Saturday 30 October 2010

They may just be on to something...

In Japan, birthdays are definitely not as celebrated as back home, there may be cake, if it's a particularly cheery family and presents are usually only given to kids. For a long time, I thought this was so crap, you should at least get one day of the year to be spoiled! So I've always made a big deal out of Ryota's and all his family's birthdays to try and bring a bit more happiness to that one day a year, but I've realised that the Japanese had it right all along, sod birthdays! There's really no reason to celebrate anyway, just another day, another year.

The reason I say this is that I feel my birthday will once again be a fucked up day I'd rather forget this year, I can safely say almost every birthday since I've been an adult has either been shite or nothing special. Let's see...

17th birthday- Sister threw me a house party. Which would have been awesome had a carload of gang members not crashed it, spat in people's faces, caused fights and stolen stuff.

18th birthday- My mate got so drunk he vomited in my pool. Dad wasn't happy.

19th birthday- I got so fucking wasted the night before with my boyfriend and his mates at a club that I was projectile vomiting on the front lawn and spent my whole family party shivering in a ball on the bathroom floor while all the guests enjoyed cake. Self-induced, but still shit.

20th birthday- Can't remember so must have been boring.

21st birthday- The doosey of all birthdays. My boyfriend of 3 years who was living long distance didn't call me on my birthday, then dumped me the next day. (when I was due to go out for dinner with friends and family, including HIS family [who I love by the way!]) Was a very awkward meal with my family and his family not knowing what to say, my girlfriends consoling me as tears dripped in to my green curry, my guy friends wondering why the fuck they'd bothered to come and when they could get out of there. Horrible!

22nd birthday- First birthday in Japan, nothing special.

23rd birthday- my sister was in Japan but I was fighting with my best mate who was being an absolute cock head at the time.

24th birthday- Can't remember.

25th birthday- Was preggers so nothing exciting.

26th birthday- Last year was probably the best so far. Mum was in Japan, we had a dinner at home with all Ryota's family and Ash helped me blow out the candles, yup definitely best yet.

27th birthday....

I'll tell you on Wednesday but I can tell it's going to be pretty boring. Work. Sushi. Cake. Bed.

We were going to do a girls night out but that isn't going to work out for a few reasons, some of which I think are pretty lame to be honest but won't get into that here. It's a good thing, something crap is likely to happen anyway!
So I've decided to go all Japanese on birthdays from now on. No parties, no massive presents, just a cake and something small for those close to me. Of course Ash's birthday will still be a big deal, I'm already trying to work out how to make a wiggles cake!

Thursday 28 October 2010

Why, yes, I'll take a side of (fat free) smugness with my karma!

I thought it was about time for a dog-fucking SIL update, things have been way too quiet on that front.

So after the massive blow-out we had that never really came to any head, things were pretty much stagnant. At least at home you can hug and have a giggle about the 'whole stupid argument,' but this is Japan, where hugging is strictly forbidden and giggling would be to bring shame and embarrassment to the emperor and all that he stands for! Well, not quite, but definitely in Ryota's family, there is no making fun of situations like this, (I mean fuck, look what happened when I took the piss out of Kimutaku!!) and certainly no hugging. (Ryochan excluded)

I basically just resigned myself to the fact that I HAVE to live close to her for however many years, so no matter how annoying she got, and also for Ryota's sake, I'd try and just ignore or be pleasant. This was going well, except it wasn't back to normal, I was reluctant to go over to the in-laws' place and it was super tense if we were left in the vicinity of each other for even a short amount of time. I guess it did just take time though, because we got to the point where it wasn't that awkward and I didn't feel like smacking her in the mouth every time I saw her.
I even went as far as to extend the old olive branch when she was practicing for her driving test, the night before the test I took her to our car park and practiced her reverse parking.
She is/was a horrible driver and spent a record amount of lessons at driving school, (seriously, the school told her she had taken more lessons than any other person her age!) but by some miracle she passed her practical test. I fear for my safety on the roads now, she's the worst kind of driver in that she's 1) Panicky 2) Indecisive and 3) Has no sense of direction or balance. But, the drivers here are pretty slow and tame so I think she'll just fall into the 'stupid old obachan' category of bad drivers without too many problems.

Anyway, the practical test was last week and then all she had to do was pass the written test to be able to drive. Now, I'm not saying I wanted her to fail (well maybe a bit) but I was neither surprised or heartbroken when MIL told me she had bombed on it. To be fair to her everyone who has done it says it's a bit of a bitch and you need to get 85% right so it was nothing that unusual. That was on Tuesday. Then they decided so the questions and the system and everything would be fresh in her mind, that they'd go again today and have another go. Everyone was so sure that it was just nerves the first time, and that she was bound to pass today, I mean, she'd seen the questions after all, MIL even went as far as to organise going out for sushi tonight with everyone.

Damn it, I just felt like some sushi too!

Yup, she failed. Do I feel sorry for her? Nah, she had it coming! OK harsh, but she should have studied more, those tests cost money, (that MIL/Grandma is paying) plus the testing centre is about an hour and a half drive from our place. I don't know when she's going to try again, perhaps tomorrow but I have to say I did have a giggle when MIL told me. Everyone is on strict orders to not 'mention the war,' the war being that she is a dumb arse who should have spent less time fondling her dog while gazing at Kimutaku posters and more time studying! So will be interesting when Ryota hears the news and starts giving her a lecture on what she did wrong in his usual big brother fashion. Ooooo maybe they'll be more fireworks..... (not involving me)

In other news I went back to the 'diet doctor' doctor today and he was well impressed with my 2kg weight loss and 4cm belly loss, as was I! He even did a gay little clapping gesture and told me I did much better than MIL (lucky she wasn't there!) I got my second IV and my meddy and trotted off with the urge to smack my own arse in celebration but restrained myself. This week will be a test, there's a Halloween party at the school where I plan to make cupcakes, and my birthday on Wednesday where there's bound to be cake. Actually, now I think about it, unless I make the cake for my birthday I doubt any other bastard will bother, problem solved!

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Movie review...?

No. not really. I have neither the intellect to be funny and informative at the same time, or the memory to go through the movie I watched the other night in any kind of witty detail, however I will give my thoughts on it, because it actually surprised me!

I watched ダーリンは外国人(My darling is a foreigner) the other night and I have to say, I went in with very low expectations. For a few reasons, 1) It's a Japanese mainstream movie, and they're all pretty much, well, crap. 2) It's a topic very close to me, after all I am someone's darling and I am in fact a foreigner. 3) I was so ready and willing to take the piss out of it.
I usually steer clear from Japanese movies, to me they all seem over-acted and Japanese humour and I just don't mix, not enough sarcasm for my liking, but seeing as though it was all about international marriage I thought I'd give it a crack.

Ryota and Ash both fell asleep at a ridiculously early hour so I had a whole 3 hours to myself to watch the movie in pure relaxation, no child wanting to watch wiggles, no husband de-waxing surfboards in the background or whatever the fuck he does with them. Just me and the cat curled up on the lounge. Maybe it was the fact that I haven't enjoyed a movie on my own and uninterrupted for so long that contributed to me actually liking it??

So as I started watching it getting ready to get pissed off, take it out of the machine and bitch about it to someone, I found, I was actually enjoying it!
The main character (Saori) reminds me so much of one of my friends (in looks) that it was all I could think about, and her darling (Tony) was actually a good portrayal of a typical gaijin guy in Japan- nerdy, a little bit weird, and dating a girl that is wayyyyy too hot for him. I'm so glad they didn't cast a hot gaijin, it just wouldn't have been real. I'm going to go as far as saying that the percentage of really good-looking, sweet, normal gaijin guys has got to be very very low. Not bashing all gaijin guys (well most actually) Some of them are top blokes that lack in the looks department, and some of them are absolute douche bags that aren't too bad on the eyes, but to find the perfect combo, well, I'm yet to witness it!

So basically it's the story about these two and the troubles they face with differences in culture/language/family blah blah blah. It was a bit boring in the beginning and of course it was Japanese so way too much over-acting was going on, but they did leave a few subtle elements that I liked. One example was a scene where they were in the movie theatre together and Tony kept laughing way before all the Japanese people, it wasn't explicitly explained but this is so true and has happened to me many times. The subtitles take longer to read and the joke just doesn't filter through as quickly when the movies are in English.

Another thing I liked was the small role of the douche friend of Tony's. He seems to be an unbelievable character, but in reality, there actually are fuckers in this country that go around speaking over-exaggerated English with a few Japanese words sprinkled in because they can't be arsed actually learning Japanese, expect Japanese people to speak English, and are just generally loud, obnoxious and annoying. These are the gaijin that I hate, they give us all a bad name. One line from him was: "Ohhh Japanese girls are sooo 'kantan'! (easy) and I swear to god I used to hear some moron spew something out of his mouth very similar on a regular basis when I was on the party scene in Osaka.

Another thing that meant it must have been an OK movie was the fact that I cried at the end, not that crying is so unusual for me, but I watched 'Hachi' the day before and while everyone around me was weeping I just didn't get that stirred up by it and felt like a cold corpse who's heart had been ripped out. Thank goodness I did cry at the end, or I might have been worried!

So ladies or gentleman in Japan, I'd give this movie 3 stars, I'll never watch it again, but it was worth a squiz.

Oops I almost forgot, there was one thing that annoyed me a little bit, scattered throughout the movie they kept cutting to real life interviews with mixed couples. Now I know this particular story was about a J-girl and a whitie guy, but every one of the interviews was this combo. (well they weren't all white, that would just have been racist!) I wanted to see some gaijin wives representing!

We're darlings too you know!

Monday 25 October 2010

Diettooooo update!

Well, I'm now on day 5 of the "Docutaa Daietto" and I have to say, it's going well! The appetite suppressant tablets actually work! I've lost 2kgs already but I'm not counting that as I always lose a few whenever I start a new diet. I've also been running 5kms every day in preparation for the 10km run I'm doing next month so that must be helping too.

I think the main difference it's making is 1) I don't snack between meals anymore. 2) My meals are definitely smaller. 3) The powder I have to drink before every meal tastes so fucking gross that I end up downing about a litre of water to wash the taste away which makes me full as well.
I got well freaked out about the Xenical after a commenter said be careful when I fart, of course then I Dr googled the shit (hehe) out of the topic too and read horror stories of people shitting their pants. It hasn't been too bad, I had oily stuff on Saturday and sorry, TMI but when I crapped I had to examine it closely to see if there was anything slightly oil looking, and sure enough, there were bits and pieces in there that were kind of whitish and milky lookin, then floating on the top were little oily droplets! Hmmm tasty! See you guys don't need a diet, just read this blog and be disgusted to the point of being turned off your food!

A real test for the appetite suppressants came yesterday when we went to my favourite Italian place for lunch. I ALWAYS eat way more than any normal person should, it's just that damn good. Anyway, we ordered our usual 2 people course and Ryota got stuck in but I just wasn't that hungry, despite it smelling/looking amazing, and also despite the fact I'd only had a banana for breakfast. I ate my garlic bread, which was pretty big and then shared about 2 small pieces of pizza with Ash, tiny bit of pasta, and I was done! I couldn't even fit in the coconut dessert in, and you know, there's always room for dessert! This is where it got interesting, because Ryota and I without fail, always want the last serving of pasta for ourselves and will politely offer it to the other while really thinking 'Fuck off, I want it!' But yesterday there was so much left over and Ryota was getting full as I picked at bits of pizza and bread. The conversation went something like this;

Ryota: (Shovelling in pasta like usual so he doesn't get scammed out of his share before I eat it!) Hey, why aren't you eating??

Me: Hmmmm I'm just not that hungry, go ahead, eat it.

Ryota: Hold the phone! (OK he didn't say that but wouldn't it be awesome if a Japanese person did say that! Must teach students that...) You're never 'not hungry' especially when we come here, what's going on?? Are you doing that diet like my mum?!

I knew he was going to find out some time but I'm sure that Grandma has tipped him off because he was waaaaaay too casual about the whole thing. He even vaguely asked about the price by saying "Is it cheap? Expensive??" To which I replied; "Errr it's not that expensive...." Now after the equally as vague answer I totally expected him to grill me on how much it really was and to produce a receipt, not that he's a tight arse or anything but still, he'd definitely be interested usually. So the fact that he left it at that makes me certain that Grandma has given him all the juicy details but told him to keep his mouth shut about her telling him or she'll hack his balls off with a chopstick. But it's actually worked out pretty well, I know that he knows and we have a mutual 'keep our mouths shut' policy going on the whole subject! I think the fact that it's actually working has made him shut up a bit too, he said he can definitely tell the difference in my face and neck (I always lose it first in my face, damn shame the rest of me doesn't follow so easily...) and closed the subject with : "OK, ganbatte kudasai" (good luck with it then).

OK, last diet post until I look like Jessica Alba, I promise. I'll try and get back to cat fights with SIL, dog-fucking/cat-fucking and the likes.

Friday 22 October 2010

I'm lucky...

To have a MIL just as crazy as me.

You know, I still have daily thoughts of pushing SIL under a bus but I am glad I have crazy MIL, she's a really nice, generous person who is very similar to me in a lot of ways. One of those ways is... gimmicky diets...

I'm usually pretty sensible, I don't buy steak knives or proactive from infomercials (despite the proactive ad being on at least 22 hours a day here!), I'm rational in my purchases, I think long and hard if I really need something, especially if it's a big item. I do this for all products, apart from diet/ exercise stuff..


Duh! Like the rest of the female population- I want to be thin. Not bony thin, but thin enough that I don't have a thigh that may be mistaken for a tumour. Which is pretty ridiculous because according to my last health check I'm perfectly healthy, I jog pretty much every day without fail, my cholesterol levels are within normal range... All signs point to me doing things pretty much right. But alas, thin is still the optimum, even for us house wives who don't really have anyone to impress. (Except the hot monk...)

I rarely go through with the purchases, I've been very close to buying diet pills or weight loss tea from the TV but have resisted the urge. I have however bought various exercise related crap such as pedometers, rodeo boys, exercise balls and lots of other stuff which usually ends up collecting dust but never really any dieting pills. That all changed today....

I am now on the "doctor diet." I think it's the same as when you see the ads at home that say "talk to your doctor about a weight loss plan..." or whatever. It was at a plastic surgery clinic (I enquired about a boob job while I was at it!!) in a very rich area of Kobe where all the women look like lollipops anyway so was a little intimidating for the pudgy gaijin and her equally pudgy MIL to waddle in trying to hide their shame-filled faces. The doctor was young, too young for my liking, I suspect botox, and lots of it! But he was nice, he said it was good that MIL and I were doing it together, it was good for motivation. He would say that though, we are paying for his weekly botox jabs I guess...

Anyway, deal is, I get a tenteki (IV drip) once a week and every time I go I get a week's worth of medicine: The 'fat' pill, the one that makes you run to the ladies room with not a hope of pressing the noise disguising button because any oily food you've eaten will come gushing out your bum hole at an alarming rate, a little white pill, I'm not sure what this one does but I'm only allowed to take it for 2 months because it's highly addictive... Slightly worrying... And some natural herbal medicine that tastes like arse but makes you feel uber full so you don't want to eat. It may be the placebo effect but it's already working today! I've only eaten a banana and a piece of toast all day and seriously feel really full!

It's pricey, not ridiculous, but not cheap either, but I figure all this working has got to lead to some goodies for me some time. If it gets to be too expensive I can always quit after this month... right? Right. I've decided to keep the whole thing a secret for as long as I can from Ryota because he'll say I'm a dickhead, (and I know he'll be right!) so anyone who actually knows me (probably only you Sassymoo!) keep it on the down and low, yoroshiku onegaishimasu! We should have kept it a secret from Grandma too I think, as we left for the clinic today she was yelling all sorts of things from the veranda like, "You're a stupid stupid girl, and you're no better!!!" (directed towards me and MIL), and "I'll tell Ryota, I swear I will!!!" There is a good chance Ryota will find out, either by Grandma sabotage or by accidental slips, plus there's a mark from the IV on my arm, but I figure if he does find out I'll do what any good wife would do... lie.


Wednesday 20 October 2010

"Creamed my jeans I did!"

Man I hate that saying, it just conjures up all the wrong images. What's worse and totally horrifying is the only person who actually says this, is my mum. *shudders violently*

Speaking of which, Mum and my sister left last night, it was a bit sad, and Ash tried to hop on the bus as they were leaving but seeing as though I'm planning to go home in August (and was just a pinch happy to have my house back in order) I wasn't all that sad. We escaped the trip with minimal arguments and maximum accidents so it all balanced out really.

But back to my creamed jeans! We tried to explain this to Ryota the other night, it went something like this:

Ryota- What does it mean, "Creamed my jeans??"


Sister- Errr...... Corinne, say it in Japanese!

Me- Fuck off, I don't want to explain something so horrific!! It's what you say when you see something or someone you really like... like, errr, you get.... ummmm really excited!

Ryota- Oh. Is it creamy??

I pretty much gave up the polite English explanations after that and told him it was a phrase to use that means you're so excited you come in your pants. He then flushed red and then turned to a ghostly white after realising that it had been my mum that had said it in the first place.

But anyway, the reason I'm creaming my jeans!

I wouldn't say I'm a nerd, I don't sit up till the wee hours doing cos-play, I didn't come to Japan because I like manga, I'm not a star trek/star wars/any star related shite fan, I would say my nerd factor is pretty low. However, I do love a good gadget, I'm not saying I'm lining up outside the apple store for the next 'i' addition or anything, but if it's new and shiny, I want it. This goes for most things, not only computers and phones, but appliances, stationary and other home crap. Which is why it's quite sad that I announce the fact that I am quite excited to bring you the news that....

I got a new, snazzy................................................................ oven!

Sorry, disappointment I know.

Even as I was marvelling over it's 33L capacity, smooth black shelves just gagging to be covered in lovely little balls of wet cookie dough, it's fan, waiting to be...err... forced, the steam function willing me silently to try it's healthy deep-fry function, I was almost drooling, and itching to get out to a half-decent supermarket to buy baking goods. I was literally excited, like it was a feeling in my tummy, just like you get if you were a kid chasing the whippy van, and I thought... What the fuck has my life become!? Is the most exciting thing in my life really a new oven?? Really??

No, wait, really!?

It's no longer the cool gadgets, or a big bottle of vodka, or concert tickets. It's. A. Fucking. Oven.

Have I really become a housewife excited over goods to make food? To be fair to me, I think I'm quite a good baker, much better than cooking normal food anyway. As a result I've informed my husband that normal dinners are off for a bit, it shall be cookies and cakes for dinner for at least the next month! Meh, who needs nutrition when there is butter involved anyway!

Monday 18 October 2010

Top 5 reasons...

Why not to get blind drunk on a Saturday night while your family are still visiting you in Japan...

1) You almost miss the last train... Ryota and I went to our friend's wedding celebration thingy on Saturday night and we were having such a merry time downing beer and gin tonics and rum cokes and god knows what else that we completely forgot the time. Totally out of character for me who is usually the time watching Nazi making everyone get to the platform with at least half an hour to spare. We made it. Just.

2) You let out all the bottled up stress and resentment towards your husband in one drunk go... I let rip on Saturday, from the way he chews his food to the fact I didn't think he was making enough of an effort to show me he loves me (DRAMA! DRAMA! DRAMA!) on a daily basis. I was smashed and angry! A lethal combination as the usual wifely inhibitions flew out the window, I almost threw an ashtray at him at one point! He was also pissed so instead of laughing at me like usual he went and spilled his guts to my sister, the big twat!

3) Your family then worries that you are headed for divorce and single-motherdom when really you just had a blind drunk tiff... This follows on from number 2, if my family wasn't here, Ryota wouldn't have felt the need to tell my sister to tell me that he really does love me, which then led to me ignoring both of them, my sister telling my mum, and the whole thing being blown out of proportion. I had to go to sleep with not only panda-eyes, stiff hair sprayed hair, but also my family speaking in hushed whispers about my marriage!

4) You wake up with a hangover and still have to do shite the next day... We went to a bird park in Kobe on Sunday, which was cool and stuff, but the small excitable child, mother and sister to play tour guide to and hour long car ride with belly doing flip-flops, yeah, not so good. There was a highlight though, we got our dead skin eaten by fishies, as my sister was climbing down from the pool thing she went arse-over-tit and landed on her bum. Fuck we laughed, I love people falling over.

5) You're the only one who forgets it all in the morning... No doubt every other bastard will have the image of me stumbling in to the genkan hopping around like a mental to get my knee high boots off with mascara streaked cheeks and wild 'ran for the last train' hair locked in to their brains from now until forever. Just lucky there were no video cameras involved.

Needless to say, I won't be having any booze for a while, by a while I mean until next weekend...

My mum and sister go home tomorrow, they have BOTH managed to get some freaky Japanese strain of cold with sore throats and coughs, my sister is still battered and bruised from her fish pool fall, and she was allergic to our cat, and my mum had some blood pressure issues going on so not the best trip for them but we had fun and the stress level was high, but manageable. I'll be sad to see them go tomorrow, it hasn't been easier but it's been, familiar...And when you live in Japan, familiar is sometimes the best fucking thing in the world. Expect a weepy post tomorrow!

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Holy man story

The one 'cultural' thing we have done while my family has been here was on Sunday, we went to a festival that nobody could explain except that it was a 'futon festival.' It looked suspiciously like danjiri to me with the big arse floats being pulled along at dangerously high speeds by the beer filled dudes in dressing gowns and ninja shoes. However the futons on top of the floats were a bit puzzling and apparently it's some kind of futon festival that they don't do very often anymore, it was a pretty country type town so I guess that's why it was there, who knows.

Anyway, we went to FIL's house around lunch time so he could kiss up to my mum (he openly flirts with my mum, it's obscene!) and so they could meet my sister, then it was off to FIL's friend's house and we walked to the futon festival from there. Ryota was being a smart arse all day, telling my sister wrong information, things like: "yeah this a futon festival, they'll have a pillow fight later!" and "They're wearing ninja shoes so they can climb the trees after it gets dark!" He's such a shit stirrer! He was also taking the piss out of my big feet, FIL's baldness, and his friend's baldness too, calling them 'team baldies.' Just being a general smart arse. Better than being his usual awkward, grumpy self I guess!

Anyway, as soon as we got to the shrine where the futon festivities were to take place, a group of alcohol-fuelled old dudes immediately targeted us to pour us a cup of sake, granted it was in a paper cup, and it was cheap shit, but it's still pretty sweet to get free booze for simply not being Japanese! We then made our way up to the top of the shrine to wait for all the men to start showing us how much balls they had by how hard and fast they would push their big arse carts around. I guess the bigger the balls, the more impressed the gods are?? It was pretty cool, little boys were banging their taiko in the middle of the floats, they may have been shitting their kimonos in fear but they were troopers and kept the beat the whole time (even when they dropped the poor little buggers at one point!) During the whole thing everyone was very jolly AKA pissed and we got several looks and comments in English, I guess this is to be expected, I get random comments on my own but with mum and sister there as well it was triple the Engrish fun!

One old geezer had been chatting to my sister, his daughter lived in the blue mountains so they had a good old talk about Australia and various other things, he was one of those incredibly old nice men that are so hard to find here. (They're usually pissing in the street or grumpy old buggers) Anyway, a few minutes after the nice old man had sauntered away, another old guy comes up to us, he was dressed in some kind of official shrine robe, I think he may have been an official of the festival, but to the naked touristy eye, he looked like a priest of some kind with his big blue robe and white belt and shit. Anyway, we thought he might want to practice his English too but it turns out all he wanted to say was this: おっぱいすごいわあああ!!!(Woaaaaa nice tits love!) he then proceeded to do a full-on, double handed grab of my sister's tits. We were all in shock for about one second until I told him to fuck off. Ryota was snickering in the background, mum was laughing her arse off and my sister had eyes as big as saucers and was basically planted on the spot in shock. The old dude looked a bit ill when I asked what the fuck he thought he was doing in Japanese and then tried to defend himself by saying "Ooooo can't you do that in other countries!?" I then told him that he knew very well you can't do that in any fucking country, especially not Japan!! I was laughing though, he was obviously pissed from all the cheap sake and just a dickhead, harmless but still a dickhead.

After the initial shock had worn off he tried to get another grab in but I stopped him and told him a bit more sternly to fuck off and be a good representative to Japan. It was about this point that the nice old man came over and told him to fuck off as well, then gave my sister a big bow and said sorry on behalf of the drunk horny guy! What a sweetheart. Old drunk dude realised he was fighting a losing battle and pissed off just as Ryota's dad clued in to what was going on and said he'd go and punch him if we wanted! (Yeah right, he's like, 4 ft tall). But it was lucky my sister has quite a good sense of humour and could see the funny side. I think she's quite lucky, no body's ever tried to feel me up at a festival! Feel quite left out actually...

Monday 11 October 2010

*Insert crickets chirping here*

It's been very quiet on the old bloggerino lately, and the reason is a good one. Family. Stay. Ya' get it.

Or maybe you don't...

I can't remember if my family was this... draining...? before but I highly suspect not.

The top 5 things that blow about family visiting you in Japan...

1) They ask you questions about EVERYTHING! Yes, I live in Japan, but no, I'm not an expert on the far end of a Japanese fart. I know they're curious but it gets very very tiring answering questions all day when half the time you're talking out your arsehole. I also cannot read 500 million kanji, I wish I could, but I can't.

2) You feel pressure from all sides. I'm feelin' it at the moment. Got to keep the fam happy. Got to keep anal Japanese husband happy. Got to make sure baby isn't sticking hands in electrical sockets. Got to keep students happy at work. Got to keep my sanity. Got to keep SIL happy, oh no, wait that's right. FUCK SIL!

3) They won't try anything new. Maybe this is my picky family, but they refuse to try new stuff that isn't steak and chips. Well not quite that bad, but after they have asked you to explain every mother fucking thing on the menu (that has flipping pictures!!) at a restaurant and then said they don't like: fish, tofu, chewy chicken, chewy beef, rice etc etc. The options get to be a little limited, as does my patience.

4) They're on holiday but you're not. My mum and sister have been having gin and tonics at lunch time, which is great, but makes me a teeny bit jealous when I still have a full work schedule, house to run and all the other boring crap that life brings.

5) You get bitched at by every mother fucker for not taking them to enough places. Honestly, my mum doesn't really want to go anywhere special I think, she just wants to chill and spend time with Ash, she's not much of a sightseeing type of gal anyway. (the best kind of guest- give her gin and tonic and she's sweet!) Now my world travelled sister however, is another story. I feel bad because I know she wants to go explore all the innards of the Japanese cultural guts but I just don't have time this trip, plus with whinging small child on my hip it makes it a bit harder to climb mountains to find a Japanese monkey while swigging sake.

Now these are the top 5 downers but despite the stress factor being a little raised, I must say, the last week I've laughed very very hard and communicated in English and used sarcasm and reminisced and got jokes and taken the piss without "saying too much" (FUCK YOU SIL!!!) and generally had a fucking awesome time. I love my family no matter how much they piss me off and will be so sad when they leave. Ashton has had such fun, I think he senses they're suckers that will push him anywhere he wants to go on his little red trike and has been taking full advantage of this. He gives them cuddles before bed and just loves them to death.

I will definitely be sad next Tuesday.

Stay tuned for a fucking awesome story about an old holy man grabbing my sister's tits!

Wednesday 6 October 2010

So proud!

As I may have mentioned on this blog before, I am NOT a maternal person, I don't tear up when Ash does something cute, I didn't 'bond' with him when he was breastfed (how much bonding can go on when there's a mini-human sucking your tit?!), I don't have a desire to have 6 more kids, I'd rather work all day than stay home and look after ankle-biters,. I'm just not a lovey- dovey mummy. Which is funny, because I always thought I would be! But my cynical skewed view just gets in the way.

Meh, what can you do, I don't starve the kid or anything!

In saying all this, today was the proudest moment of my whole mummy career, I was so fucking proud I did almost cry.

Today was the undokai (sports day) at Ash's kindy. And despite my proud moment, it wasn't for the usual undokai shenannigans. The usual proud moment comes as little Tommy-hiro takes the baton and does his relay run, or as little Sarah-ko does her practiced dance steps perfectly. To be quite honest, all that contrived crap doesn't interest me at all. Yeah, I take the pictures and I clap, but on the inside I'm thinking about what to have for lunch or saying to myself in my head 'Fuck me, how much longer do I have to stay!?'
Sports festivals in Japan are so rehearsed, and practiced every day for months, it's like all the fun is sucked out of it, and the opening dance was a perfect example, kids doing pre-learned, "cute" dance moves, all moving in perfect lines, all with shoulders slumped. OK, wasn't quite that dramatic, kids were actually happy that their parents were there watching them, but still, there was no spontaneity or creativity going on.

As Ash's class trotted out holding hands with everyone 'Ooooo-ing' and 'Ahh-ing' at how cute they were, they all had the precision walking going on too. Even at a year old, these kids can be programmed to be little lemmings! After a little dance, it was time for them to get on little toy cars and ride over to a jungle gym course that they were going to do little displays on. They all rode over on the cars, then like good little lemmings, they all got off and lined up to do the jungle gym course. All perfect. All as rehearsed.

All except one...

Yes, my son parked his little bum on that toy car and refused to get off for the lame jungle gym course, there was no lemming style shit going on for him. The teachers let him ride around on the little car for a while but when ALL the other little cars had been safely tucked away in their spots and ALL the other kids were on to the ball bit rotation, a teacher went over and tried to get Ash off his little car, and do you know what he did? I couldn't hear him but I could definitely see him, shake his head, clamp on to the bike and say "NOOO!!!!" God bless him, the only thing that would have made me prouder is if he had told her to shove off and given her the finger.

All the other mums were laughing at his defiance and the other kids were calling him over to the ball pit, and of course I played the embarrassed mother role, but inside I really was cheering that my strong-willed kid was not just following suit and doing as everyone else did. Of course when this behaviour shines through in his rebellious teenage years I'm sure I won't be quite as happy...
But for now, thank you son, for making me the proudest mummy at the undokai, I'm glad I actually went now!

The only thing that got him off the car in the end was the promise ofchocolate if he got off...

Again, you've done me proud son.

Monday 4 October 2010

Cute sells!

As opposed to sex, like what I'm used to...

I always knew this I guess, living in the land of cute and all, but not until my livelihood depended on the business I created did I really get to what extent 'cute' plays such a big role in Japan.

You want to get a rich boyfriend? Be cute. (Good in bed is a plus...)

You want to get a good-looking boyfriend? Be cute.

You want to get a rich, good looking boyfriend with a heart of gold. Sorry, fuck that, not happening.

You want to get your way? Be cute.

You want to swindle an old granny out of her life savings? Being cute and pathetic is the key my friend.

You want to get out of an awkward social situation? You can umm and ahh all you want but as soon as you mention the word "kawaiiiiii" in a high-pitched tone, you're in!

It's like a secret club, if you can't recognise the cuteness, you're banished.

A prime example has been the last few days, now usually, I'm pretty minimal with the things hanging on the walls and stuff at the school. I have the ABC posters, the basic learning shite, but apart from that, white walls. Simple. Plain. Nice. BUT... NOT KAWAII, NOT KAWAII ENOUGH!!! I should have heard the 'non-kawaii' alarm bells ringing sooner!

So in the last few days I've been stocking up on decorations for Halloween. In actual fact I fucking hate Halloween, in my opinion it's a pointless holiday that I've never celebrated until I came to Japan where I now have to wear a wanky hat every year and be the princess of fucking genkiness, but besides the point really.
I got loads of pumpkins and bats and all that shite and went to town on the school, outside and in. Now, I feel a bit ridiculous surrounded by all this crap but I can not even remember the number of kids (and adults) who have walked past the school since the decorations have been up and squealed "kaaaaaawwwwaaaaaiiii!!!" in giddy delight. This conversation even went down the other night outside the school door:

Small child (AKA my cash cow)- Mummy mummy, look a the cute decorations, they're so, so... cute!!

Mummy- (Obviously thinking, 'Fuck me, if I go in there that money sucking gaijin is going to take me for all I've got for speaking her native language to my child!) Yeah, they're cute aren't they! OK, let's go!

Small child- I want to go in, it looks like fun!! The teacher is smiling at me!! I'm going in!

Mummy- No, not now!! I'll call tomorrow I promise!

Small child- Awwww, but I want to go in now! Promise you'll call OK!!

So this got me thinking, when it isn't Christmas or Halloween or Easter should I just plaster the whole school in hearts and clovers?? Will it be like bees to honey, getting sucked in by all the extreme cuteness...??

Another key to a good business in Japan is a small face too, well duh! Obviously!
I suspect this is closely related to the cute factor though. For example, I had two little 6 year old girls come in for a trial lesson, after the lesson was over the mother asked her daughter if she had fun and did she want to take lessons. The little girl said: "Yes I had fun!! And that teacher has yellow hair and a small face!!" The mothers laughed and agreed with her that, yes, the teacher did in fact have a small face, and yellow hair for that matter. Errrr, what the fuck? Since when does small face and yellow hair have anything to do with learning English?? I mean I wasn't offended or anything but... huh?!
I was contemplating dying my hair black for winter but decided it would be bad for business, I always put on weight in winter from all the comfort food and imagine, a teacher with black hair and a big face!!! Shock horror!!!

My mum and sister arrive tonight, so excited and dreading it all at the same time. I know we'll have fun but the logistics of our rat hole of a house are a bit of a worry... We'll see anyway!

Friday 1 October 2010

Annnnnnnd, Grandma is back.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Grandma has been a bit under the weather this week, sleeping all day, not eating much and getting dizzy if she stood up. Bit of a worry for an 80- something Granny who is usually up at sparrow's fart bitching about futons or rubbish or the fact that nobody will trim her trees for her or what have you. When she was sick I actually got all soft and thought about how much we will miss her when she finally kicks the bucket.

Yeah, not so much today.
She finally went to the doctor, after much nagging from MIL, me, Ryota and random Obachans on the dirt path who had heard of her 'shindoi-ness' through the dirt path grapevine AKA tactless gaijin who yells "ばああちゃん大丈夫の??まだしんどい??(Oi Granny!! You OK love? Still feelin' like shite??)" from her veranda to the in-laws open window...
The doctor claimed she was run-down (don't all doctors in Japan use that when the haven't a fucking clue??) and needed a tenteki. What the fuck is a tenteki in English?? IV?? Drip?? Anyway, she got the tenteki and came back with a new lease on life. I swear to god that little bag of vitamins dripping into her veins must have had some psychological effect, it couldn't have just cured her like magic. Or maybe I'm too cynical, maybe tentekis are the miracle cure for 'shindoi-ness'?? But whatever it was, she was totally fine, wolfed down her dinner and woke up this morning way before anyone else to creep in to our genkan to put our rubbish out.

Which brings me to the point of why I kinda liked it when she was bed-ridden... Fucking rubbish. For me, separating rubbish is the very definition of 'medokusai' (fiddly as fuck). I do the basics, separate the pet bottles and cans and shit, but when it comes to burnable and plastics, if it's stinky, I'm sorry, I'm just going to put it in the garbage bag that goes out first. I know I know, I'm a bad girl, but seriously, if mother nature could smell my rubbish bin after a few days worth of cat food, shitty nappies and rotten food has built up then she would understand my need to cheat the rubbish system and sneak smelly burnable things in with my clean plastics.
Mother nature would understand, but Grandma sooo won't accept that excuse. Basically, on Wednesday I put a bag of plastics out with a few naughties in it and it was slapped with a rejection sticker, I wanted to ignore it and plead rubbish ignorance but it was spied and brought back to our house by possibly MIL but probably a nosey dirt path Obachan. But I thought, 'Meh, no worries, I'll just dump it on Friday with the burnables.' I planned to do this today but Grandma had already slapped her rubbish nazi cap and was going through the offending bag when I left for kindy with Ash. I got a 10 minute lecture on separating the rubbish and what was burnable or not. I wanted to tell her I knew what was burnable, I just chose to be a rubbish rebel but the woman was elbow deep in our shit (quite literally) so thought best to keep my gob shut.

It won't matter as much now as weather is getting cooler and the rubbish won't smell like in in summer, but still, what if there were private things in our rubbish, wouldn't want Grandma finding a sex toy box or something! Not that there is anything like that in out house, Ashton would probably sneak it into his Anpanman car seat where every other important thing seems to end up these days.

Everything else is pretty boring here, still no contact with dog fucker, she's cramming driving lessons in for her driving test in a few weeks. Until our tiff I was taking her out in our car to deserted car parks and shopping centres but she can get bent now, I might fucking offend her if I 'say too much' and tell her what a shit driver she is...
Getting the house sorted for Mum and sister's arrival next week, dreading sorting the spare room but must be done so best get to it. Also thinking what I'm going to cook, I've enver cooked for a family of, fuck me 5! Considering Mum refuses to try anything slightly exotic, sister hates seafood, Ashton still needs slightly modified baby-ish type food, and Ryota will no doubt have a whinge about watever is cooked every night I may have to look into hiring a personal chef for 2 weeks, any volunteers....?