Wednesday 26 May 2010

How embarrassment!!!

Did anyone else say that in the 90's???

So I've been meaning to blog about this for a while now, but have been way too busy with one thing and another but I feel it is still as hilarious any time I think about it.

The thing about embarrassment in Japan, is that I usually don't feel it. I really don't know why, but I feel sooo much less self-conscious in Japan than in Australia, maybe it's because I have more anonymity here... or that I stand out anyway so may as well go the full Monty... Or that I can be whoever I want to be here... I don't know, but something usually prevents me from feeling embarrassment. Usually... But what happened last week would make anyone go red, in any country. Let's just say I'm not going back to Diamond city for a while.

Diamond city is the name of a shopping centre I'm often attracted to for it's Starbucks, big supermarket and free parking if you buy something (which I always do!). I like the local Diamond city, although the name is deceiving and it is not actually a mini city filled with diamonds, it's a nice spacious shopping mall where Ash can run wild on the carpeted floors and I can run my credit card wild with unnecessary purchases.

So we went last week, just little Ash and I, and we were having a lovely time. Until I needed to piss. All went downhill from there. Now TMI I know but I was, ahem, err, riding the crimson wave if you know what I mean, (if you don't then go rent clueless!) so the trip to the dunny was a little bit more complicated than the usual piss n' go. Having a mobile child and trying to piss is a challenge on any day, what with Ash recently insisting on following me into the loo, pulling ridiculous amounts of toilet paper off the roll, tyring to shove it in the toilet before I wipe and then waving bye bye to my wee. But in a public, cramped toilet, it's even worse so I usually go to the disabled toilet that is a little bit more spacious.

Disabled toilets in Japan are pure luxury, they have a bed if you need to lay down, some of the toilet seats go up and down automatically, flushing is automatic, everything is low to the ground... Great if you're disabled! Another wonderful feature of the disabled toilets is the big arse buttons they have to open and close the doors, basically they have a big green one to open and a big red one to close them. Again, great if you're disabled, not so great if you have a one year old who can reach the fuckers...

You can see where I'm going with this, no?

So I skip into the disabled toilet with Ash, he's preoccupied fiddling with the bed buckles, I sit down and mid-piss he toddles over to those bastard big buttons. I made a big pleading cry of "Ash Nooooooo!!!" Which probably drew the attention of people outside (especially as it was in English) and I swear to god the little bugger looked at me with a glint of devil in his eye while his chubby little hand hovered over the buttons. Now I knew he was going to push one, it was unavoidable, so I was trying to piss as fast as I could, get rid of the tampon in my hand and convince him to push the big red 'close door' button in a blind panic. He was just about to push the red button when he did a switch and smacked the green button.
Still mid-piss and grasping tampon, the door slides open in it's efficient way and I start panicking even more as Ash sees the opportunity to waddle out as fast as his little legs will take him. I was still shrieking in English so I had attracted the attention on at least 2 old men who were outside. Fuck me, it was horrible, I was so helpless. Finally, got tampon in place, pants pulled up and toilet flushed in time to catch Ash before he rode an elevator without me. Note to self: Always go for the cramped toilet option from now on.

So that was the most embarrassing thing that has happened in a while! Hopefully that's my quota for a few years...

Our school is almost ready to open! Here's our logo, I thought it may have been too cutesy but then I realised I live in Japan and grown men still scream "Kawaaaiiiii" in high-pitched voices and wear headbands so I think we're safe...

Tuesday 18 May 2010

10% words...

90% confidence. No matter how many times I tell Japanese students studying English this, I never seem to take my own advice.

I have vowed to never take an in-law with me again when I go to a hospital after yesterday's experience though!

I should back up a bit, Ash has been sick all week and the twat-faced, hobbit, doc we were seeing who I didn't like from the beginning (he never looked me in the eye shady bastard) had been harping on that he just had a cold and he would be fine just don't take a bath blah fucking blah. But after 7 days of constant fevers, incredible amounts of phlegm, a hacking cough and my boy just not being himself, my mummy senses took over and I decided we needed to go to the big hospital in our area where there had to be someone I could grill in English. So we did, and refreshingly we weren't sent away with just lolly water and bum bullets, but he was sent straight for blood tests and a chest x-ray.
The x-ray dude had a severe case of gaijin panic when he saw me and started stuttering uncontrollably, I thought it may have been a permanent thing but after he discovered I could speak some Japanese he calmed the fuck down and stopped.

They also called a nurse who could speak the Queen's from the kids ward to come to the consult, which was great, but the dopey cow only let me know she spoke English after we were all done! When I asked her why she didn't say anything, she was all, "Well you were speaking Japanese so I didn't think I was needed, and my English is so bad!" (It was awesome).

Anyway, after lots of form filling-out, tests, gaijin panic and umming and ahhing, it was determined that Ash doesn't have a cold, he actually has pneumonia. But to be fair to Dr Hobbit it must have started from a cold, still, he should have known it was more than that, no? Having the medical degree and all...
It was pretty scary when they gave him an IV to pump some genki back into him, and the fucker took 2 hours, which Ash slept through the lucky little bastard.

So yeah, Ash is soooo much better today, back to his cheeky, giggling self so definitely on the mend, apart from the cough that makes him sound like an 80 year old smoker.

But back to my original point... Learning a language like Japanese, you kind of go through stages, like at first you don't know if you can do shopping, but once you get the set phrases down you're sweet, then there's things like asking questions about shit when shopping, or braving the bank, or even more advanced stuff like city office shite. I think I've just about mastered all situational Japanese but doctors are one thing that I've never had the confidence to tackle by myself. If it's for me I'm not too worried, but when it's for Ash I don't want to make a mistake and have them pump him with steroids or something. But as of today, I will never take an in-law with me again, I always end up not using them to help me anyway!

The situation that set it off was at the big hospital yesterday. MIL came with us and when we found out the IV was going to take 2 hours she had to go to work and went to say yoroshiku onegaishimasu to the nurses. As she left this is what she said:

Annoying yet well-intentioned MIL: Sorry, I have to go to work, I'm sorry, it'll just be the gaijin from now on, do your best to talk to her.

Nervous Nelly nurse: Oh... You have to go?? Does she speak Japanese??

MIL: Hmmmm it's difficult but just speak very slowly to her. I'll send my son in to help (useless, slow BIL who's Japanese is worse than mine- seriously!!)

Nurse: OK... I'll do my best (face like she was going to vomit)

Meanwhile, I was just sitting there thinking, fuck this, if I can understand how condescending this conversation is, my comprehension is good enough to hold my own. And I vowed to always come to the hospital by myself from now on to avoid situations like this. And I know MIL was just being very Japanese when she apologised for leaving the nurse alone with me, but fuck, we can always resort to gestures and pictures if it gets really desperate!

It's weird, as much as gaijin panic annoys me (like the x-ray stuttering dick), I actually have waaaay more confidence with those people, because they're panicking I won't know anything so even if I mutter one word in Japanese they're always relieved. Plus the gaijin panic pisses me off so I get a bit of fire in my belly and take on a 'of course I can speak fucking Japanese you ignorant twat' kind of air about me.

I guess confidence really is the key... So instead of imaging the doctor naked like the traditional nerve killer (eww shudder!), I'll just have to imagine all Doctors are suffering internal gaijin panic syndrome...

EDIT: I also forgot to mention, that nervous nurse who was so afraid of me.. we ended up having a 25 minute chat about various things including the 'taihen-ness' of babies, convenience of iPhones, and the Pros and cons of marrying a j-guy as opposed to a gaijin brute....
If only more doctors were gossipy young women, maybe I wouldn't be so freakin nervous!!

Thursday 13 May 2010

Mother's day take 2

So you may remember the disaster that was Mother's day last year, I spent the day blubbering because Ryota had gone to no effort at all and was therefore labelling me a horrible mother...
So naturally, he was a little more prepared this year, a little. It wasn't perfect but I think he might get it right by the time Ash is at University.

We basically have been crazy busy with all the school preparations, making the website, getting the renos organised and stuff so I knew there would be no big surprises in store, I was a little pissed when I got nothing in the morning, I informed him he'd failed the first test (harsh!) by not wishing me happy mother's day when we woke up, to which he replied オーストラリア人はほんまにめんどくさいいい!!(I can't be arsed with you damn Australian women!!) I also informed him that if we were in Australia breakfast in bed would be the norm to which he replied that he doesn't like that, it's like I'm on my death bed or something, and also made me refer back to futon rules and exclaimed that it would be very. very. dirty. What if grandma were to find out!?

Anyway, after a few hurdles, he eventually thrust a present at me and grunted something that resembled a happy mother's day. I got choccies- good and... a mirror?- kinda weird.
He explained that he always sees me doing my make-up with my tiny powder mirror while Ash is always climbing on me to see so he got me a big fold out mirror to make my life easier. Now, in theory this was good thinking (it's very true!) but I had to explain to him that sometimes us girls are funny creatures, we don't want something we need, we want something we want, something puuuuurrrrty. There was much more muttering about western women being way too hard to understand but all in all he didn't do too badly. We also had an awesome Indian dinner on Sunday night where Ash managed to behave and I had curry so hot I was watering from the nose, eyes and sweating like a mother fucker, lovely.

Ash is very sick at the moment, he's had a fever for 3 days and is generally miserable and chesty, I got so pissed the other day at the in-law camp as they implied me dressing Ash in not enough clothes was causing him to get sick all the time. Bite me bitches! I also had a whinge about Japanese clinics and their total lack of effectiveness in curing my child. Every. Fucking. Time. Grrrrr. And then last night we had the old bath-fever debate which went something like this-

Me: OK, let's get a bath Ash!!

MIL: He has a fever!! You can't give him a bath!!!

Me: Hmmmmm. (ignoring and rolling my eyes sooooo hard on the inside)

MIL: Hang on, I'll go get an extra 50 million fucking layers for him to put on!!

Me: (Stripping off and hopping in the bath)

MIL: Ehhh??!! She's already in the bath!? (Thinking, 'damn foreigner is going to kill my grandson!!!')

Just for the record, Ash has perked up considerably every night after his bath, and why wouldn't he, he's drowning in his own snot and eye gunk for the rest of the day, poor little bugger must feel so much better after!

Right, better go clean something while I can, having Ash home and not at kindy is making for a very messy house!

Thursday 6 May 2010

Punch her in the face...

I believe I've bitched about Japanese TV before, but I feel it's been a while and I'm overdue to get it out of my system.

I have two problems, the first is on free to air J-TV... I avoid Japanese TV most of the time because a) It's just bizarre. b) the slapstick comedy just doesn't appeal to me. and c) If I don't hear English at some point in the day my ears start to bleed.
But the show I'm about to bitch about I actually like, I can't for the life of me remember the name of the program but I think it's only on once a year and is basically loads of amateurs who take their turn to do a little performance imitating something in real life... I don't know if that is a good explanation or not... for example, these little kids all had umbrellas with different colours on them and when they got together they made a sheep or a sakura tree... Or people walk on their hands and have puppets and shit. It sounds lame but a lot of it is really clever and actually looks real. They have a panel of celebrities and they give them points, if they get over 15 they get through to the finals and then I think the winners get money.
I watched it last year and really liked it, I liked it except for one thing.

Bunny girls.

Yes, these skinny J-chicks prancing around in panties and a bra, bunny ears and a fluffy little tail. Errr, what the fuck?! Why the hell do they need bunny girls?? It's not like there is anything remotely sexy about this show, it's stars are mainly kids, I just don't see this display of sex necessary and I'm embarrassed for those girls! When we were watching it the other night I got so darn worked up about it my face was all flushed with feminism fuelled anger, this was how our conversation went:

Me: What the fuck are those bunny girls there for!? (Throws nearest toy at TV)

Ryota: But they're sexy and cute!

Me: Errr, don't you mean degrading to women and unnecessary?? (Throwing the nearest toy at his head)

Ryota: Ohhh lighten up, you're just jealous you can't wiggle your tooshy and have a fluffy little tail attached to it!

Me: (Silent for a bit because that is actually true...) It makes me want to punch every Japanese woman in the face.

I don't know why that came out but it made me so angry at women everywhere in Japan, surely they feel something s wrong with the bunny girl picture!?

OK next bitch is about gaijin on TV, I think it's good for gaijin to try and learn Japanese when they live in Japan, they should try, but they shouldn't try too hard. I wach the foodies channel sometimes for a hit of Nigella and Jamie, but I came across a show where 2 gaijin travel around Japan trying food from famous areas and stuff. These 2 piss me off so so so much, although to be fair I'm sure it's a director in the background telling them to act like absolute twats or their gaijin arses will be on the list to be deported. It's a blond bird and a black dude I saw and they are just so over acting and make me ashamed to be gaijin in every possible way. I can't exactly explain what it is but I hate gaijin on TV who try so hard to be exactly like a Japanese person, it just annoys the shit out of me.

And I think that's all the TV bitching for today!

In school news they started construction today so we should be up and running by the end of this month! We also have our first set of posting leaflets done, our website designed and meeting with the logo geezer tomorrow night, busy busy!

Monday 3 May 2010

Going for gold.

So it's golden week at the moment here in the land of the rising sun. It seems no matter who I ask about golden week and the reason why a string of public holidays is actually called 'golden week', I always get the same wishy washy answer that results in me being more confused about children having a day and emperors and the like. But there is always a common component: don't ask, just sit back and enjoy the holidays you daft cow!
Although I'm more inclined to call it 'gold-plated week,' all shiny and gold lookin' on the outside but actually a rusty clump of shite underneath. Let's examine this a little more closely....

Working husbands- holiday from work, good for them ,they work hard after all.
Kids- off school/kindy, and fair enough, poor little buggers deserve a rest.

We get more fucking work than usual because we have to babysit our incapable husbands and needy children! Bastard golden week indeed.

Although I shouldn't complain too much, I'm yet to really cook anything and have decided the cleaning is useless so will leave it all to Thursday anyway. I'm finding the best way to actually get a break myself is to escape the house. Of course escaping the country is the best option and I feel next year we will be joining the masses getting the fuck out of Japan with our ridiculously over-priced plane tickets in our hot little hands. So here's what we've been doing so far for golden week...

Saturday~ Was Sassy's housewarming and a lovely time was had by all, pity I didn't get to sleep over but I had a pain in my tooth travelling up in to my head (not helped by the beer/chuhai/cocktails), and a huge pain in my arse in the form of my whiney husband. Both were alleviated with some help of pain killers and telling Ryota to stop being a big twat.

Sunday~ Was a trip to ikea. I FUCKING LOVE IKEA. I know some people hate it, but between the cheap finds and the spicy meatballs, I'm a fan.
We've bitten the big scary bullet and will be opening our own English school this month, so after months of faffing about thinking about it, we've got a space and the renovations start on Thursday. Actually looking forward to getting into it, yes it's gaijin whoring in the form of a teaching English, but on the other hand at least I'm pouring my whoring skills and gaijinness into my own school, not some other rich bastards. So we managed to get a lot of the furniture and crap for the school for a really good price, watch this space for school updates and whether we're filing for bankruptcy or not!

Monday~ We went to Kids plaza in Osaka with our friends and their 2 cute little halfu kiddies. Ash had a blast playing with all the cool toys (as did I), but fuck me, there were soooo many kids there and the train ride was a bone crushing experience. Literally.
Ash pissed off at least 10 kids taking toys and kicking random children, trying to teach him to stop being such a little bastard is proving quite difficult, can't wait till he's old enough for bribes.

And that's it so far! Not so exciting, but not that boring either, got to teach a lesson tomorrow and then I plan to run 5 kms, but I'm highly doubtful that will happen as a trip to tsutaya and some kingston biscuits may also be on the cards too....

Hope you're all enjoying your golden week!