I think I may have mentioned that New Year’s in Japan is kind of like Thanksgiving in the US.

Tradition menu? Check.
Families gathering? Check.
Out-of-control children? Check.
Too much alcohol? Check.
Snippy comments leading to hurt feelings and occasional full blown arguments? Check.
Feeling of relief when it is over? Check.

My in-laws begin the New Years hoopla at breakfast. This is also like Thanksgiving in the sense that the food is never ready on time. MIL asked us to come to her house at 9am. Can your children wait until 9am for breakfast? If so, then congratulations. Apparently you are raising them right. My children, alas, are accustomed to eating at 6:30. In all of my “selfishness” I fed them half a piece of bread before going to the in-laws, thus opening myself up to an attack from BIL. Apparently I am a bad mother for doing that. His exact words were 育ちか方が悪い。Fun way to start the day. Where’s the d@mn sake? To add insult to injury, there was only beer. Only ONE beer, and it was in FIL’s glass.

Once again patriarchal society > gaijin yome (foreign wife.)

The New Year’s menu here is, um, less than appetizing. Or so thinks me and my children. FIL was already tipsy and in speech-giving mode, BIL had already verbally attacked me, and now the children were expected to sit down to a feast of of pickled octopus and mochi soup? Yep, that took some bribing. Thankfully, we had otoshidama (money given to children at New Year’s) and a Toys-R-Us advertisement. Please note- no money or Christmas presents from BIL this year. Just noting, no judgement.

After breakfast, we took the kids to the park to fly kites.

The kite went up on the first go. Me First ran back and forth with it for a minute or so, then…Well, note how close he is to the trees. The kite got stuck right in the fork of a branch about 8 feet up. HRH climbed the tree, shook the branch, tried every man-trick he could think of to get it down.

Meanwhile, Me Too started to whine.

“This is boring. It makes my stomach hurt. I’m hungry,” over and over.

Brother adds. “This tree is so big. It’s STUPID big.”

And mommy starts to giggle so hard tears begin to roll down my cheeks, and they’re cold tears, which just makes the whole thing more ridiculous and funny.

HRH gets madder and madder and can’t understand what is so funny about him being in a stupid big tree that makes our tummies hurt. But really, if you aren’t prepared to climb a tree, you should never buy a kite.

Words to live by.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. gaijinwife
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 08:37:28

    Shou’s nearly got stuck in powerlines and Marina was howling cause she wanted to fly her puricure one but daddy got angry because she wouldn’t listen to the instruction session properly. It’s a bloody kite. Get it in the air and give her the piece of damn string already.

    At least we had more than one beer!!

    Your BIL sounds like an idiot. I would have been livid i mine had said that to me about how I raise my kids. Please, breakfast at 9am? Mine would have had their normal breakfast at 6 and then sat there and scoffed all the sweet black beans and nothing else :)


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