Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Australia day

was yesterday.

My family has never been a 'how ya goin maaaatttteeee' kind of family (seeing as though my parents are Brits!) and Australia day was always just another day off work or school, we never got into the throw another shrimp (PRAWN!!) on the barbie or anything so I didn't really miss being home that much. I did get a teensy tiny bit homesick, not sure why, perhaps it's my yearly dose. I totally don't get homesick, is that weird?? Of course the family and friends missing is a given but I rarely get homesick, and I've seen people living in Japan get homesick, not pretty, for anyone. They start to despise everything Japan and get pissed off when someone says konnichiwa to them. I get pissed off with Japan quite a bit but i think it's more to do with my cynical, slightly dark, skewed view on life more than anything else...

Top 5 things I miss about the land down under...
1) Grass/space/nature/clean air- Naturey stuff.
2) People helping each other (more on this point and the Japanese cunts at my local supermarket later!!!)
3) Abundance of Thai and Mexican food.

I can't think of the last two!!! If anyone has any suggestions let me know!

So the reason I'm posting this today and not yesterday (apart from the fact I'm incredibly lazy) is that yesterday I embarked on a mission to the bank. Sounds simple right?
Not Japanese banks, I think most Japanese people hate banks too, well Ryota does but he's very prone to hating tedious things like banks. I usually avoid going to the bank and talking to an actual person, most of the time it's to the ATM for all my banking needs where the ENGLISH HELP button is promptly pushed. But yesterday it was a necessary evil, I had to open a bank account for Ash, I figured he has about 50 billion toys already so a bank account and a kick start to his University fund would be a better present than anything. Of course it's more than likely that mummy will dip into that account before he gets to University for necessities such as new shoes and the like...

Now I hear your cries of "Your husband is Japanese, use him for this kind of shit!!!" but I had to go by myself on principle, MIL and Ryota had already discussed it and decided that I wouldn't be able to do it by myself with a screaming child so of course I just had to prove them wrong, presumptuous bastards...
So off I toddled with Ash strapped to the front of the bike and made the 20 minute ride to our local bank. When I walked in I saw the greet n' meet lady who directs you to which bit of paper to pull dart her eyes away from me in a flash of gaijin spotting panic and then quickly return to her cheery bowing self. I asked her where I had to go to open a new account for my son and she literally breathed a sigh of relief and sent me upstairs. Now Ash is juuuusssttt about walking, which is great and all but he's not quite there yet, so he squirms and wriggles to be put on the ground but then stands for about ten seconds, maybe takes a few steps, then slips back in to crawling mode, whether it's dirty or not. I hate to say this, but I'm a dirt freak when it comes to Ash, I feel the need to wipe his mouth every bite of food and wash his hands the minute they get dirty, pointless I know, but I can't help it.

So Ash wants down, so I put him down only for him to crawl into the next boothey thing where people are talking with the staff, then I was all panicky and shit thinking, 'Fuck, I have to get him but I'm invading their privacy when I go in there!' After a few panicky heart palpitations I just grabbed his legs and pulled him back, few carpet burns, no worries.
I started to explain to the lady that I wanted a new account for my son and she had a bit of gaijin panic look in her eyes, but assured me she was eternally grateful for the fact I could speak Japanese. She automatically assumed I'd want his name in romaji, me being white and all...? And when I filled out my form with his name in kanji, she realised that her forms were all fucked up and had to change them, then I forgot our phone number and got our address backwards so fucked up my form a few times, between the two of us fucking up our forms I think we wasted at least a few trees.

After much faffing about, 20 minutes waiting, confusion over middles names, Ashton smacking another baby in the head then giggling at him, more middle name confusion, and a bit more waiting, I finally walked out of there with Ash's little pass book! Success! MIL and Ryota were shocked I did it on my own, and to be honest so was I, I seem to remember J-banks being much scarier, and that was when I used to hunt out the English speaking ones! And even though it was easier than I thought I still felt like I needed a chu-hi when I left the bank, imagine that, foreign woman on a bike with baby strapped on with booze in one hand- irresponsible mother of the year right there.

In other news, I'm having huge work headaches overshadowed by echoes of "KAWAISOOOOOOUUUUU!!!" resounding from the in-law camp. The choices are; work full time at high school, work part time at various schools, or open our own space for my private students and hopefully more to come... Very confusing but exciting time, all choices involve shipping Ash to kindy and I can't bloody wait. MIL says it's kawaisou to send him so early but the kid is so sick of me and lights up (and beats up) when he sees other kids. Well see anyway!


  1. Haha am I one of those not pretty homesick people.. well quite possibly judging from my recent posts :P

    I say good on you for knowing its time to look for work/get Ash into daycare. If it seems like the right time for you then thats what the most important thing is and I can't imagine how liberating it would be to get back out in the work force and get some "Adult time" as well as some pocket money.

    I don't get Japan and childraising.. Ash is kawaisou to go to kindy but not kawaisou to be handed sweets and other junk food all the time by random strangers? Or not kawaisou to be pointed at as a gaijin baby like an animal at the zoo...

    Rolls eyes...

    Anyways have my fingers crossed for you!

  2. i get homesick, but only once in a while. my first year in japan i had a huge culture shock crash, which was cured by a visit home and followed by a huge high. then i got pissed off at a restaurant in a train station that wouldn't give me change for a coin locker (AFTER i had purchased a drink at a vending machine that gave me all 50 yen coins in change!!!) and i evened out.

    i have been homesick over the past few months, but then i haven't been home in over four years, and it's winter, which just sucks (for me). now that the holidays are over, my homesickness has faded, and we're making plans for going to the US for christmas, so i think i'm good.

    i don't really have a problem with the bank, except for their insane hours. i have to admit, though, that my post office account is the best one i have!! ;)

    good luck figuring out the work situation. daycare can be very good for most children, so i don't get the kawaiisou's, either.

  3. I think it's really good for toddlers and small children to be in day care at least part of the time - just like adults they need interaction with others and they can learn a lot more. isolation isn't good for anyone.

  4. Ha, I'm laughing at #2.

    If I didn't live in Australia, I'd definitely have mint slice biscuits and fish'n'chips on my list. People rave about tim tams but mint slices totally kick their butts.

    Also, well done on the bank thing.

  5. yes!! mint slices...I was gonna say fish and chips too..eaten on the beach after a day of swimming :) perrrfect :)

    excellent work with the bank too..I still haven`t done it for Alex..should get my butt into gear for that too..

    Good luck in deciding what kind of work suits you, it all sounds very exciting!

  6. Kindy is the next best thing to um, sliced bread? Asahi Super Dry? a full night sleep ? Definately high up on my list of things that help keep me sane! Kids love it too. The interaction, the activities, the routine.

    And mint slice so beats tim tams. yum.

  7. My break at work is half an hour... plenty of time to send some money home to America, right? Wrong. Forms are evil in Japan. They always make me late to my afternoon class... oh well. On my last money order I f*cked up my name so they had to redo it... took another 45 minutes.... but the thing is that is the thing I`m sending to my mother to deposit in an American bank! I don`t think they give a flying F**K! Oh well.

  8. 4. Filling out the nicely laid-out immigration forms (no other country beats it)
    5. Cheap good food. Never knew how much I would miss getting my hands on some decent fruits.