Tuesday, April 15, 2008

nova's nishio, short film

If your internet speed is less than lightning fast, you'll want to let it buffer through once and then pull back the little tacker button thingy to the beginning.

Jenglish Dictionary

Our family has always crafted our own language, being here has inspired us with all kinds of new word combinations. Here are a few that might come up in later posts and are staples in our daily de-briefs.

JapAffirmation - a warm- fuzzy thought or feeling toward living in Japan.
Example: "I'm having a good Japan day today!"

J-Ball - stemming from the word 'odd-ball' and used to describe a moment in which wires of communication are completely crossed.
Example: My favorite are when I have proudly managed to put together a sentence in Japanese and in response I get a quizzical head tilt and a polite "nani?", which means "what?".

J-Rage - an extreme reaction to a particularly frustrating J-Ball incident.
Example: see the blog post entitled 'BEHOLD....'

JapOpposites- Newton's eastern equivalent to his law of opposites; for every Western stereotype of Japan there exists an equal and sometimes quite surprising opposite.
Example: see JapOpposites featured in blog posts to come.

"Gaijin Alert!" - calling attention to the presence of another westerner in the vicinity.
Example: At the grocery store Nova spots a white face in the crowd and alerts us with, "Gaijin Alert, Gaijin Alert! Mom, there's a white person here!" 1.5% of Japan's population are foreigners and that includes other Asians.

Gaijinators- our general term for a native English speaker.



Bunta The Destroyer

Women and children weep in his presence. No mortal man can tame him. The Village's only hope?

The amazing calm-assertive, Pack Leader powers of one small child.

This blog post is serving as catharsis for the bad day I had today. Shawn was told at the Bureau of Education office that there have been complaints that Bunta is a "wild animal" and is "scaring people". Bunta is about my only hobby here. I try very hard to be an uber-PC dog owner. I try very hard to remember that Japanese dog culture is different. These complaints spurred something in me I like to call, "J-Rage"; a nasty little side effect of culture shock which just when you think it's subsided, rises like a bile in your subconsious and slowly drives you MAD! It stems from not being able to have a proper conversation about such matters of importance. Sometimes we simply can't explain with our meager Japanese and the phrase book. Deep cleansing breath.....

Ok, now I feel better. :)

PS: A neighbor in Nishio emailed me about this post. She wanted me to know that she sees how hard I'm trying to be a responsible dog owner and that sometimes she too feels frustrated with communication here.....and she's Japanese! It was nice to get her feedback and some perspective that there are aspects of small town life that are the same wherever you are in the world.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What's New?

The adult English class now starts with the question, "What's new?" This is a chance for me to hear what the ladies have been up to and for them to practice easy English sentences. I love the way they hem and haw trying to think of something from the past week and then inevitably come up with something great and entertaining to share.

I can't guarantee you'll find the following great or entertaining, but here's my family's "What's new" for the weekend.
Saturday, Nova and I joined other villagers for tulip bulb planting along Nishiokoppe's main strip. I love that city beautification is open to everyone. There's a lot of pride in this tiny community and it shows.I like seeing more traditional Japanese ensembles such as this woman's gardening outfit. There is a mix of old and new here in many things. In the city I've seen women walking around in traditional kimonos. It takes me back to my childhood Holly Hobby sheets and pillowcases. You children of the 80's will know what I'm talking about. :) Sunday; visited a new beach outside Monbetsu.
Took this cute photo of Nova and Shawn having a love attack.
Went to the Ramen House. And for the millionth time.....YES WE KNOW HOW TO USE CHOPSTICKS!
JapOpposite at the video store. The Japanese, ultra conservative in many ways. Yet, porn in public places..... No one seems to mind that in the video store at the end of one aisle the XXX are displayed nonchalantly with the action and even the children's videos. What gives? Same with bookstores, convenience stores, and the Sunday paper. Classic JapOppopsite if ya ask me and just another weekend in Hokkaido for the fam. Until next time.... Ja ne!