called aside and told – hence why neither Ryu or Shou heard the warning in any capacity to forewarn us.

I’m fine with the teacher confiscating them until after school and I do agree that I shouldn’t have let her taken them to school but, lessons learned and all that.

However, at the end of the day the teacher gave them back and told Marina she had to give one to everyone in the 2nd and 3rd years (11 kids in total). Marina said that then she wouldn’t have any to give to her ‘girl’ friends in the other grades. Her teacher didn’t care. She had enough for the whole class (the 2nd and 3rd grades share a class and a homeroom teacher).

The other girl who had her’s confiscated only had 3 left and therefore the teacher said that she could just put them back in her bag seeing as she didn’t have enough for everyone.

So at Afterschool care she was able to give her 3 to the older girls that she wanted to give them to.

This made me quite pissed off.

I’m actually OK with the confiscating, AND the having to give to the whole class because just giving to the girls isn’t fair so please give your hard-baked cookies and cupcakes to the snowflake boys who you didn’t make them for. I can run with the teacher up until then. But letting the other girl take hers away with her? That’s just shit teacher-ing. He could have at least said go down to the staffroom and give them to the teachers, I dunno.

I’m also pissed he didn’t cop on that Marina was away for the ‘warning’ from the 6th grade teacher on Monday.

 

AND even MORE pissed that she had to give her teacher one too!! While he was admittedly on her original list of people to give to, I’m still fucked off that he ended up with some after all of that huu ha.

This is a lot of drama for a 9 year old – especially when she had promised two fifth grade girls a fricken chocolate cupcake, ya know.

Bloody hell.

I was ‘this’ close to writing to her teacher about it – not all of it, just something along the lines of

“The weather is warming up and soon the first blossoms of Spring will be upon us. I’m really sorry for the Valentine’s Day mixup. It is one of my worst failings as a terrible parent. As I’m sure you possibly might probably know, Marina wasn’t at school on Monday and didn’t hear the ‘warning’ from K-sensei. I hope you enjoyed the cupcakes”

But I didn’t. I refrained, gave Marina lots of hugs, and told her that we’d work on a more secure battle plan for next year. Perhaps Wasbi in her teacher’s cupcake?

 

Fuckin twat.

 

SDGH&QL

 

 

 

Burning Down the House

13 Feb

No, our house didn’t burn down. That’s not why I’ve been absent. I haven’t been trying to rebuild our life from ashes. BUT, Granny K, for the love of fuckin god, just about burnt down the house again yesterday, for the second bloody time. I must have posted about the first time?

Yesterday, quite ironically (but also very sadly) was the whatever year anniversary of the son of the temple next door’s death. The almost deaf temple woman, who is 90-ish, had four children. Her youngest son died many many years ago in a fire in Tokyo. He dropped his cigarette and fell asleep. Every year, on the Sunday closest to the anniversary of his death, they hold a buddhist-type memorial service and invite family and us – the next door neighbors. Hub’s brother grew-up running after said deceased temple son.

I am never invited. Hub always goes and the kids have been invited the last couple of years – ever since they stopped shitting and spewing in public I guess. They can kneel for at least five minutes, pray and then eat a sample of the lunch that is provided. Granny only goes if hub can’t. We have to present them with an envelope of money so really, the less members of the family that go the better!! Yesterday Hub gave them 10,000 yen (100 dollars) from him and another 10,000 yen because the children were going and inevitably would be fed and given a bag of lollies, chips and other shit at the end.

About an hour after the children went over to the temple they arrived back with three extra children – the youngest of which was 4. Neither of their parents showed up to ask if they could play, which of course they could but I was planning on going to the supermarket as soon as Granny K got home from seeing a talk by Higashikokubaru at the local community center. I now felt I had to ‘supervise’ (and occasionally join in). For TWO frickin hours. I mean it does help that I actually enjoy playing spy-chase-slash-hide-and -seek-with-walkie-talkies but still, damn.

Granny K arrives home as people are starting to leave the temple. All the pissed people decide they have to take a photo, which they try and drag me into. I am not in appropriate attire though (black suit) so decline and offer to take the photo. I go along with the ‘one more ワンモア’ calls and rock on with variants of ‘OK, cheese’ in English (read as agreeably play the token gaijin English card they wanted me to play – I know, I know, I deserve more than that medal. I’ve only lived here for half my life. Jeeze. Seriously, it’s like me going into the local Chinese takeaway back home in NZ and saying ‘one chicken flylice prease’ in bestest Chinese accent that doesn’t actually exist)

The mother of the children left to run free in my garden and home turns up and says thank you. I can’t imagine letting my children run free (especially the 4 year old) without an initial いいですか? or おねがいします (Do you mind? Thank you in advance). These particular kids have played in our garden before but never for this long and never without an adult presence for at least five minutes of the two hours ya know! Taking the piss and all that.

After they leave Granny K comes out of her room and says she is going next door to pray. Hub rambles on half pissed (note: most buddhist memorials involve copious amounts of beer and sake – regardless of the hour) about shite and the kids are outside gathering up the last of the snow. I am on the toilet doing a dump (for lack of an eloquent word)

Then an alarm goes off and, like the first time she nearly burnt the house down, I initially think it is the earthquake alarm – until I hear ‘火事です。火事です’ (fire! fire!). So I wipe my ass and waddle off the toilet as I try and pull my jeans up. I open Granny K’s door and smoke just about knocks me over. I navigate my way to the kitchen (it wasn’t actually this dramatic, only about 2m) to see a pot on her stove about to combust in a raging inferno. I use a towel to take it off the element and run the burnt-to-shit-shiitake-mushroom-whatever-soup it had been under the tap. I am yelling out to hub the whole time but he is in alcohol-induced slumber on the couch and obviously takes a while to register that my yelling is not my usual nagging (note to self – must fix one or the other)

He turns off the alarm and we open all her windows…

He than goes to the loo and yells the house down over the person who didn’t flush the damn chain (why do we still even say that when there is no chain!) I say sorry, it was me, I was too busy saving our house from his Unintentional PYROmaniac FUCKin MOTHER – and yes, my voice increased with each word. I then informed him that I still hadn’t even done my trousers up, that’s how imminent the impending fire was. Fark, He’s lucky I don’t give a shit about stuff like that! I mean normally, yes, but not in times of emergency.

About 20 minutes later Granny K arrives home from the temple. I say nothing – just decide to wait and see what she says.

2 minutes later she comes into our lounge and says ‘who opened all my windows? The bloody cat got in’

And I lost my shit.

I said something along the lines of “you are joking right? Why do you think we opened all your windows? Can you not smell the burning smell of shiitake mushrooms and impending house fires?”

Then she clicks and runs back into her room.

I told her that if we hadn’t been there we would no longer have a place to live and I am NOT prepared to deal with this and that if it happens again her stove top is being disconnected and she’ll have to put up with my pizza, pasta and potatoes. I was being dramatic, again. I do actually cook rice and Japanese food A LOT.

On my list of shit to get done this week is laminate a sign for all doors she needs to get through to get out of the house – which is three. We don’t exactly lock her behind ten doors and a safe of dynamite.

And that was yesterday.

 

Hope you are all well and love to the family and all that.

 

SDGH&QL

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs D Is Going Without

Too much wine in rural Japan