The Appointment

Tomorrow, Me Too has an appointment with the ENT at the hospital. She may need her tonsils and adenoids out.

She’s ridiculously excited about missing school for a day and going out to lunch.

Obviously she doesn’t quite understand what is going on.

Apparently that surgery in Japan requires a 5-10 day stay in the hospital, which isn’t exactly nearby and will not allow visitors under 12.

I really don’t know how we’re gonna do this.

I know my in-laws, they will ‘help’ in the way they want to, regardless of what I need or what is best for my children. After care at Y’s school is open till 5, but if we apply for extended hours and get accepted and pay for it, he can stay until 7.

But the hospital visiting hours are until 8, so I will either have to leave Me Too alone while everyone else still has their parents there, or rely on one of my untrustworthy Japanese relatives to pick up Me First. These are the same people that have promised to help, and burned me again and again so I’m wary, to be grotesquely understated.

HRH says I’m working myself up about something that we aren’t even sure will happen yet, but honestly? He’s a d!ck. I’m working through my options, trying to get my mind around it, so if and when push does come to shove, I’m prepared and cool as a cucumber.

I wish it was me instead of her. Mom in the hospital would be a calamity and there would be people crawling out of the woodwork to help. But as long as I am mobile, I’ll always have to make do and manage and work through it alone.

Okay, pity party over. I’ll get back to getting by.

Tokyo Legoland

The kids had school on Saturday, and therefore had Monday off.

I know, right?

I decided to take advantage of a perhaps less crowded weekday and take the kids to Legoland. It’s in Odaiba, which is on the bay in Tokyo. That means it’s a total pain in the ass to get to. We ended up taking a bus from Yokohama station so we wouldn’t have to deal with the trains at rush hour. The train to Yokohama was bad enough!

If, for whatever reason (like temporary insanity) you decide to take your children (or yourself. They have a grown-ups only evening event)to Legoland, then save yourself some hassle and some money and buy the mae-uri ticket online. I asked HRH to do this at work since we don’t have a printer at home, and he forgot.

(>_<)

At opening time, the people with tickets already got to go in right at ten. We scum without tickets were wrangled into a separate line. They didn’t even open the rope for us until 10:15. We languished in line for a good 25 minutes, despite being third from the front. There were giant lego man silhouettes on the wall and buckets of lego so the kids were occurred. But seriously if I had been PMSing that day it would have been baaad, y’all.

When we finally got in, the first area was a pseudo lego factory. This was mildly entertaining. Then there was a ride. You ride in a chariot and shoot up bad guys in an attempt to rescue the princess. DD especially was into this. I thought it was kind of lame, and not just because DS got more points than me.

Then there was a room which, basically, was Tokyo made out of lego. The lights faded every few minutes to become Tokyo at night made out of lego.

At some point there was a giant lego dragon and a lego motorcycle.

Then on the next floor was a super fantastic play area. This being Japan, most of the parents walked off and left their kids to survive as best they could. I was trying to watch mine, but they kept going off in different directions and I lost them both in about six seconds. Luckily, there was only one exit.

Me First appeared hungry and sweaty(like gross sweaty,) but as luck would have it, the play area was by the cafe. Which was crowded. And small. But we managed to get a table by miraculous intervention.

I’d read reviews in Japanese complaining that the cafe menu was too limited and mostly snacky type stuff, but to my undiscerning American palette, it was fine. Overpriced, but they had coffee so I forgive them. Me Too got an onigiri bento. Me First got curry. I had a sandwich. We shared some chips. Everyone got a drink and it came to 2500yen.

The ‘4D’ Chima movie was next. This was the highlight of our trip; both kids said it was their favorite.

There was another ride, one of those round and round things. Then several lego areas: duplo (zoo themed,) a section where you build a racecar and run it down ramps and things, then a ‘Lego Friends’ girly section.

Me Too was really excited about the girly stuff, but they weren’t the actual sets and didn’t have the girl figures, so she got bored very quickly.

Me First was really into the racecar stuff, but by this time Sister was bored and hungry.

Of course you have to go through the gift shop to get out. They had a small section where you can build your own figurines, 3 for 1000yen. So we escaped relatively unscathed.

If it was closer, we might go again, but considering the distance, I won’t suggest it again.

Enough with the four seasons already!

Today I had the very joyful task of picking out a present for a friend who is expecting.

I was looking forward to it. Who doesn’t love buying cute little things for cute little babies who haven’t been born yet?

My friend isn’t the extravagant type, but I thought I would go to a department store and spoil her a little bit.

I strolled the aisles, enjoying myself, until I came upon the cutest little outfit. Friend had said her baby was running on the big side, so I chose something slightly larger than newborn size. Something short sleeved because Japanese summer, to be frank, is a bitch.

Only rivalled by the condescending know-it-all at Takashimaya.

I ask for the item and to have it wrapped, please. She scans my body, and asks if it is for me or a friend. I haven’t yet noticed that she is the devil incarnate, so I answer that it is for a friend. She then tells me that my choice is not suitable because Japanese clothes are made with Japan’s unique four seasons in mind. Basically, she assumed I knew nothing about Japan’s ‘special’ weather, nothing about babies, and nothing about my friend.

And really, Ffs, people, there is a whole rather large swath of planet Earth that has four seasons. Let’s get over that already.

For a moment, I thought about explaining myself. I’d put thought into what I was buying based on my own experience. But then I decided to walk away. I had other things to do and would prefer to spend my money where people don’t treat me like an idiot.

So I ended up with the second cutest outfit. But I trust cute baby will make up the difference!

Out

So I’ve left them.

At home with HRH for half the day. He was resistant and passive aggressive, but I won in the end.

HRH has decided to take them bowling, coincidentally just a few minutes walk away from where I’m having lunch. Conveniently enough I’ll have to take them home when they are tired and (knowing my husband)hyped on sugar because he has a ‘work’ thing.

It turns out that his definition of ‘work’ includes dinner and drinks with friends at TGIFriday’s. I only found out because I mentioned I might take the kids there for dinner and he proceeded to freak out like a polar bear at a beach volleyball tournament.

But whatever.

I didn’t make their lunch. I didn’t make sure they had their train passes or handkerchiefs or water bottles or umbrellas.

Let him take care of all of that for a change and see how much fun it is. I see he called his mom in a panic about lunch, which is kind of cheating. Would have been better for his personal growth if she hadn’t been home. I wonder how his high standards of what an acceptable lunch consists of would change if he ever is his life actually once made lunch.

The world may never know…

I have a lot of relaxing to do in the next 4 hours because tomorrow I’ve promised to take the kids to Legoland. I assume this is one of the forgotten layers of hell. I guess we’ll find out.

Rainy Rainy

Rainy season started here in Kanto yesterday in quite dramatic fashion. It’s been drizzling for two days, with periods of downpouring which seem to occur only when I have to be outside.

I’ll admit it: I’m one of those strange women who don’t mind rainy season. I mean, sure it’s wet and the laundry is a pain and your hair looks bad.

But at least it isn’t hot!

I guess my feelings may be influenced by my laundry always being a mess and my hair always looking bad anyway. During rainy season, perhaps that doesn’t stand out as much.

But there is one thing about this season of perpetual rain that does aggregate me, and that is footwear. It’s too hot and muggy for rainboots, but wearing sneakers would serve only to induce misery. Sandals get waterlogged. Flip flops flip water on your butt. Crocs are okay until your feet get wet, and then you start actually sliding around inside your shoes, which is not as much fun as it sounds. Kind of like a Slip-n-Slide.

Of course leather or fabric won’t do, but then plastic makes your feet sweat. So. What to do?

Any suggestions?

But like I said before, at least it isn’t hot. Or cold.

Stick It

I usually get along with my MIL, but that doesn’t make for very interesting blogging, so let me just enlighten the world in regards to a weird thing she said the other day. I’m still trying to figure it out.

For the past month or so, both of my children have been absolutely obsessed with Lego Hero Factory. I have no opinion on this matter, apart from being thankful that they are fighting less over the TV, and getting sick of hearing millions of tiny little tidbits abut the various heroes for hours and hours every day.

In true Tiger Mom fashion, I bought the children several books about the heroes. The chapter books are actually pretty interesting, though they are a little too difficult for the kids so I have to go back and summarize everything that happened. Multiple times. When I really wish they would just go to sleep already.

I also bought them a sticker book. It’s one of those kinds where the pages of silhouettes of the item and you find the correct sticker and add it on. This is, of course, quite easy for Me First, who is nine, and not difficult for Me Too, either. Me First has been filling in the stickers, and then going back and reading the descriptions. These are well written, with vivid descriptions and full of vocabulary he doesn’t usually come across. It’s been a great exercise for him (and a good reminder to me to try to use different kinds of words to give my kids more exposure to the richness of the English language beyond “clean your room” and “because I said so, that’s why.”)

He took this obsession book with him when we went to the in-laws over the weekend, and MIL just went on and on about how it was too easy for him, and why would I waste money on something like that, isn’t it boring, etc.

I just cannot fathom why she would say those things. The sticker bit may have been easy, but she had no way of knowing how difficult the reading was, being unable to read English herself. And he was obviously enjoying himself, rearranging the stickers and making up stories as he went along. He was even more or less quiet, which is always a plus.

I just don’t get it.

She (and HRH) have made several comments in the past when one of the children did something they thought was “too childish.” So what? If it’s fun, and not bothering anyone, why does it matter? What’s with the push to do things they deem age-appropriate? And who gave them the power to decide that, anyway?

Recently, Me Too doesn’t want to go to the park with HRH because he makes her play baseball, or soccer, or some other organized game when she just really wants to collect acorns and then perhaps roll in the mud.

We went to the beach last week to dig clams, and HRH insisted they go straight to the water and get to work when both children were more interested in trying to run across the sand and throwing seaweed at each other. Why battle with them over that?

The funniest part of the beach adventure was that, after about an hour of clam digging, he said they could each take three clams home. How arbitrary is that? Why three? And then he thought I was actually going to prepare them for consumption. 24 hours of soaking and sand spitting, then steaming them, all for six clams total?

“This is Houston. Come back to Earth.”

Locked Out

When we finally found Me Too, I went to unlock the door and realized that in desperation she had crammed a bamboo stick into the keyhole. Of course, it had broken off and got stuck.

Great.

I did eventually manage to use the pokey end of Me First’s compass to pry it out, but it took awhile. We didn’t get into the house until the wrong side of 4:30.

Me Too was exhausted by this time, and I could feel a migraine coming on. So she skipped karate class. Me First would have skipped, too, if HRH hadn’t shown up just as things were calming down.

Of course he thought Me Too should have been forced to go to karate anyway. Of course he thought I was over reacting. Waiting on your door step for 2 freaking hours and then being locked out for another? No big deal, he says. Of course I wonder, again, how it is that I am married to such a man and living in such a country where things like this are “no big deal.”

I’d had a weird encounter earlier in the day at Costco. I got to talking to one of the people who worked there. He told me he was from Senegal, and then went into a diatribe about how screwed up Japanese society is.

“These people have everything, so much stuff. But they don’t have kids. What is life without kids?” he said to me. It was an other-side-of-the-looking glass moment. I’d grown up hearing about the poor kids in Africa who don’t have anything, and here was one of them feeling sorry for me because I only have two children.

This surreal conversation with HRH brought the other conversation fresh to my mind. Our priorities just seem to be drifting further apart. The way we experience the world around us is totally different. I’ve been around a bit more so I can understand the denial, the defensiveness he feels when I tell him that the school is wrong to leave little children wandering about like that. I want HIM to be the one who takes these concerns to the school because he will be listened to. I’ll be dismissed out of hand as an outsider with crazy ideas. I’ll get the “this is Japan” line. I can deal with that bullshit outside of my home, but I can’t have my concerns minimized and made light of inside and still hold things together.

But this post is all over the place…Happy reading, I’m sure.

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