Feb 23, 2013

Grandma R

I was reading through an old journal entry last night, a little story that should have made me smile remembering it.
However, without warning, I just broke down in tears.  I sort of felt it then, that she had left.  
My Grandma R.
I knew she was in the hospital and wasn't doing well, and that it was only a matter of time.

I went to bed shortly afterward.  I hadn't been feeling too well yesterday as it was and couldn't keep my eyes open anymore.  
When I awoke around 3am I saw the posts on Facebook.  She had indeed gone on to be with Grandpa R.

Tried falling back asleep, but my stomach was still bothering me.  Around 4:30am I decided to be productive, so I did the American thing and went to the grocery store in my pajamas.  Got my grocery shopping for the week done and was able to fall back asleep again after I got back.
Got up again around 9am, got dressed and went to my hair appointment.  Came back and did some cleaning.

I'm over 5000 miles away, and there's really nothing I can do except just go about life as normal.

I've had to say a few too many goodbyes in recent years, and they're never easy.  Although knowing it's coming makes it a little easier.  When my Grandma O died last year, it was quite sudden, and I regretted not having gone back home for Christmas that year because I would've been able to see her one last time.

But Grandma R, I'm glad I got to see you when I did, so I have that last good memory of you. I know you're happy now with Grandpa, but I sure will miss you.

A picture of them together, as they should be.

Feb 15, 2013

Valentine's Day

While I didn't do anything for Valentine's Day last year, this year I decided to go all out and make some chocolates.
Around the end of January/ beginning of February, stores start setting up their Valentine's Day displays- tons and tons of super nice boxes of chocolates, and a plethora of supplies for those ambitious enough to make their own homemade chocolates.
Things work a little differently here; it is the women who give chocolate to the men.  Men who receive chocolate on Valentine's Day then reciprocate on March 14th, called White Day.  There is 義理チョコ (giri choco, obligatory chocolate) given to male coworkers, and then there is also 友チョコ (tomo choco, chocolate given to friends).  

I had never made chocolates before, but I had a couple of good ideas that I wanted to try out so I got some chocolate molds from the 100-yen store.  The chocolates were quite the success, thankfully!  I made a video of the process, which I will post once I've got it edited together.

Got tons of chocolates and sweets from some students and coworkers.  Have consumed most of it over the past couple days which I should not have, and am now suffering from sugar-belly.  :p

Time to do some tidying up before I head up to Ibaraki to help S move down to Yokohama.  Will be my first driving experience in Japan, thanks to the fact that I now have an international driver's permit!  Please pray that I don't go driving down the wrong side of the road.  :O  

Peanut butter cups and strawberry white chocolate hearts

Feb 2, 2013

Oni's Pants and Bean-Throwing

つよいぞ  つよいぞ
(The oni's pants are great pants
They're very strong   They're very strong)

I've had this song stuck in my head since yesterday.  Tomorrow is Setsubun, so yesterday at both the daycare and the Other Job we had a visit from oni (Japanese demon? Ogre?).

At the daycare we sang the above song with the kids while a couple of the teachers snuck out to get demon-ified.  Granted since the kids are so young the masks they wore weren't the traditional, super-horrifying ones.  They were actually just paper bags decorated with colored paper to make the face.  Quite cute actually.  Each of the kids were given a bag filled with balled-up newspaper- in lieu of the traditional roasted soybeans- to throw at the "demons".  
Very little throwing happened, but there was plenty of wailing and tears!  One of the oldest boys tried his best to stand his ground and threw all the paper balls in his bag with tears running down his face.  The others, though, took refuge with me and the other teacher not acting as a demon, while M-sensei ran around with the camera taking pictures of the kids cowering and fleeing.  There was a great one she got of Yama-kun and Miwa-chan on my lap clinging to me, mouths open with red, tear-stained faces and me with a huge grin.
Oh, the crazy traditions here.  I love it.  Traumatizing for the kids, but great fun for the adults!

Today has been an absolute lazy day.  I've hardly left my bed except to go pee or to fetch food.  No shower.  No usual weekend cleaning.  I haven't been completely unproductive though.  I did do my laundry, got a voice recording done for K and his friend who are working on a song in English, and wrote up a letter for former coworker at the Other Job who is going to court against the company.  Yeah.  Part of the reason I haven't been blogging much the past month.  Just so much BS with that place and I feel like that's all I would really have to write about.  Nothing much else exciting going on.  
Silly internet things have been quite therapeutic, helping ease the work frustrations.  I've always been a fan of Youtube videos (as S and J can attest to!), but .GIFs are awesome too.

Beautiful girls gone... MRRGHFFL!

How I feel sometimes after work
And that's all for now.  Got cornbread in the toaster oven that needs sampling to see if it's suitable for the chili I plan on making tomorrow.  Should probably do a bit of straightening up and studying before bed too.
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