Big old bloggy purge!

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So I had originally planned on writing a post last Sunday about what a saint my husband is because he took Sara out on an errand he had for 3 whole hours in the afternoon leaving me alone at home to do as I pleased. His errand was actually a meeting of sorts with one of his Yahoo Auction “friends” (Grr), but he knew I wouldn’t be pleased about him taking a precious few hours of the weekend out to go off and do something I not only didn’t necessarily approve of, but to also leave me with our daughter who I look after 24/7 6 days a week would have probably pushed me over the edge, so right from the start he offered to take Sara with him. All of a sudden I was thrilled to see him go off on a Sunday afternoon.

I didn’t have any mad parties, but I did vacuum all the rooms, finally put away 3 baskets full or laundry, washed the kitchen floor, baked brownies, watched a little CSI and some other random stuff that I can’t normally do with Sara around. Akinori met his friend at this awesome 50’s style hamburger joint near the interchange and actually came home with an avocado/gorgonzola burger and fries for me. This put him in my good books for awhile, but by the time I had finished all that cleaning and whatnot I was too tired to blog Sunday, and the rest of the week was actually super busy.

Monday I taught two belly dance classes. The one I taught in the morning was the “Mommy and me” class I teach once a month, where the leader lady is pretty much taking advantage of me, and the leader lady wasn’t even there this time! Two new ladies to the class were there though, and I’m sure they were surprised when they showed up expecting an English conversation class and getting a belly dance lesson instead. That class is a total joke, but they pay me so I’m not going to complain.

The Monday night lesson was at the dance studio. I really like the students in that class, but the owners can bite me! They pulled me aside afterward and said they had a meeting with their accountant and he said that paying me 40% of the lesson fee was too much, and would I accept 30%? I’d like to meet that bastard accountant! I really don’t know where they even find the nerve within themselves to ask me if I will work for such a pittance. It is truly an insult. They said that if there were lots of students, paying me 40% wouldn’t be so difficult for them, and I told them that if there were lots of students I wouldn’t need 40%, 30% would suffice, but until there are at least 10 students, I can’t accept anything less than 40%. They said they’d like to have 20 students between the 2 classes I teach. That’s just dandy. Let me know when they sign up. Too tired after all that to blog on Monday.

Tuesday our little playgroup went out to lunch at this awesome place. It was a karaoke box (is that what they’re called in English?), now turned into a restaurant. Each individual room still has the karaoke machine, but they also have slides and toys and stuff for little kids to play on and keep themselves occupied with while the adults eat their meals, and they also have a great kids menu – perfect portions, yummy food. It was great! Don’t have to worry about disturbing other customers. Don’t have to worry about keeping your kid occupied while you try to eat. What a fabulous idea! The weather was absolute crap though all day and all night.

That night I taught another belly dance class. One of my students, an American girl on the JET program told me that she was actually interested in teaching the dance studio’s son English in exchange for ballroom dance lessons, so after our lesson I took her over to the studio to meet the weirdo couple and their son. I told the weirdo couple the night before about my student and they asked me to bring her by, which is why I did, and then the father tells us that they actually found a teacher for the son a few weeks ago, and the son is happy with that teacher. WTF?! Why didn’t he tell me that the night before?! The wife actually got really angry and told him that he was totally rude for not telling me sooner and for wasting all of our time. So then after 40 minutes of his endless, nonsensical, blah blah blah he finally says that he would like my student to teach HIM English, and he’ll teach her dance in exchange. Why the fuck couldn’t he just tell me that the night before? And why couldn’t he spit that out the first 10 minutes we were sitting there instead of taking an hour of our time to finally get to the point? I swear he is a senile bastard. Anyway, that whole exchange left me way too tired to blog Tuesday night.

Wednesday I had another belly dance class at the studio. Instead of putting Sara in daycare though, my SIL offered to take her for the afternoon. Sweet! She even picked her up and dropped her off AND fed her lunch. Seriously the best daycare service ever! And free! The senile old bastard at the dance studio managed to piss me off yet again though. I asked him if there was somewhere I could park my car during the Wednesday lesson since paying for daycare and parking was leaving me way in the red for the Wednesday classes. He told me to park in front of his car. I get to the studio at 12:40 for the 1:00 lesson. His car isn’t there yet. If I park first, he’ll have to park behind me blocking me in, so I drive around the block TWICE. Still not there and it’s 12:50. I give up and use the paid parking lot next door. Studio is locked of course because the senile bastard has yet to arrive. He finally walks in at 1:00 exactly. He has a phone and he has my number. Why in the hell didn’t he call me to tell me he’d be late? At least the lesson went well.

SIL brought Sara back around 4 and she and her 2 kids hung around for an or so, which was really fun since I hadn’t seen them in ages. I threw dinner together in about half an hour that night and was thinking about how that was proof that my domestic skills have drastically improved recently and was going to blog about that on Wednesday night. So I get on the computer and remember that I have to take care of some banking. So I log onto our savings account (it’s our savings account now, but it was MY savings account before we were married, there is still only 1 ATM card, and it sits in my wallet). I’m looking at the balance and something is terribly wrong. There is no way there should be such a small amount in the account. I look at all the transactions, and a few weeks earlier 500,000 yen was withdrawn. I start freaking out because I know I didn’t take that money out. I call Akinori into the room all in a panic because someone has stolen 500,000 yen from our account and I can’t figure out how and with this much time passed how will we ever find who did it and we have to call the police and and and, Akinori takes my hands and starts to kneel. This is not a good sign at all.

He gives me this whole sob story about how someone he sold something to 2 years ago has come back claiming that the item was fake and he wanted his money back. Akinori promised him that it was original and that if he didn’t believe him, he would buy it back from him at any time. So the guy had been having a fit about it and it looked like he was getting ready to take some drastic measures and Akinori knew I wouldn’t lend him the money so one morning before work he took the ATM card out of my wallet and withdrew the money from the 7-11 down the street and came back and put the card back in my wallet, and has just been praying ever since that I wouldn’t check the account until he was able to put the money back in, which will supposedly be this Monday. We’ll see about that. Remember the 470,000 yen from January? Yeah well I just FINALLY got that back Tuesday, and the sneaky bastard said “give me the ATM card, I’ll put it in the bank since I have to go anyway and pull the money out of my account” so that I wouldn’t see the balance for myself. I asked him for the statement receipt when he got back because he ALWAYS comes back with one, and of course this time he conveniently forgot. It all started to make sense. Needless to say Akinori is out of the good books and into the you’ll-be-lucky-if-you-come-home-tomorrow-and-the-locks-aren’t-changed books. I was devastated, and cried through all of his excuses and explanations. I can’t believe he would steal from our account! He keeps correcting me and telling me that he borrowed the money, not stole it. But until I get that money back, it was stolen. Bastard’s lucky I don’t call the cops on him! Too exhausted from that whole experience to blog Wednesday night.

Thursday was awesome! It was the one day this week I didn’t have a belly dance class to teach, and though I love belly dance, too much of a good thing can get a little tiring. My friend H came up from Matsumoto and although we’ve hung out many, many times, it’s always been in a group of people, and I always thought, “You know I would really like to just hang out with H one-on-one. I think we would have a good time together and LOTS to talk about.” And of course I was right. LOTS to talk about, GREAT time! We started out at our house, which was good because when we went out for lunch Sara gave us both a great workout by making us chase her all over the restaurant. Not conducive to great, continuous conversation, but we managed.

After we took H to the bus stop Sara and I went shopping for some household stuff and then I had this fantastic idea. I would take Sara to a pet shop so she could see the dogs, since she seems to like them so much. I’m not sure what came over me or why I thought this was a fantastic idea, but we went to one of the few pet shops I know of around here. It is probably the stinkiest too, and the smell was stuck in my hair and clothes well after we got home. Ugh. But Sara seemed to enjoy looking at the dogs and cats and properly “wan wan” ed at the dogs and “nyah” ed at the cats. I was very proud of her for being able to make the distinction. She definitely did not want to leave though, which is when I realized my fantastic idea was really a disaster waiting to happen. Luckily my daughter only nuts out for a minute or two before becoming distracted by something else. When we got home I once again threw dinner together in 3o minutes. Getting good at that! Not in the mood to blog though as I had to think about what I was going to do for the belly dance lesson I had today.

This morning I taught a one-off lesson sponsored by the city as “refreshment time for moms”. The jidokan we go to offers these courses for moms once in awhile, along with babysitting services while the moms are “refreshing” themselves for an hour. They asked me awhile back if I would be interested in teaching one someday, and I said sure. So we set a date and it was this morning. I thought I had told them 10 people would be the ideal maximum, but somehow that turned into 20 and they were still turning people away.

It was a GREAT class though! Didn’t get much done, but all the ladies seemed to really enjoy themselves, and they were all gung-ho about coming to one of my other classes and at the end the jidokan staff member asked if they would be interested in another belly dance “refreshment” class and they all raised their hands. Very satisfying! And they paid me 5000 yen! That’s way more than the tight-ass couple at the dance studio pay me for an 80-minute class! And they validated my parking for 5 hours!! And I got free babysitting for an hour!!! That was definitely an excellent deal!

At the very end, when only a handful of the ladies were left, two of them asked if I ever performed anywhere as they would like to see what a full on choreography looked like, so I put the music back on and did a short choreography for them. One of the other remaining ladies started crying because she said she was so moved. I thought that was a little overboard, but I was still flattered. The woman and I were actually in the same maternity yoga class when I first moved to Nagano and she seemed a little emotionally unbalanced then too. But maybe I can use her reaction in my promotional flyers and stuff, “Brenda has been known to move people to tears with her beautiful performances.” Sounds good, eh?

There were lots of familiar faces there though, so hopefully today’s class will have served as an icebreaker for the next time I see the same moms at the jidokan, and they will come up and chat with me and maybe I can make some lovely new friends!

After the jidokan I took Sara for her measles and mumps vaccination. Lots of fun that was. She started to get whiny when I was pulling off her sweater and shirt in the inner waiting room and the full on waterworks started as soon as we sat down in front of the doctor. The crying lasted until we walked out the door. It was a gorgeous day though so I decided that it would be a waste to just go to the grocery store and go back home so in another stroke of genius I decided we should visit the free zoo that’s kind of behind our house.

That was fun. We were there for the sea lions feeding time, but unfortunately Sara was more interested in collecting rocks. It was a good way to enjoy the nice weather though, and certainly more fun than grocery shopping! Sara “wan wan” ed at the sea lions and miniature horse, and “nyah”ed at the monkeys, so yeah, I think she’s got all of the appropriate animal sounds worked out.

I was exhausted after everything today too, but I figured if I didn’t start getting some of this out here. words were going to start pouring out of my ears as I have rewritten this blog so many times in my head this week!

One more piece of news. My Osaka trip has been confirmed for next weekend! Yeah! Unfortunately the friend I was hoping to stay with is going to be out of town the 1st two nights I’m going to be there, but I’m sure I can find somewhere else without a problem. I can always stay in my old apartment with my crazy friends who live there now, but their living arrangement really tends to be quite crazy and I don’t know if I want to subject my 15-month old daughter to that just yet. I stayed there last year when Sara was 3 months old and totally regretted it, and ended up getting really sick and going home sooner than planned.

I am really looking forward to visiting Osaka though. Not so looking forward to the 4 hour train ride with Sara, but I’m sure we’ll manage somehow. Not so looking forward to the project that I am going to Osaka for in the first place either. I had a glimpse at it yesterday and it is really super convoluted. Hopefully this meeting will shed some light on the process, and of course the money I will earn is always welcome.

Alrighty, well now that I’ve gotten everything there could possibly be clinging to me off my chest, it is time for bed! Night all!

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About Brenda in Nagano

Originally from Chicago, I knew I was destined to spend the rest of my life in Japan the moment I set foot in the country at the tender age of 16. However, I was quite intent on spending that rest of my life in a major city with a full on career, until my Japanese Prince Charming came trotting down from the mountains of Nagano to sweep me off my feet and whisk me away, turning my whole life plan on its head. Two months after moving to Nagano I gave birth to our little Princess Charming, so now I am officially a SAHM and teach a little belly dance on the side.

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