With Family: This last weekend, I went with everyone to go see Nao get her pictures taken for her coming of age ceremony. Every year in January, there is a ceremony for the people who turned 20 during the previous year. Since the ceremony is really busy, people usually take pictures beforehand. Anyway, it was a lot of standing around and oohing and ahing over Nao, who did look quite beautiful in her kimono. While she was getting her hair done, Kaori and I read a children’s book about two mice that were trying to make a giant omelet out of a giant egg they found in the forest. It took about an hour since Kaori had to explain the meaning of about every third word. After Nao was done taking pictures, we all took pictures together, which was cool, considering I had gotten out of bed 20 minutes before we left and was wearing a hat to cover my messily braided hair. Oh well.
Yesterday, I was whining that I would be lonely when Kaori had to go to work last night. I made the usual accusations of abandonment and she made the usual expressions of reassurance, until she remembered that I was going somewhere on Saturday with all the other exchange students and she wouldn’t be able to go. She made a face at me and pouted, “well, on Saturday, you’re going to James’s party with me!” In my head, I was thinking, “a) how does this show that I’m abandoning you and b) you’re not coming with me on Saturday,” so I said, “without you?” And she repeated, “On Saturday, you’re going somewhere WITH me and then I will be alone!” Then she realized her mistake, made an embarrassed little laugh and chucked her wallet at me. So I picked it up and ran.
At Home: The other night, Kaori and I were eating dinner and watching this TV program about Korean cooking. Now, I was a little bit upset when they burned a bunch of eels alive, but what really got me was when they put a little octopus in a bowl of food and covered it in sauce and then the octopus started trying to escape. That’s right, the little guy was alive. When they served the dish to the customers, the little octopods were crawling out of their bowls and one of them was even starting to boogie down the table and these people were just grabbing them with their tongs and stuffing them (ALIVE AND STILL WRIGGLING) into their mouths. On a less horrific, but equally interesting note, the program before was about a guy who could dip his bare hands into boiling hot water (so hot, a thermometer couldn’t even take a measurement) without getting burned or feeling pain. Later that night, Kaori and Akemi had the most hilarious conversation ever. It was only funny because it was entirely in English and it went something like this:
Kaori: Mom, should I wash the dishes now?
Akemi: I beg your pardon?
Kaori: Should I wash the dishes now?
Akemi: ::pause:: Sure, sure! Please do!
Today, Kaori woke me up to inform me that because nobody would be home tonight, my dinner was in the fridge and all I had to do was heat it up. Then she informed me that she had no idea how to prepare this dish in the microwave oven and she was asking her mom, but Akemi hadn’t replied to her email. I said okay and went back to my room. Next thing I know, Akemi comes running in, all out of breath and proceeds to show Kaori and me how to use the oven. Then, just as abruptly, she and Kaori left for work and school, respectively. I don’t care what was really going on, I’m going to tell everyone that Kaori didn’t know how to use the microwave oven and that Akemi came home expressly to show us how.
At School: Yesterday, we learned about tanuki, which in actuality are what we call “raccoon dogs,” but are shape-shifters in Japanese myths and legends. By far the most interesting thing about these magical little mischief-makers is that, on average, their nut sacks can stretch to the size of 8 tatami mats. Really powerful ones can stretch theirs out to 1000 tatami mats.
In other news, it’s snow season. Bite me, Boston.