Monthly Archives: May 2010

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Born to be a star?

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The weather has been beautiful lately, and I am almost finished with the monster project, so I’ve been doing my best to get us out of the house during the day as much as possible. It helps Sara (and me, not that I need it) sleep so much better when she has a good run around outside too.

Today, we went to the conbini to get some snacks, and then off to the park behind our house. Sara was asleep in the stroller about 3 seconds after getting in, which meant I was able to have a nice quiet lunch in the park. And quiet it was, there were almost no other kids there. When Sara woke up she had a good run around, few trips down the slide, run through the grass, then she got to the stairs. Those bloody stairs, followed by her bloody knees, but I digress. Up and down, up and down, up and down, until I get sick of it, because she never, ever, ever will, no matter how much blood is dripping off of her. So I pick her up screaming bloody murder and decide it is time to coax her back onto the playground equipment.

As we’re walking back down towards the playground, I notice lots of men in construction worker garb walking around with toolboxes, and think “This is an odd sight, but where have I seen this before?” And then it dawned on me “はじめてのおつかい” (First Errand) a program shown on TV usually around the New Year’s and O-bon holidays, where really young kids are sent on their first errand all alone, or with a younger sibling. Anyway, when I looked around, sure enough there were two little girls in the middle of all those “construction workers”.

As I was cleaning off Sara’s knees the two girls started to play in the fountain in the park. It’s only about 15-20cm deep, but the girls were running around having a blast, and slowly started taking off pieces of their clothing one by one, until one of the girls was buck-naked. It was then that a staff member stepped in. We were too far away to hear what she said, but I had a good laugh watching.

There is another kind of fountain in the park where you rotate a handle that kind of looks like the steering wheel on a boat, and water comes out. Sara is totally into playing with water at the moment (along with climbing stairs), so when the two sisters were playing with the water, Sara was right in there playing with them. I doubt we will be on TV though because I would expect that in that situation we would have to sign some sort of release, and I’m sure they have plenty of other footage to throw in the 30 minute segment, considering they were probably filming for a good 3 or 4 hours. But who knows, we may be in the background somewhere, so next time the show is on, probably during O-bon? look for the 2 sisters from Nagano-shi, and maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of my little star too! (She’ll be the one in the white t-shirt and pink shorts with the gaijin mother following her around saying “dame yo”)

Oops in a good way

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So you know how I said my big project is ending early minus 50,000. Well it seems I didn’t read the e-mail well enough, and only some of the files have been already taken care of by their in-house staff. So the project is still going on until next Friday, and I’ve only lost 20,000 yen. A much easier sum to part with, although I guess it’s not really parting with it since it’s not like I actually received it in the first place. Unfortunately, I sent off an e-mail to the company last night at some ungodly hour confirming that the project was finished early and got a reply this morning saying “no, only some files have been done, and xx files still remain. Continue to stick with the schedule please.” Oops. I was so completely embarrassed. I’m sure they think I am a totally incompetent ass and will never ask me to work for them again. Ah well, it was good while it lasted.

Then I got a phone call from a number I totally didn’t recognize this morning in Osaka. I thought it was the tax office asking me where that last 70,000 yen I owe them for health insurance is, but it wasn’t. It was the president of a company I used to do voice recording and textbook editing for something like 10 years ago. Can you imagine what they were thinking when they called? “We are totally desperate! Do you think that one foreigner chick is still around? Who knows? Might as well give the number a try.” Anyway, I guess some voice recordings are coming up for a client I recorded for before and they have to submit 3 male and 3 female voice candidates, and they asked if I could send in a recording of my voice by tomorrow morning via e-mail. Sure, I replied, I can do that, but I moved to Nagano prefecture two years ago, so I don’t know how much use I am to you here.

Get this, they would pay for my transportation to and from Osaka, and for a hotel for the night before recording AND for any daycare fees I might incur either here in Nagano or in Osaka if I want to bring Sara with me. AND the job pays 60,000 yen on top of that AND it would be on two separate dates sometime between the end of July and beginning of September AND they will work with my schedule if the dates they propose don’t work for me. Hello?? What’s the punchline because you have got to be kidding me that there are actually gigs out there with perks that sweet in this economy, not to mention that they would be willing to put out all that money to bring me from Nagano, when there are more than enough foreigners roaming the streets of Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe. Wow! Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed that they pick me.

Sometimes things just seem to fall into place. Oh happy day!

Happy birthday to me!!

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Today was my 35th birthday. That looks so weird in writing. 34 doesn’t seem nearly as old as 35. Hell I don’t even feel 30. I still feel about 25 or so. I actually got nervous enough about being 35 today to look up “middle age” because I wanted to make sure I’m not yet, and at least Wikipedia still thinks I’m not (even though according to the US Census Bureau I am – screw the US Census Bureau BTW).

Anyway, it was actually a rather lovely day. I started getting happy birthday messages on my Facebook account last night, and all through the day my phone has been ringing with happy birthday calls, and texts. I woke up to a slight toilet malfunction though, when I went downstairs to use it and what Akinori had left earlier in the morning, was still there waiting for me. My first thought was “What a shitty birthday present”. Ah, I kill me! Akinori, however, just about died of embarrassment when I told him what I found this morning. I don’t see what the big deal is, though I probably wouldn’t want him to find my bodily waste lying around either, but shit happens. (Am I on a roll or what? BTW, it’s my birthday – you have to say I’m funny.)

Sara was actually quite well-behaved for me today and went down for a nap this morning in about 2 minutes, without any fuss. So I took that opportunity to take a shower. My mom, then my dad, then both of them called while I was in the shower, singing “happy birthday” into the answering machine. It was very cute. They made sure to call right around noon too, which is when I was born. Kind of sweet, I thought. I called back and my mom then had to relate the story of my birth, as she does every year. Having my own daughter, I now realize she does this more for her benefit than mine. She is thinking about what she was doing XX years ago today at this time. At least this year she left out the “…and then you RIPPED me open” line. Talk about a guilt trip.

Sara woke up and I decided to take advantage of the absolutely gorgeous weather Mother Nature, my new best friend, sent for my birthday. So we headed to the local jidokan for a bit of playtime, stopping off at a lovely little cafe for lunch first.
After Sara charmed the counter staff with all of her waving bye-bye, while bowing her head in proper “domo” fashion, we headed to the jidokan where Sara had a grand time running amok and screaming and laughing. I need to take more videos of her because she is seriously one funny character. I know she’s my kid and all, but I really enjoy hanging out with her, a good thing I guess, considering she is my kid and all.
After the jidokan, I decided I had to stop by Starbucks because my lovely, lovely friend H sent me a Starbucks gift card in the mail since she couldn’t take me to coffee in person. Is that not the sweetest thing ever? I actually teared up when I read the card I was so touched. Although I really would have loved to have coffee with her in person, I thoroughly enjoyed my Grande-sized Dark Mocha Chip Frappuccino (or something with a similar name) and every single frothy calorie infused into it. You can’t beat chocolate and whipped cream.

Sara was asleep by the time we got home and Grey’s Anatomy was just about to start. Perfectly perfect! Sara then woke up half way through and turned off the Sky Perfect box, as she does lately, at a really good part. That is perhaps her most annoying habit yet. I can deal with her turning off the Sky Perfect, but she always does it at the good parts. What is that? Anyway, I also got an e-mail from the company I am working on a monster job for telling me that the current volume I am working on will be the last, and that the last two volumes were needed in a hurry by the client so that had to get them done by someone in-house right away. I am a little torn about whether I am happy or sad about this. I think more sad because that was just over 50,000 yen pulled out from under me, and I really, really could have used that money. I am a little relieved though because that means I’ll be finished with this project on Thursday, instead of next Friday, and I have been dying to be finished with this project. I miss not feeling guilty for using the computer for something other than work, or for playing with my daughter, or for not playing with my daughter. I just need a break from work, so it’s not all bad.

Akinori came home mid-Grey’s and wanted to work on some project he’s doing outside until it was time to take me to belly dance, which was fine, except that he’s never quite organized enough to time things just right, and we were 10 minutes later leaving the house than I wanted to be, and I was totally annoyed. The lesson went well though and I had a new student show up tonight, so that was good. The new student is a new friend as well, and she actually brought me a present to class, which was so sweet.

I forgave Akinori quickly for making me later than I wanted to be when he came to pick me up and sitting in the passenger seat was that baby blue bag that every woman loves. I know I said I didn’t want him to buy me jewelry, but really, I’m very pleased with the lovely gift he got me. Plus, I’m not exactly sure how much this cost, but I know it’s one of the less expensive items Tiffany has to offer. If he had to spend money on jewelry I’m glad it was on something tasteful but not too expensive. The first and second birthdays I had while we were together, he sent me 100 white roses because he was in Nagano and I was in Osaka. I LOVED receiving them, and I am grateful that I can say I have received a bouquet of 100 roses in my life, twice in fact, but twice is enough, two more times than most people I think, so I’m a lucky girl. But really 100 roses is pure, unadulterated luxury, something we can totally not afford and a totally impractical gift. How unromantic am I?

We’re going out for a proper birthday dinner tomorrow night, so tonight we just stopped by the conbini as we usually do on Tuesday nights after I teach. Akinori and Sara had eaten earlier, so after I finished dinner, Akinori said he was going to get Sara’s bath ready, and came back a few minutes later with this.
My husband did good.

All in all a very happy birthday. Here’s to at least 35 more!