Monday, February 29, 2016

Random Thoughts 0229

First, omg! It's a leap year! Four years ago, I don't think I was in a state of mind that would allow me to think about it.

It's uru-u doshi うるう年, in Japanese for anyone who is interested...

Now, for the main reason for this post.

I have a "coworker" who is slowly working my last nerve. She's actually a temp worker and in her 40s, I think. She's kind of chubby, which is not something that should matter, but will as I go on.

I'm just going to make a list. 

Ugh...this sounds so mean. Maybe some of this is revenge for the amount of pestering I did of Chinese friends in middle school to teach me Chinese...

- Touching my ass without permission.
   I just...am not a "touch" person and I'm really not a "pat someone's ass" person...

- Randomly saying stuff to me in English with that dumb, fucking "American" accent.
  It's just random words at random times. Instead of a 'welcome back,' I get a "come back." I am sure it's her way of trying to get to know me, or maybe she wants to be nice, but I feel like there's a line and she's dancing on it.

- Talks about weight; passes out sweets.
   I love sweets and I also know I need to lose weight. That's why I do stuff that doesn't involve talking about my weight and eating sweets. Maybe she's not interested in losing weight. I don't know. I'm interested in what people do to lose weight and I love to hear their tips. At the same time...I don't want to spend a bunch of time talking about weight.

- Suddenly gave me clothing...that was too big...then seemed disappointed when I didn't wear it immediately.
  This kind of feeds in to another issue I have with some women here, which is that they constantly tag me as being larger than I actually am. She wears a large and gave me two sweaters. I tried them on at home and decided to buy an undershirt to wear with them. I mean, one has a large opening at the neck and if I bend over, anyone would get a full view. When I wore a similar sweater soon after receiving hers, she fiddled with mine and seemed sad? pissed? that I wasn't wearing her sweater. So. Much. Pressure.

- Peeking into my lunch bag as soon as I get to work.
  Like. What are you expecting to find? A bag full of dildos? Yes. I've got bananas and mikan in my bag. No, I don't need to "eat more" because I've got two bananas, two mikans, oatmeal, yogurt, cakes, soup and tea. Plus, fruit doesn't hit me as hard as regular food at 1:30, making me want to roll over and sleep. And stop coughing and touching my food!

/ rant

I love exercise

I love exercising. 

Last year I bought 10,000 yen worth of "introductory" tickets (12 in total) to a fitness club that one of my coworkers goes to. I mostly used the tickets to go to zumba.

The two teachers they have are fit as hell and have some great dance moves. My Wednesday zumba teacher at the prefectural gym is nice, but she just can't compare.

With me going back to the States for Xmas and just being busy, I found myself with six unused tickets at the beginning of February that were set to expire at the end of the month. 

Normally, I go home and crash after a full day of work and then an eikaiwa lesson, but I didn't want to waste that precious money, so I forced myself to find the time to use the tickets. The best part about that gym is the new equipment and the treadmills and elliptical machines with TVs! Now, I could watch my favorite programs and get my exercise on!

I also decided to try to stick mostly to fruit and yogurt for lunch. One of my eikaiwa parents gives me a bunch of food and this month I got a shit ton (for me) of mikans. The plus was a pretty painless (for me) period! Exercise plus more fruit?? 
Downside is that I didn't lose any weight.

I don't really have a huge support network here, and I get down a lot, but I feel so much better and more relaxed when I can move and exercise. This month has shown me that I really need to make more time for going to the gym.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Fuck You Japan, My Kid Couldn't Get into Preschool!!!

On February 15, an anonymous post to Hatelabo about their kid's failure to get into a preschool set Japan on fire. 

First, some background. Most prefectures in Japan are suffering from a preschool shortage. People who are planning to have a kid will probably put their names on a waiting list as soon as pregnancy is confirmed. 

Unlike the US, where we have large and small daycare centers, baby sitters, live-in nannies, and more; Japanese women typically stay home with their kid(s) until the kid can enter kindergarten or first grade. And, unlike the US, kindergarten is not included in public education. 

Japan has a multi-layered system that I find to be completely confusing. 
Instead of explaining, I will leave some links on Nintei Kodomoen, Hoikuen (daycare) and a very detailed explanation of the difference between youchien (kindergarten) and hoikuen.

Needless to say, it's a very stressful process and some places even have "exams" for the kids. I don't know if the author's kid had an exam, but she(?) did use the word "fail."

So, this is my rough translation of the original Japanese. I will try to add notes and links to sites that might better explain what she is talking about. Link to the original Japanese is my translation of the title.

Fuck You Japan, My Kid Couldn't Get into Preschool!!!*

What the fuck, Japan?!
Isn't this a 100 million-some strong active* society?!
We did a grand job of "failing*" preschool yesterday. 
What the hell, I'm not going to be "active" at all!
You tell me to have a kid, raise the kid, go work at a company, pay my taxes, so what the fuck is the problem, Japan?
Fuck this 'low-birthrate' shit.
No ones having kids 'cuz it's all fine when we birth them, but when we want to put them in preschool it's nearly impossible and you're all LULZ.
Go cheat on your spouse. Take some bribes. I don't care, just increase the number of preschools.
Spending trillions of yen on the fucking Olympics.
No one gives a shit about that emblem, just make some damn preschools!
If you have the money to pay some famous designer, you can build some preschools.
What the fuck am I supposed to do?! I have to quit work over this!
Fuck off, Japan!
If you're not going to build some preschools, give me 200,000 yen for my child allowance.
You're not going to build more preschools and you're only going to pay a few thousand yen for the child allowance, but you retards are going to be all: "We need to do something about the low birthrate," amirite?
If we don't have kids, what's supposed to happen?
There's at least 50,000 fuckers that'll have kids if you pay them, so how's about you either pay up or make all the shit we need for the kids free.
You can come up with the cash by firing at least half of parliament...cheating on their spouses, taking bribes...making fans...
Get your shit together, Japan!

Notes:
- The title of the original post was 保育園落ちた日本死ね (Hoikuen Ochita Nihon Shine). A direct translation would be more like: (My kid) failed preschool, die Japan. I'm sure others will translate it differently.
- Active: The word used was 活躍 (katsuyaku), which I linked to. I typically see it used to describe someone or something that's a go-getter. Active, positive, getting shit done.
- Fail: Some school have exams for kids, especially somewhat elite schools. Others, due to limited space, have raffles. 

I don't really have a dog in this fight. I'm not going to have kids and I don't plan on living out my days in Japan. What I liked about that post was the realness of it. It appears the author has a twitter account and with so many media outlets reporting on it, some real attention is being focused on the preschool shortage and low wages of preschool staff. It will be interesting to see how this pans out...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

It's Paczki Day, Bitches!

I wouldn't be a true upper-midwestern girl if I passed up this golden opportunity to rave about paczkis.
These Polish jelly donuts are eaten on Fat Tuesday in the midwest, right before Lent. 

New Orleans has Mardi Gras and that weirdly decorated cake with a plastic doll baked into it, and we have these delicious, fattening donuts. 



This Polish American journal gives a great explanation of the food and a recipe. There are obviously no paczki in Japan, and every year I drool over the images online.

I'm not the best person to ask about Lent, but if I remember correctly, Christians...Catholics?  are supposed to use up the last of their "extravagant" (or zeitaku in Japanese) food before Lent. During Lent, they should eat simple meals with only fish as the "meat." Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday and the paczkis are the last gorge on the good stuff before it's stashed away for a month...40 days...?

I see paczkis as nondenominational, and good for all... nom nom nom

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Rolling Through the Cold Days

Well, it's been almost two months since I was last able to access my facebook page. What a pain in the ass.

My contract has been renewed for another year, which is great. I didn't think they'd let me go, but I don't think you can ever really assume anything. And while I am grateful that I can continue to translate at a place with pretty freaking good PTO, 20 days (!), I really know that I need to get my shit together and start figuring out my next steps.

Anyone who translates Japanese into English or, has studied Japanese for some time, knows that the Japanese language loves...LOVES passive sentences with no clear subject.
If I may be so bold as to state that the English language HATES overly passive sentences.

This fight comes up over and over again with me and my coworkers.

The other day when my boss said he's looking forward to working with me another year, he added that I should keep working on my Japanese, try to understand Japan better and work on more "formal" translations. I know that most Japanese people I meet will never give someone outright praise and I also know that this guy loves literal translations, so I didn't really take his words to heart.

But I did inwardly roll my eyes.

Whenever I'm asked to write something that sounds so wrong, I die a little bit inside.