Yesterday my day was as follows:
- · Walk to bus stop
- · Bike to Tokyo American Club (TAC)
- · Take 80’s Aerobic Class (BTW, they don’t call it this, it’s official name is “Body Sculpt”)
- · Bike to Minato-ku City Hall
- · Bike back home
- · Clean apartment
- · Personal hygiene
- · Receive package
- · Meet Chase at bus stop with tennis equipment
- · Get dinner ready
- · Pass out
I won’t elaborate on everything but I’ll touch upon a couple of things. You might be asking yourself, “Why would Kathryn be going to City Hall?” Well, in Tokyo the government does a VERY good job of taking care of its citizens. They are very into proactive care and making sure everyone is healthy and their well-being is good, even the foreigners. Because of all this governmental attention, I recently learned that the average medical expenditure by the government per citizen is perhaps 30% of what the US spends. A couple weeks ago I received a note from the government offering me free breast exams and pelvics (and no this was not a scam). This was after I had received a package from the government regarding the KODOMO TEATE. This is basically money anyone can apply for from the government that gives you an allowance for just having a kid. If you have more, then you get more. It amounts to a little over 13,000 yen a month ($170-ish). I did take them up on this offer. Japan seems to appreciate that it really is a job! They need an OTTO TEATE (otto means husband), but shit, that amount would never be enough. Yesterday though, I specifically went to City Hall because I found out from another expat that the government is providing earthquake anti-tipping fixtures for its good citizens, and I gotta admit, you don’t grow up in a doctor’s family and not line up for a freebee. Of course given 3/11, they are backordered on everything, but now that I have turned in my paperwork, they will call me as soon as I can get my dole.
I biked myself back home and put on my cleaning hat. I am trying to do this at least once a week and reminding myself that this is rewarding work. I Googled “mopping” but it seemed too complicated and opted for the wet swiffer. Cleaning toilets, can make you hate even your closest relatives and cause you to liken them to forest animals. I enjoy dusting and making things shiny. I’m convinced that vacuuming is NOT good for your back in the long run. Just recently I realized that machine had an extender, but I guess that’s my fault for hiring a 4’6″ Philipino woman.
I had a little time before I needed to get ready to meet Chase’s bus after school so I finally had a chance to clip my toes and fingers. BTW, I haven’t gotten another Mani/Pedi since my last unbelievable experience but 6 1/2 weeks later, I still don’t feel like I got my money’s worth, but here’s what my hands look like now:
Friends, I don’t know when exactly, but at some point between the Ped-Egg and the filing it hit me like a ton of bricks:
Did I move to Tokyo and become Bourgeoise?!?!?
I mean, in one day, I was accepting handouts from the government, I was a domestic worker, I’m doing my own nails! The signs are all there! As my rough proletariat hands sought a firm handle to steady myself, I heard the buzz from my door. I was saved by a delivery from DHL. As I opened the door, I realized the pet portrait I had commissioned an age ago had finally arrived! Just in time because I was REALLY missing Maggie. Let me just say that it has been an adjustment trying to get used to metrics versus US units and finding the right proportions for apartment living, but I think I got the sizing just right. I am submitting as my Pictures of the Day images of the Maggie’s portrait:
That little rectangle bottom right is a $20 bill. I saw this once on CSI.
In case the money didn’t give you a perspective:
As trite as this may sound, a dog’s love is unconditional. They don’t care if you have fancy nails, or you receive a check from the government. If you need to clean the bathroom, they will follow you right in there and lick the bowl after you’re done. The Japanese are really into their dogs and it’s ironic how they are more affectionate with their dogs than they are with each other. In fact, there are records showing that the number of pet owners is ever-increasing while the number of children being born is actually decreasing. That being said, I think this portrait intimates at just how much I adore this creature who has loved and watched over me through the good times and the bad. Recognized me when my face was melted off, graciously said nothing when I passed gas, and guarded me when I was alone. Come to think of it, I should have just had a mural painted on that wall.
Until next time…