Thursday, July 29, 2010

My daughter has arrived in Tokyo for her summer vacation. In truth, I do not know how much “vacation” it is, as she seems to find nothing here amusing!

Perhaps it is her age (just turned 12), or her general personality – but she finds none of the charm in Tokyo that I do. For her, it is too hot, too crowded, too far to walk, too boring, too bright, too expensive, too…too!

I have already received the lecture from her that I should move back to the States. I know she misses her friends in Bellingham WA, as do I, but it is difficult to get across to her that I like this foreign country, I am better employed here, and feel all manner of electronic means are great for staying in contact with friends? On her side, she hates sending emails, IM chats, or even the phone – so if she cannot “see” her friends, she dislikes the effort.

Regardless of her complaining – I think she has had SOME fun. She went to Kidzania Tokyo recently. If you are not familiar with Kidzania, it was a company started in Monterrey Mexico. Basically it is an employment city, built to kid size. Children up to age 15 can enter Kidzania and try working at various kid-sized jobs; dentist, designer, pizza maker, etc. They learn background information about the job, and then get to perform some easy tasks related to the job. They also get PAID in Kidzania money – which they can use in the gift shop before they leave. My daughter tried jobs of: scientist, dentist, fashion designer, ice cream shop worker, and Coca Cola bottler. She said she actually got to make a soda!

We have also eaten at the restaurant she enjoys best here: Saizeriya. Decent, inexpensive Italian style food. You really cannot go wrong with spaghetti and meat sauce. We went to a friend’s home for Korean BBQ – food was great AND they had a small cake for her birthday.

Some nights we go outside and light sparklers. Other nights she treks along with me to a private English lesson. My students seem amazed that she is only 12 as she could pass for Japanese age 15!

This coming weekend, we will go to Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea. She seems more excited about the hotel stay with big bathtub and soft bed – than the rides and amusements. Truthfully, I am pretty eager for the big relaxing bath myself!

Future plans for her visit include trips to a Science Museum and Shinagawa Aquarium – she loves penguins. She has also requested shopping for M.A.C cosmetics. Just what all 12 year olds need – expensive make-up! (I grumble because I am willing to pay the money for M.A.C for her…but always feel guilty spending that much money on myself. No, no – Maybelline is fine for me!)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bakery Items

One of my friends and I refer to some relationship ingredients in bakery terms. Her live-in boyfriend is her "cake" and her extra curricular boys are "cupcakes." (See, the "open" relationship thing...have your cake and eat it too? Bwa ha ha!)

Sex is "cookies." Get cookies, bake cookies, want the cookies. (You can see how far this could go....tasty cream filling, warm and chewy, want chocolate or lemon?)

For me, I am not in a live-in situation, or even a "steady beau" situation....but I suppose I might consider that I do have a regular bakery I go to for cookies.

I wonder though - would it make since to still visit other bakeries and try the cookies? Maybe I am not a VIP customer at the first bakery? Or maybe the cookies aren't the best? (For the record - the cookies are quite tasty...they are Chinese Fortune Cookies, baby! Crisp and fresh, always with a favorable fortune inside!....I'm just sayin' that there are other bakeries near by...) Or maybe even, by eating other cookies - I will not get addicted to the cookies at the first bakery. Bakeries hate it when you're needy! (And you know the rumor about Chinese food - eat, then an hour later, you are hungry again!)

Of course, the truly odd snack time was when I WAS at another bakery for cookies, but kept emailing the first bakery while shopping.

The end note is - there are a lot of open bakeries here in Japan! When I lived in the USA, I rarely saw such available baked goods!

If you want something done... it yourself.

The summer vacation is upon us, and my daughter is to visit me here in Tokyo. The problem is...each day is one less day of her summer break, and she is not here yet.

Going back a few steps in this tale - let me state - that on a good day, I merely feel a sense of abject apathy towards the D.O.L (Dark Over Lord AKA Baby-Daddy AKA Ex-husband). On a blissful day, I can almost forget his existence. But on any day in which I must actually interact with him, my capacity to feel hatred and disgust shocks me!

A brief overview of our relationship: girl meets boy, boy is an "undocumented alien" in the USA, girl and boy date, girl falls in love, boy and girl get married, boy informs girl (on wedding night!) he only married her to get a Green Card, girl spends next 2.5 years trying to "make" boy love her, girl then spends next .5 year seething and plotting her exit, girl dumps boy.

There are side tales of boys verbally abusive nature, overly traditional view of how women should behave, his demand for ironed t-shirts, his insistence upon tortillas at E-V-E-R-Y S-I-N-G-L-E meal! But that is not important for now...

My real irritation at this point is with myself. I should have remembered that he procrastinates doing anything that might be convenient for me. I should remember that he seems not to understand how frickin' internet searches work. Or airline reservations. Or that the closer it gets to your desire "leave" date, the more expensive tickets are....

The problem results because I do not have a credit card. I am in Japan - and have not applied for a card here. All my USA accounts are closed. I thought (foolishly) that I could send the DOL the actual cash money for the price of half the ticket - he could have bought ticket on his credit card - and used the money I sent to immediately pay down half the balance.

He would not actually buy the ticket until he got the money...okay, fine. But then he got the money. Then, he was too busy to call - apparently not realizing ticket reservation numbers are open 24/7! Then he spent the money on something else. But said will still buy the ticket. After all this jacking around - the desired leave date is approaching (has past!) and the ticket price has gone up by $300.

But even though he is the one procrastinating, guess who he thinks should pay the extra $300? And he wants the money BEFORE he buys the ticket. Which means more time passing and possibly higher price ticket...

Obviously, the solution to this fiasco for future situations is that once I obtain my credit card through my bank here in Tokyo - I buy the entire ticket myself - and then I set the leave/return dates.

Anyway...she should arrive on July 11th. Or that is the leave date he SAID he will arrange. This all remains to be seen.

As for exciting summer plans for my daughter - we will probably spend a 3-day mini-holiday at Tokyo Disney Sea/Land, a lot of Daiso shopping (as she loves that store!), and perhaps one week-end in Seoul Korea (her request for out of town trip).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Every job is prostitution

In my years, I have worked many jobs...many companies, many fields. Sometimes I would work one full-time job in the day - with a part-time at night, and a spare on the week-end. I have woken early, stayed up late, slept in the cafeteria, and had uniforms stashed in various cabinets.

In my time, I have worked as/in:

Food service: fast food, casual dining, fine dining, server, greeter, bar assistant, trainer, kitchen manager, prep work

Recreation: parks assistant with clean up and activity planning, lifeguard, camp counselor

Retail: beauty supplies, jewelry, clothing, sales, stocking, merchandising

Salon: reception and product sales

Customer Service: call center, customer satisfaction surveys and focus groups, contract negotiation

Banking and Financial Services: consumer banking, teller, retail loans, real estate lending, deposits, private banking, business banking, mortgage collections, investments, mutual fund sales, portfolio advisement, assistant manager, vault inventory

Music: radio DJ, sound engineer (live and studio), artist promotion, music promotion, event planning

Education: private kindergarten, preschool, high school, private lessons, teaching assistant, teacher

Adult: phone sex operator, gentleman's club cocktail waitress, escort appointments, and actual escort

So....maybe it is my overly expansive experience ("I'm a mercenary for experience." Diane Sawyer) - but it irks me to listen to some early 20s whiner girl, who in all likelihood had her university education paid for by mommy and daddy, and has happy happy holidays, whine because "one time, when I worked in a bar, a guy tried to touch me!" or "I walked in on another waitress giving head to a customer." On my friggin' G-d! Grow up!

This coming from the same girls, who proudly proclaim they know how to flirt to get guys in "regular" bars to buy them drinks, or take them for dinner, or pay their nightclub cover.

I have found that every money making job entails some sale of a part of yourself for the pay. Every job requires some kissing of the ass. The problem is - whose ass? and when has it been kissed enough? I appreciate the job where, to put it bluntly, you know what to touch and you know when you have touched it enough to get your money! Sure...your hand is left sticky - but it's nothing a hot shower won't take care of.

Just plain pissed off!

Generally I am a very laid-back individual. Nothing bothers me. It all rolls like water off a ducks back...things that irritate others, nothing. Things that anger others, nah.

I don't like wasting my time with being stressed, irritated, angry, or even to sit around blabbing about "can you believe he/she it bla bla bla?"

But I admit that once every four months, every single flippin' thing pisses me off!!

This being the time, here are some events that grate on my nerves:

the cat constantly being under my feet.
the AC not being as cold as I want. Is it wrong to want 17 degrees Celsius?
the rainy season - cause I friggin' hate carrying umbrellas
the humidity. cause my greasy ass hair can't make it an hour before it falls flat.
overly late trains. cause then I have to wait on a crowded platform between other sweaty cranky people...
the coworker who is some friggin' gaijin who can't bother learning the Japanese language even though she/he has lived her for over a decade - so she/he speaks super slow English to her/his Japanese coworkers - in this condescending tone - like it's their fault for not knowing English
the same coworker who had no work experience prior to moving here, but talks all big like she/he is some G-D expert on her/his position, when any other woman knows she/he isn't

and recently, and while I try not to complain about the train commute...

these friggin' guys who position their body to take up two peoples spots even though we are all crammed in like sardines and then, even though I am not touching them in their precious personal space bubble, they need to constantly fidget so their body parts are constantly pushing against me...and even as I inch (or centimeter) away, they angle out even more to continue the pushing.

these people will rue the day I know more Japanese...'cause while I am not going to say anything in English...once I know the language, I am going to hiss through my teeth something along the lines of "What in the f**k is your problem?! Back it up before I kendo your ass!"