On a recent tour to Yokohama, I came across this sign and couldn’t resist. Remember, the Japanese don’t joke.
Cliff was putting me on notice by saying something about having a lot to do this weekend. Did something change? Last time I checked, we had 3 bags each to pack. For some reason, I don’t think that’s going to take 48 hours.
Saturday, I met Bridget and her daughter at Ginza Uniqlo to buy cute Japan T-shirts and some last minute fun stuff at Hakuhinkan. She surprised me by gifting me a beautiful antique clutch purse from her and Emily. I was so touched. It is definitely easier for me to give gifts than to receive and this was no exception. I always hear my dad’s words about “friends representing who I am” and I think, how did I ever get so lucky to know these people? What did I do to deserve such fine friends? Then, I remember, “Oh yeah! I’m awesome!”
I’ve baked brownies for Chase’s last day and Christmas party. Chase and Mize helped me decorate the brownies. They turned out terrific, if I do say so myself. I’ve posted this picture and recipe on my Pinterest.
Monday the packers start their work. I will go to spin class at TAC to stay out of their way as well as Cliff’s. He enjoys being “The Overseer”, I don’t. Monday we move to the Conrad Hilton in Tokyo.
I’ve been fielding emails and notes from friends in Atlanta giving me something to look forward to. I’m so lucky to have them. I’ve also been using a new meditation/self-hypnosis track by Mike Mandel. I know his headshot on the website is a little creepy looking, but he has a good reputation, and I think his CDs help me. The other day I caught myself yelling at Chase over homework while waving a knife around and thought, I need to get back to those self-help CDs.
My girlfriend Debra wrote me she felt like my moving was the end of the ”Desperate Ex-pat Wives” Show. This is high praise coming from someone who doesn’t watch TV. But I reassured her, there was more to come. Next season takes place in Atlanta, Georgia and she is part of the primary cast!
TEASERS FOR UPCOMING BLOG POSTS:
Back in the Pink Palace
- I’m Sorry Officer? Did My Alarm Go Off Again?
- Doubles Atlanta-Style: Lauren & Me w/ our Sugah Daddies
- Trying to Stay off the Grid
- I’m Back & I’m Juicing
- Another Asian Female on the Road. God help us.
- Chase Goes Co-Ed
- Little League Baseball after Japan
- Cliff Buys a New Car
- Selling Dad’s House
- March Madness: Cliff’s High School Friends Come for a Visit
- What to Expect When You are Expecting a Mini Schnauzer
- The World is a Stage… Why Am I Not on It?
You thought Japan was fun, stay tuned friends, it’s just getting started.
Until next time…
Fifth Grade means having to say you’re sorry… a lot. Like, “Sorry I threw your workbook at you” or “Sorry I yelled so much correcting your homework” or “Sorry my head started spinning after I saw yet another sentence without a period!” Over the past week however, I have discovered the wonderful world of podcasts. Now, I start my day by waking Chase up with Think Like A… Great Student Meditation podcast. Furthermore, I end each night listening to Steve G Jones -Hypnosis to Change Your Life sessions. I’m not saying this is the answer to your evening battles with your children, but I have to say after a week of this, I’m drinking less sake. Books are staying on the table. I’m breathing more and yelling less, and by the way, did you read my last blog? It was like I was on Ecstasy or something. Here’s my advise, if you’re at your wit’s end or just curious. Give it a shot. You really don’t have much to lose.
It’s Fall in Tokyo so that means Autumn Festivals abound! A Mikoshi is a sacred palanquin or litter placed on poles and carried on shoulders. The god or deity of the shrine is placed on the palanquin and then carried out to visit the community and bestow blessings. My good friend Angela, who is my global authority on everything, happened to mention an opportunity for Chase to carry the kid mikoshi through our area for Autumn Festival. I’m always happy to sign Chase up for hard labor. His life is just too damn good.
He was a real trooper. The route was certainly not flat and took over an hour, but they gave the kids plenty of breaks. Chase never ceases to impress me how he jumps right into situations where he has no clue what he’s doing, surrounded by strangers, doesn’t speak the language and just rolls with it! I have so much admiration for him (and a secret bank account set aside for adult psychotherapy sessions). The people in the town thought it was terrific we were there. They let him clack the boards to start the procession and lead the chanting. It was also amazing to see how the people in their apartments would hear us coming and wave or step out onto their balconies. One really old guy walked right out in his underwear and I just looked at another mom and asked her in Japanese, “Is that old grandfather standing there in his underwear?” and smiling, she said, “Hai.” That dude gave me hope that maybe old age will be interesting.
You can’t have school-age children and not be touched by bullying at some point. I recently had a revelation that what Chase needed was some comebacks. A lot of times, I feel like he’s blind-sided by these little assholes and doesn’t know what to say or do. We have encouraged him to punch faces or push, but that’s just not him. God bless him. So I thought, he needs a script. I need to give him some lines to deliver when he is being verbally bullied. For instance:
Bully says “Fuck You!”
- You know what? You are a jerk, and I’m sorry your life sucks (spoken with genuine concern).
- Dude… I’m not gay. (spoken seriously)
- Wow! That’s amazing how you make crap come out of your butt and your mouth! (With genuine awe)
Now I know for a fact I have some very witty readers, so PLEASE feel free to reply back with some of your own.
Until next time…
Cliff informed me that we are officially returning to America in December. As I am listening to him tell me how his “work is done” here in Tokyo, I kept thinking about that scene from Poltergeist when Zelda Rubinstein declares, “This house is CLEAN!” Having just returned and still clearing up my jet lag haze, I have mixed feelings. Living in Tokyo is a lot like living on the Truman Show. Everyone is so polite, everywhere is so clean, everything is so pretty. Over the summer, I really missed the feeling of safety we have grown used to here in Japan. I missed the level of quality. I did not miss the prices. It was nice to eat as much fruit as I wanted without sweating it. I do miss the craziness and drama of white people in America. I’m not just talking about reality TV, but just people acting weird. As we go through the motions of relocating again, I will have more ruminations to share with you all. For now, I’m just going to do what I do and wait for the movers to show up.
Speaking of recruiters…
FINDING GOOD HELP
Two weeks after returning, I experienced my first uninterrupted night of sleep. Since then, I have been able to check the apartment. I don’t think my helper is very good. Cliff is so good at delegating and telling me what I need to tell her, but what he doesn’t seem to understand is I don’t like wearing that hat. There are people who seem VERY comfortable telling other people what they want or what to do. People like Cliff and my mom. There is a side of me that sort of envies that level of comfort with their bossiness. Then there are people like myself who are loath to make demands on people. 1) Most of the time while I’m talking I’m thinking “Who the hell am I to be asking her to iron the bed sheets?” 2) I can see in their eyes they are thinking, “Miss Big Boobies is so lucky she married Sir-With-Money.” I’m assuming being here all summer without anyone has made Lita a little lazy. I reminded her this morning to remember to wipe down the refrigerator and kitchen cabinet doors every time she came. I don’t know if she is slow, or if I just got grin-fucked, but we parted ways without a parting of the ways. That’s success in my book. The only thing I hate worse than “Employee Feedback” is hiring someone new. I don’t mind firing as much as I hate hiring. The whole process is excruciating and then I have “Mr. Professional Executive Recruiter” giving me advice. I purposely hold interviews when I know he’s either out-of-town or at work. The last time I was hiring, Lita (my current helper) could only meet late in the afternoon. After asking her my set questions and acquiring references, I thought we were in the clear. Unbeknownst to me, Cliff had decided to come home early and walks in during our interview. Cliff goes back to change and I start “closing the deal” when Cliff decides he needs to come running out with a wrinkled shirt on a hanger. Then he asks Lita, “Do you like to iron?” She and I are just looking at him and before either of us can say anything, he adds, “I mean, do you love it?” I didn’t think it was possible to be mortified for your help (sorry if that sounds snotty, but it is what it is), but I was completely embarrassed for both of us. I mean, in “Cliff World” does he think there are little girls in the world dreaming in their bedrooms of one day being able to create a perfectly smooth, starched shirt? or of creating pristine toilets with their magical bristle wands?
To her credit, Lita was able to eek out a very soft “Yes, Sir”, and she returned the next day to work in Crazy World.
Until next time…
Just by reading this blog, you are witnessing a miracle. Many of you know how horrible my jet lag is so the fact that I can turn on a computer and put together sentences only a week after returning from America is quite an accomplishment. I love how Cliff seems to apply tough love to the situation and acts like I have never left. Within hours of getting off the plane, Cliff requested I cook Indian for dinner.
Cliff decided to take the day off and asked that I pull together a hike or tour for us to do as a family. Mind you, Tokyo is practically at 100% humidity at all times now and the temperatures are always above 90′s. I keep having to remind myself I am too young to be going through menopause even though I am in a constant state of full-body-sweating. Given this is Obon season, I booked a walking tour through Tokyo titled “Blood of Samurai“. Lilly, our tour guide, walked us through historical graves, shrines and the like, all the while providing interesting bits of history and folklore.
One of our stops included the shrine of the Lipstick Buddha. Different from the Lipstick Lesbian, Lipstick Buddha is where you go to have beauty bestowed upon you. You can apply some of your own makeup to the statue or just use some of the pressed powder available at the shrine. I was not going to miss my opportunity to apply generously.
Many of you are probably familiar with the practice of seppuku (ritual suicide) as performed by Samurai when faced with losing face or dying. During our tour, Lilly, took us to the graves of the 47 Ronin and we were able to see the preserved pool where beheaded heads were cleansed. I don’t know why it really mattered whether your head was clean once you lost it, but whatever. It was a lovely spot to sit and meditate next to. In previous blogs I have talked about Japan being the capital of instruction manuals. Everything from DVD players to chewing gum has an instruction manual. Here’s the latest one I’ve come across:
The Japanese have made buying team paraphernalia a high art form. We ended up buying some “bat beaters” and a towel, but there was so much more we could have purchased. We also stopped by concessions to pick up some food:
No peanuts or cracker jack here. I had smuggled in onigiri (rice balls) and Chase opted for takoyaki (octopus balls) and Cliff had a small bucket of chicken nuggets. There were hotdogs though!
In the stadium, you could purchase beer and ice cream from one of the walking vendors:
This one happened to be a male, but believe me, most of the others were cute girls in short shorts with kegs strapped to their backsides. I asked Cliff if those were his “dream girls” and he replied, “only if they’re mute too.”
Before the game started there was a pre-show and evidently, baseball here includes cheerleaders:
These girls also came out between innings and whenever something exciting happened. It was so interesting to see the calm, stoic Japanese transform themselves into crazy, yelling fans. Each player has his own song or beat that the fans play when it’s his turn at bat. Fans of each team also have a signature move they all do, kind of like when people get up and do a wave in America. The Yakult Swallow fans raise and lower umbrellas for a great play:
YOU KNOW YOU ARE JET LAGGED WHEN:
- You wake up wanting to vomit
- Your eyeballs feel loose inside their sockets
- You find yourself drinking sake aka Jet Lag Juice at 12:08am
- You find yourself saying things like, “Shut your hole!” or “I feel like punching your face!”
- You give your child 1000 yen and tell him to find his own way home
Until next time…
The last few days have been tough mom days.
- Chase admitted to being bullied on the bus for half the school year
- Chase left his mobile phone in the washer
- Chase scored an F on his end of year math evaluation
Needless to say, besides trying to be the ultimate tour guide, cook gourmet meals, mourn, look cute and prepare for our summer stay in the US, these last few events seemed like, how do you say? “Straws on my camel’s back?” What the hell is that saying? I don’t know. You know what I mean.
1. Bus Bully
Luckily dad was here when Chase decided to finally admit the situation. Even retired, my father manages breakthroughs. Dad and I asked him why it took so long to tell us and Chase said he thought he could just handle it. God, it just breaks my heart and makes me feel so mad. I’ve never seen my dad get so angry either. He kept talking about using physical force and waving his fist around. For a man who is like “Korean Gandhi” I was in shock. I guess when you have 3 daughters, you don’t feel like you can give that kind of advice. It was also interesting to learn new things about my dad at this point in our lives, listening to him recount stories of his childhood bullies. Anyhow, we decided Chase should try to empower himself by writing an official letter to the school describing the situation and asking them “please help me put a stop to this, before I have to use my physical strength” Dad was making all kinds of suggestions for the letter, but it was starting to sound a little too Columbine, so we carefully edited just how “frustrated” Chase should sound. Next step, he would have a conversation with the principal. We also told Chase, when he got on the bus tomorrow, and when the bullies started verbally abusing him, he was to look them in the eye and say, “This stops TODAY.” The next day, everything went according to plan. The school was all over the situation and called each of the boys in for a conference. We were informed that everyone cracked under the pressure and 2 boys cried. Letters of apology were written to Chase and behaviour was documented. I don’t mind intervening in certain situations, but I am very concerned that Chase is turning into a wuss. He is always “victimized” and refuses to fight back. He has a fear of getting into trouble, which is fine, but it is crippling when you can’t even defend your honor to boys half your size. I hope once his testicles drop, maybe he’ll feel more reactive when someone insults him. Who knows.
2. Can you hear me now?
Ever since Chase was about 6 years old, and we discovered the joy of crayons left in a dryer; we made the rule: always empty pockets before putting clothes in the hamper. There were a few mishaps in the early years, but overall it has been pretty good. The other day, I put a load into the washer and went upstairs to do a little cardio. When I came downstairs, I could hear something thumping in the washer. Like a sneaker or dead body part. I waited to see if it would go away by itself, but it just kept going. Then I decided to investigate and put my face in front of the washer window and watched the cycle spinning round and round. I caught a glimpse of something silver and put my face even closer to the window. Then, suddenly, I saw it! Chase’s mobile phone smack on the window! The next thing I know, I’m seeing red and my mind is in a temporary state of paralysis. Of course I have to stop my front-loading washer, mid-cycle and retrieve the phone. I do an internet search (but my mind knows it’s hopeless) and take the phone apart and throw it into a sandwich bag full of rice. Thank God Chase wasn’t home, because I would probably be typing this blog from my jail cell after murdering my child. By the time he came home, I let him know what I found and that I would be pro-rating the cost of his phone from his allowance until it was paid for. He should not expect a replacement phone, and if he needed to call me, he would have to ask someone around him with a phone to call his mom. Then, I gave him the bag of rice and phone, and said he would have to continue carrying his “phone” with him to get into the habit.
3. The F-ing test
What can I say? I didn’t know whether to yell or cry so I did both. This was the year-end math evaluation for 4th grade students. I told Chase, “this test tells St. Mary’s, Holy Innocents, your teachers and parents what you learned in math and evidently, you didn’t learn anything!” Then I said, “You better start practicing baseball a lot more and working out because you are going to have to earn a living using your body because nobody hires people who make F’s for their brains!” Cliff and I were in Defcon 4. After a miserable evening of condemnation, I realized in bed that night that it really takes a village. I also realized that Chase’s failure was something we all had a hand in: His math teacher, Cliff and me. We dropped the ball. The next morning, I decided to go to school and talk with Chase’s teacher and see if paying these tuitions and being a private school parent I could do anything. Luckily, teacher seemed surprised as well and admitted to not being the best math student herself. She said she would be willing to give Chase (and a few other boys) a second opportunity to take the test. I was so relieved and grateful. That night, I informed Chase of this new development. We agreed we would cram and study all night. He went to bed bleary-eyed and distraught, but I knew all of this was an invaluable lesson: No pain, no gain.
The next morning, we got up early to go over a couple more things. Before he left, I told Chase I didn’t care how he scored on the re-test. I was proud that he sacrificed and studied hard. But I did say to try to at least pass.
I was so anxious all day, and Cliff kept emailing and texting me if I had heard anything. I finally decided I would meet Chase after school to show him my support and take him out for ice cream. When I got to the school, I saw Chase sitting with some friends.
- Chase: What are you doing here mom?
- Me: I thought I would take my best boy out for ice cream.
- Chase: That’s nice.
- Me: So… How’d you do?…
- Chase: (looking sheepish) I made an A.
- Me: (Tears in my eyes) I knew you could do it. (hugs)
I went back to the classroom and met up with his math teacher. She confirmed what he said and let me know she would combine the 2 scores and he would end up having a B-.
Was I interfering with the natural order of the universe? Was I being overprotective? Yes. No one knows what a jungle it is out there better than a tiger mom. Do I ascribe to everything the “Tiger Mom” stands for? Absolutely not. But, sometimes we need to do what we can to help our cubs survive.
Until next time…
In the States, I have experienced or known of unexpected school cancellations due to snow, ice, hurricane, and violence. Last week, I experienced my first school closing due to High Winds. Because so many students in Japan commute by trains, if the winds are too intense, much like a ski lift, the trains have to stop running. It does seem ironic that Tokyo can survive earthquakes, but if the winds get too high they worry about trains flying off their tracks. Truth be told, I have never experienced winds as crazy fierce as those in a Tokyo typhoon. Oh well, Chase got an unexpected half-day and because my cooking lesson wasn’t canceled, he ended up meeting Cliff for lunch and spending the rest of the afternoon being “home-schooled”.
HITTING THE WALL: CHINESE VISA
My second attempt for a visa was again unsuccessful. My first attempt happened to coincide with the Chinese holiday Qingming Day, or Tomb Sweeping day. It’s hard to believe anyone can make a living with all the holidays. Remember, call first before you go anywhere.
On my second try, I thought I would take pictures depicting the waiting line as it grew. We live very close to the Embassy so I get to see it regularly. I never expected to actually be a part of it. I decided to get in line at 8:15am even though it opens at 9:00am:
My spot is marked by the pink backpack. There was actually a family of 4 in front of me when I assumed my position.
8:35am looked like this:
When I went across the street to take this picture, the police officer chastised me for jay-walking. I had to walk to the crossways every time.
As 9:00am arrived, some Chinese embassy officials popped out of the building and set up a table ala airport security-style with baskets for “metal objects”.
It was so funny watching people get dropped off in front of the Embassy and watching the realization on their faces that they had to walk another block to get in line. Once the doors opened, we rushed in and you have to go to the 3rd floor and go from window to window. They checked my papers. I didn’t have a photocopy of my (and Chase’s) passport and alien card so I had to get in line for the photocopy machine (luckily I was early so I didn’t have to wait for that) but then I had to get back in line at window 1. You basically go to Window 1 for a ticket to get to Window 2. When my turn came up, I went to Window 2, and she said I needed my hotel reservation and plane tickets. With that, she quickly handed me a copy of the application procedures along with all my papers and shut the window. It was all very Wizard of Oz, Dorothy-San style. As soon as I left, I of course called Cliff to thank him for wasting 2 hours of my life. Will let you know how much further I get on the “yellow-brick road”.
THE GRADUATE… years later
Last night, we finally rendezvoused with Andrew. He’s so cute and very “fresh” (vampire term). Cliff met him at the station, and Chase and I met them at our favorite soba restaurant in Azabu Juban. I don’t know if it’s a sign of maturity or maternity, but as Chase and Andrew sat next to each other, I couldn’t help wondering what Chase would end up being like when he goes to college. How would he act if he was traveling overseas on his own? Andrew got on Chase’s good list as soon as he realized they could talk about video games and DragonBall. Andrew got on my good list as he talked about his interest in Japan and his desire to explore the city. He’s our first visitor and it is so nice to see the city through “new eyes” as only a visitor can bring.
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
So the countdown is on. Friday the 13th is opening night. I’m not going to say it’s Glee, but it’s definitely a show. I do have my favorite numbers and my favorite cast members. It’s been an interesting experience and I have enjoyed working with some of the kids. I have also made some interesting observations about people who choose to work in high school settings. Not being faculty and being more of an outsider, it has been a revelation on many levels to work with the kids and adults. If it sounds like I keep talking around something, it’s probably because I wish I could say more, but I have to wait until we’re out of the country to spill my guts.
Until next time…
This morning, Cliff told me Andrew finally arrived in Tokyo. Andrew is one of Cliff’s best friend’s grandson who is going to attend Japanese University. I met Andrew a very long time ago when Cliff and I were just dating at said friend’s party, and at the time, he was just a little boy. Anyhow, I am very excited to see Andrew again after all these years. Worst case, he’s some shy, pimply faced kid with glasses. Better case, well, anything outside of that. Since he has just arrived, I know he hasn’t started classes and he’s probably looking for places to explore. This morning Cliff and I had this conversation:
- Cliff: Andrew just arrived in Japan
- Me: Who?
- Cliff: Remember Andrew?!? I told you he’s coming for school?
- Me: Oh yeah… excitedly So when are we getting together? Will he come for the weekend?
- Cliff: I don’t know. Probably not.
- Me: Well, let’s get together for dinner Friday (darn! I have rehearsals) maybe Sunday brunch?
- Cliff: Okay. We can talk about it later.
- Me: Why don’t you give me his email and I’ll contact him directly.
- Cliff: Mmm, no. I’ll take care of it.
- Me: Don’t you have more important things to do?
- Cliff: silence
I know what is happening here. I felt like maybe I should have reminded Cliff my last name is Wright not Robinson. Am I a bit Pavlovian at the sound of lawnmowers on a summer day? Maybe. Do I like to surround myself with attractive people. Guilty. Am I living vicariously by reading the Twilight series? Yesssss. But do all these things warrant his reluctance to letting me get my hands on this young man? I should hope not. I don’t think of myself as a cougar anyway. Puma, maybe, but cougar, no. Will let you know when and how the reunion goes.
I finally broke down and started reading the Twilight series. I’m hooked. As I get older, I find myself relating to vampires more and more. Who knows? maybe one of these days I’ll start dressing in torn up black clothing and paint my face white like they do on Harajuku Street:
GOING TO CHINA
On a completely different topic, Cliff and I have decided to go to China with Chase. So this will be the first in my “China” series.
I hate filling out applications so you can imagine my dread when Cliff brought home 12 pages (6 for Chase and 6 for me) of Visa application forms. Then, I had to get color passport pictures for Chase and myself but these are not hard to get because there are photo booths everywhere in Tokyo. Most thoughtful husbands delegate this application process to their eager-to-please assistants at the office, but in Cliff’s world, everyone’s an assistant.
I checked the website for the Chinese Embassy (which happens to be a couple blocks down from our apartment) and in addition to the application you need:
- Passport with enough pages
- Alien registration card
- Photocopy of Passport & Alien Card
- Photocopy of Hotel Reservation Certificate
- Photocopy of 2-Way Ticket
- Visa Fee (for American citizens it is 15,000 Yen or $181.29)
I don’t have a Hotel reservation certificate or 2-way ticket, but whatever. When in Japan, one quickly learns you never have the right or enough documentation and you will often be coming back at a later date. I did notice that the Visa fee for Japanese citizens is 3000 yen and for any other citizen it is 4000 yen. WTH? Just another example of how the Chinese are fleecing Americans. Maybe I’m being too quick to judge. Maybe our visas get us on the fast boat to China.
[insert Chinese gong sound here]
Until next time…
Last week I was temporarily devastated by the accidental unpeeling of my factory issued iPhone skin (Yes, it made it 7 months). Some of you know about my weird fetish for leaving the smooth plastic skin on things like, my computer, phones, TVs, etc… I don’t know if it stems from childhood or from my germ obsession. I have disgusted many who have looked at the remnants of the skin on my phones wondering what the hell that dusty, face-schmeared, flapping plastic on my phone ever was. The nice thing about getting older is you don’t give a damn. You don’t feel compelled to make excuses for your weirdness anymore. Like Howard Hughes, your weirdness evolves to eccentricity. Another benefit to all this plastic is I am setting an example for Chase. I know at some point we are going to have “The Talk“. During said “Talk“, the use of condoms or rubbers (if you prefer) will inevitably arise (pun intended) and I feel so vindicated knowing that I will be no hypocrite. I will merely point out my shiny, intact, items and explain how I have protected everything important to me with protective plastic skin. Still looks new.
This past week was Chase’s Spring Break and we were in Staycation Mode. It was so nice to wake up and have a new adventure with him everyday. He’s at that great age where we can really just hang and enjoy one another. Of course, by the end of each day, I was telling him to “get out of my face”. Chase asked if we could go to Hakuhinkan. I have mentioned in previous blogs how this place is in the Ginza district and is the Japanese version of FAO Schwartz. I take Hibiya train to Ginza Station and go out exit A3 and walk straight ahead. It is on the right side of the street a few blocks down. Chase has revived his obsession with Dragon Ball Z Kai. He has ordered collectors cards online and discovered that there is an actual game you can play with the cards:
In front of Chase, there is a flat surface where you place your Player cards and it somehow interfaces with the video monitor and you battle different opponents. It costs 100 yen per game $1.21. Many of the “veterans” have portfolios full of player cards and come prepared. It’s really wild to watch. The kids love it. Every time we were there, there was always a line with at least 2-3 kids waiting their turn. The nice thing about Japan is everyone really understands how to wait their turn. I see how Chase has come to understand this and it really impresses me how the kids here don’t need to be reminded to “give someone else a turn”. They wait, they play, they get back in line. One time we arrived and I saw some guy who looked to be in his 20′s in line waiting to play. There was another kid who Chase and I have nicknamed “Vegas” because he shows up with a plastic case for his 100 yen coins.
So while Chase is in line or playing, I walked around the shop and Ginza. At the store, I came across the coolest sponges that made me feel like I was back in Atlanta:
I wanted to buy these sponges so badly but I’m waiting to hear comments from my readers. I really don’t want to be in The Help sequel. It wouldn’t bother me to wash fried egg off a plate with a geisha doll but hell, what do I know. I don’t wash dishes.
The last “adventure” on our staycation included going to the aquarium with our Russian friends Svetlana and Nikita. That day turned out to be very typhoonie, so when they suggested an aquarium visit we jumped.
The aquarium was terrific. Not too crowded. It obviously showcased an aquarium with lots ofsea creatures, but also indoor amusment park style rides and shows. They actually had one of those pirateboat rides inside! We were also able to catch one of the shows:
When we looked for seats of course the only seats available were in the primary “Splash-Zone”. Svetlana kindly went to the vendor and purchased plastic ponchos for 100 yen each for all four of us. The boys of course wanted to sit up front. Every time we got doused with nasty aquarium water, Svetlana and I would just look at each other and laugh thinking how ironical the whole situation was. We came here to do something out of the rain and end up getting drenched by dolphins.
The good thing is, I found plastic to cover me from head to toe!
April 2nd School Starts for Chase
April 7 Amoroso Dinner with Cliff Friends
April 13th Opening Night for Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Jacket AND Cliff & Chase go to Cub Scout Camp out
April 20th Room to Read Charity Gala
Until next time…
So for the past 2 days, I have had the Katy Perry lyric running through my head: “You’re Hot then You’re Cold…” The Tokyo flu finally put me down and I was forced to not work out Tuesday (I was going to do Ashtanga) AND turn on the heat in the apartment. There is nothing I hate more than being told to breathe deeply when there is someone in the room who sounds like they have respiratory disease. Luckily, Cliff was off work for the March 20th National holiday known as Shunbun no Hi. This is the holiday to celebrate love of nature and living things. We celebrated by staying indoors in our underwear and robes.
I have heard other wives sometimes express concern over their husbands “turning Japanese” or expecting them to be more “Japanese-y”. I was not too worried about such things because I truly believe I have married the “Whitest Man on Earth.” However, given the fact that Cliff himself will admit to being somewhat of a dandy (as anyone who has seen him would figure out quickly), I was a bit concerned when he came home after a recent trip excited about his new underwear. Normally he wears boxer-briefs that reach to above the knee. When he tried on his new undergarments, I nearly fell over. They looked like the hot pants I wear to my workouts! It’s amazing what a few inches can do for you. I told him he looked like one of Madonna’s backup dancers:
GOING TO THE DENTIST
Sometimes, I get so caught up in the comedy that is my life that I forget this blog is supposed to be somewhat useful and informative. So today I biked my recovering ass to my dentist at the Tokyo Clinical Dental Office. Dr. Drennan happens to be a graduate from St. Mary’s International School and around my age. Ours must be the age of reminiscing because every time we get together I feel like we end up talking about Thompson Twins and parachute pants. Today, I was in for a regular cleaning and check-up. Given my experiences in the States, I have always assumed Dental Hygiene schools must recruit students from lumber yards the way they have always sawed back and forth over my gums with their floss. Not to mention they always seem to have the biggest man-hands that require the intermittent “open wider please”. I have to admit, today was so different! I swear, I could have napped through my cleaning! She was so gentle at one point I began to wonder if I was getting a proper cleaning. Let me also say, those small Asian hands aren’t just good for sweat shops. Not once did I feel like gagging or get asked to open wider. The other thing I need to mention is, I was very happy to retain some of my dignity during my visit. I have always thought it gross and weird how in America, they will remove the tartar/plaque off your teeth and then shmear it across your paper bib. It’s so humiliating. Here, she removed the plaque/tartar off my teeth and then put it into a tissue on the tray next to her. So civilised.
Until next time…