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.










6 Responses to “Burning Down the House”

  1. littlebelgianwriter February 13, 2017 at 9:56 am #

    OMG! I am glad everybody is ok and the house did not burn down.

    • gaijinwife February 13, 2017 at 10:08 am #

      So am I. It was one of those ‘thank god we were bloody home’ instances. Don’t need anymore. The first time it happened Granny K was all in tears but this time she was just like ‘Oh, I forgot the mushrooms hahahaha’ – hence why I lost me shit 🙂

  2. Grace February 13, 2017 at 10:41 am #

    And Happy New Year to you! Was about to send enquiring email to establish whether or not you had fallen off the planet. Good job you have smoke/fire alarms!

    • gaijinwife February 13, 2017 at 10:54 am #

      Happy New Year! I nearly wrote many posts – and then I had recent family fuckwittage (NZ family not here) so I just didn’t get around to posting. VERY VERY glad we put in all our alarms.

  3. Mr Sekimachihato February 13, 2017 at 11:51 pm #

    So nice to click on the refresh page icon and see you have a new post! Not so good thought about that granny K and her fire antics. I saw on the news that there are 107 house fires throughout all of Japan every day during this dry winter season! Stay safe!

  4. Mel February 14, 2017 at 12:34 am #

    Hiya Katy, I’ve missed your blog! Glad Granny K didn’t burn the house down! Just letting you know that we welcomed another son into our family in December. Fun times ahead! 😀

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