Monday, February 27, 2012

Spring, Shopping, and Irrepressible Four-Year-Olds

Spring! Open doors, heaters off, windows down in the car, no jackets needed outside, but by far the strongest indicator is the fact that I a) cleared the table of 2-3 items b) put the kettle on c) gathered up some items to take to the laundry and d) helped Erica with her sleeve, IN BETWEEN getting my bra on and actually get my top on, without dying of cold.

She's off again today, final day of illness I hope, but I don't mind having my little side kick around, she does funny stuff like twirling round and round on the spot singing a song, just to see what would happen if she turned round and round on the spot singing a song. We went shopping.

So we went shopping. Shopping in Japan with a kid is such a treat. Japanese people haven't forgotten how to be nice to kids, or more importantly, how to ENJOY them.

First stop, Post Office. When we finished, Erica turned around, hands in the air, saying "Where's my present?" I turned around to look back at the busy staff and told her they were too busy. She was happy with that and off we trotted, but it just show how used she is to getting a present from the staff, usually a couple of balloons.

Next stop, the bank, where she took off to the area between the main entrance and the ATMs, where I was, to practice some floor-tile challenges of the sort only a four-year old can dream up. She came back with three balloons and the ATM helper staff lady beaming from ear to ear giving her a cheerful goodbye.

Then we dropped by the chemist, a huge shop with three gaggling young lady staff, one customer (me) and Erica. Guess who became the most interesting thing happening? She was rewarded for existing by being given a present - a little plastic pink elephant-shaped money box, which she proceeded to HUG, which of course delighted the gaggle of girls and sufficiently rewarded them for the generosity.

Finally we went for a bit of clothes shopping, which is a bit of challenge for poor Mummy in Japan, due to the fact that the XXL clothes that fit her are made for 5-foot tall soccer-ball bodies, NOT tall, broad-shouldered busty booty-toting bodies. The shop I went to, the cheap one, has kids clothes too, and a very convenient mini-arcade in the back corner, behind the kid shelves, back where the noise and running will bother no-one but Mummy shoppers anyway. I wasted ¥300 on rides and games for her, while go back to check the shelves. I ended up with new pants, sweater and sweatshirt, she ended up having a fantastic fun morning with a new friend she made back there.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I had my first go at holding a grudge. I can't say I recommend it. I woke up in my usual morning cheer, but with a nagging feeling that I should be mad. Like I have to nurse my anger and cherish it carefully to justify stomping around last night and refusing to make eye contact with a husband who really didn't do anything wrong and would have been ready for a loving apology-and-make-up session a few hours after the (minor) incident.

We hardly fight at all, and it's never big, and always over soon. My little annoyances are over quickly with a short burst of nagging, after which I bounce back pretty quickly. His, he deals with by bottling it up and pretending he's not really mad, which fools no-one, or well okay, it fools Erica, and Lena would probably allow herself to be fooled, but Amy and I are sensitive to it. Sometimes it annoys me that we have to deal with it long after the fact, but I usually totally ignore it (not him) because I don't think his silliness should intrude on my normal good cheer or upset the kids. But he then gets over it a few hours later with the help of a nice meal, a few beers and a lovely chat with the family. We used to fight bigger when we were first married, but even then it wasn't very often.

But I was SO tired from this flu and the follow-on, and had just got home from the hospital with Erica again, and I just could not be bothered pretending to be all cheerful and pretending he wasn't really fuming over there in his corner, and tired of the fact that he 'needs' the time (and the beer) to get over it, and since I was already not very keen on eating, and would have to put in an effort just to enjoy it anyway, I just could not sit down and eat. I went back to the computer and ate after he had finished. By that time he had put on a Twilight movie 'for the kids' which annoyed me more, but again I just did not want to go there, so I ignored it, but finished up dinner and saved a poor frightened Erica from her spot near the sofa where she was diligently NOT watching the screen and took her bed.

Which leaves me this morning feeling like I somehow have to defend my decision to hold the grudge by exaggerating how awful he was or how upset I was. Dumb idea. I just can't be bothered. Hope he just forgets it all!

Edited to add: he came home, and all was conveniently forgotten. Nice.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fevers and then more fevers

I had the oddest night Friday night. My fever broke, and I knew that that was what was happening, but I still found everything strange! I remember thinking, hey, I took those pills (with codeine in them) at 8pm, they can't still be doing this to me, they don't usually do this to me anyway, they only have a spit of codeine in them, not enough to get wasted like this!

Then I'd fall asleep again. Hot and cold. Chilly and wrapping up in the blankets while simultaneously being so covered in sweat that my pants were literally sticking to my legs like I had just got out of a swimming pool. Sorry, TMI, but if it helps, it was that sickly sweet sickness sweat, not the smelly underarm BO type! I'd touch my legs and think, that's so weird, then nod off again.

I woke up to a much lowered fever of course, and everything was hunky dory until just after lunch, when Erica suddenly came down with a new fever. One minute, she was singing to herself, doing a puzzle at her new desk (just a fold-out picnic table) then suddenly she told me she was cold. She nestled into my arms, and I could feel how hot she was. 38.5, that quick! She was asleep in no time, leaving me utterly convinced she had pneumonia because she had coughed so much before bed the night before, and that therefore I was going to be spending the next two weeks in hospital and would have to miss the convention.

Luckily her lungs sounded fine when I took her to the hospital after she woke up, and I just got a prescription for antibiotics. Her fever was down to normal again by evening making me wonder if I hadn't imagined it all. But that was after I'd dosed her up with a bit of everything, antibiotics and fever meds, plus her normal anti-allergy and anti-asthma meds, but not the cough medicine because I felt with all the rest in her, that was enough!

Meanwhile Lena runs a low fever nightly, it seems. She's been like this since she got a cold - every night, about 37.5. Either she's always been like this, and I didn't notice (it would explain why she's the only one of my kids who goes over 40 when she's sick) or her immune system is still running on overtime staving off all the colds and flu. Or she has some dreadful disease, so I am totally NOT going to google 'long-running low fever' I am just going to hope it goes away... and tell the doc about it on Tuesday at her usual monthly asthma check.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Can't believe how long it's been since I posted so I'm just filling the space! We have flu. My turn now, Lena seems okay, Amy's fever did not go higher than 37 so we didn't take her to the doctor because she HATES the up-the-nose flu test more than she hates being sick! I got Erica tested though, and she's on Tamiflu so I can only assume that's what Amy had, which means we sadly had a flu party last weekend...

So my turn, and I finally have an actual fever to show for it, an essential element to be taken seriously as a sick person in Japan. And by an incredible stroke of luck I have the next four days off work. Lucky me. I have an essay to check and the online Journal to upload, wine to order and reports to load into my ipad, but that's about it, I think. I'm SO not going to go check my to-do list, lol!

If I feel better tomorrow I might load some photos of the party

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Tuesday masquerading as Thursday

I had my Thursday classes today, because they have some event on Thursday. I totally got the run-around though - turned up in my classroom to a bunch of kids who had no idea English was on this morning. I showed them the schedule, but theirs was different. So I went to check at the office anyway. After making a few phone calls, the manager confirmed that it is indeed English time, and I went up again just in time to catch another teacher heading to the room. No, it's English now, I said, and again schedules were consulted. My bad - wrong class. YES I had English, but with the Denshi group. I had walked in on the Kikai A group. I had recognized the students of course, as I teach them on Fridays, but had failed to twig that they were Friday's group not Thursday's. Of course, they didn't tell me, they were as confused by my confident statement that 'Thursday is on Tuesday this week'.

Which left me wondering where the heck Denshi had got to. The other teacher helped out a little bit, as in he stood by and hummed and hahhed and sucked his teeth a bit for moral support. I settled on the noisiest room with lights on - voila! I found my Denshi. And walked in on ANOTHER class who had no idea English was today. Several had their textbooks on them, some more had them in their lockers (tsk tsk, that means they never take them home to study!) and I only had to photocopy an extra 8 copies in the end.

Then at the end of the class, I sat at my desk, calmly waiting for them to pack their bags and leave... only they didn't. Finally one student, whose head is screwed on a bit tighter than the others, told me they had their next class in this room... so off I went again upstairs and downstairs searching for Kenchiku.

View of all three floors of the lecture block, with many classroom doors, taken from where the other teacher and I 'conferred'

Another round of phone calls, another mid-corridor conference while eyeing up classroom doors and a room was settled on, and voila! again, the students turned up. With textbooks too!

The manager actually apologized at the end of the class!

All in all, I think I like having Thursday on Tuesday. The afternoon was less rushed without the kindy transfer, although of course if Tuesday was really Thursday, I suppose I would do it that day anyway... well, only four more OIT classes until spring break, and a chance for me to get this house decluttered!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Fun Fun Friday

Lena said we must for sure play a board game tonight, as it's Fun Fun Friday, but so far she's too swamped in Disney shows and seems to have forgotten. It's 7:32pm and they are just eating their instant curry dinners. I seem to sway on Friday between giving them take aways or instant food, or going all out and cooking something really fantastic.

But it's always family night on Friday night, sometimes we watch a movie, or play games, or just eat a long leisurely dinner at the table. Now that the kids are older, they really LOVE that, and love to sit and talk with us. Unlike most other nights of the week, on Friday we are all home. Except tonight, Kanji went to the kodomo-kai meeting (meeting of parents of kids who live close and walk to school together). I sent him off with a kiss and a sincere thank you - it's normally the Mum who does stuff like this.

Tonight's plan is to make peppermint chocolates and a "Pin the carrot on the snowman" game for a party tomorrow. Amy has been set with the job of designing the snowman. I am right now trying to persuade her to just let Erica draw whatever she wants, and we'll use what works and discard what doesn't. If I can tear Lena away from the TV for long enough, I'll set her to work on the carrots and twigs. And I will search for a peppermint bark recipe that suits what I have already bought (ten blocks of Ghana) and crushed (twenty or so mini-candy canes, crushed to powder, I rock!!)

And that's our Friday. Other projects on the Go include a colour Journal, music blog post for AFWJ, and trying to get all my iphone photos onto a USB stick so I can finally take them off the phone without fearing I will lose them all, after which I will finally be able to see if the phone sound works, after which I will finally be able to take the phone to the shop and get them to fix it.

Birthday party tomorrow, and fondue party on Sunday! Happy Weekend everybody!