So Tuesday was ‘White Day’ – I was going to write “the Japanese equivalent of …” but realized no other countries partake in this White Day nonsense do they? The day boys give back to girls. It used to be a lot more ridiculous and I remember hub asking me to buy X amount of boxes of chocolates to give back to the women who gave him some on Valentines Day. How fucked up is that? “Darling, can you please be a nice wifey and buy three boxes of chocolates for me to give to other women. Cheers so much.” Sometimes they would differ in price and cuteness depending on the estimated price and cuteness of the ones he got. He only ever got them from colleagues and they were ‘giri’ (obligatory) chocolate but still. For. Fucking. Fucks. Sake.
Last month, after the teacher made her give her lovingly-baked-for-her-friends chocolate cupcakes to the entire second and third grade I was wondering how Marina would fear this White Day. I mean yes, she did end up giving the boys something, even if it was begrudgingly and involved some tears. She also gave some to her teacher from last year, who is now retired and lives on the other side of town (mummy taxi driver pats self on back) and the man from the store in town, which, as I said in the last post, wasn’t odd at all, in all seriousness.
Well, I’ll be damned. The girl made out like a bloody bandit on Tuesday.
Well, it actually started on Monday morning…
We arrived at the meeting point to walk to school. There is one other third grader in our walking group and his mum drives him from the other side of town to the walking point se he can walk with the group the 2km to school. She got out of the car and handed me a bag and said this is the ‘return’ chocolate from Valentines Day. Her son then got out of the car and his mum drove off. I confirmed with him that he was giving this to Marina right? He mumbled something and I gave the bag to Marina, who looked a bit perplexed. He moved far enough way for her to turn and ask if this was just ‘kaeshi (return)’ chocolates and not ‘honmei (for real because I like you) chocolates. I said it was ‘kaeshi’ and she looked relieved. It was quite an entertaining interaction the whole thing.
The next morning (actual White Day) I go to the store in town to get a coffee and the man’s wife comes out with a bag and hands it to me to give to Marina – Okaeshi she says. The man tells me to say ‘I love you’ when I give Marina the chocolates. I said she’d probably say ‘kimochi warui’ (that’s gross) and then we all have a laugh. The whole conversation was just wrong but so Japanese and totally normal at the same time. Jeeze. I think I’m turning Japanese.
After babysitting a class of 7 three year olds, ahem, I mean imparting my extensive knowledge of the English language into their little spongy brains, I arrive home to a bag by the front door. More Okaeshi – from Marina’s ex-teacher from the other side of town. She has even included a letter on cutesy paper and a small bag of chocolates for the boys.
Marina gets home from school with more, you guessed it, Okaeshi – obviously from boys who weren’t stupid enough to wave them round the class in front of the teacher.
She now has a lolly and chocolate stash equivalent to trick or treating around ten neighborhoods.
As they are getting ready to go to soccer two brothers rock up with 8 home-made egg puddings. Their mum works at a cake shop and these puddings are seriously yum nom nom. The third grader hands his beautifully wrapped puddings to Marina and the 6th grade brother hands his to Shou – boys giving okaeshi back to boys (my next post)
I then take them to soccer practice and come home to clean up and have the age-old inner debate over whether Tuesday seems like a particularly nice evening for wine. While I am trying to talk my inner wine-o out of stopping at the supermarket on the way to pick the kids up from soccer the door bell rings.
Tis one of the second grade boys with his dad, both of whom are in baseball gear. God the boy is adorable and he was so cute as he handed over a beautifully wrapped towel and teddybear that I had to stop myself from giving him a big squeeze.
I told Marina she had another gift and she said ‘Oh, I know, it’s a towel and teddybear from H-kun right?’
Talk about taking the fun out of it.
Anyhoo, it has all just been so bloody ridiculous that I think we’ll definitely not be taking chocolates to school on Valentines day next year!!
Shou’s chocolate cup-cake mission is another post – a post to be intwined with views on corporal punishment at schools. Chocolate and smacking, hmmmmmm.