Sunday, August 28, 2011

Semi-summer

Due to some issues concerning the stupid fact that first-graders started school later than all the other pupils this year, I spent a week of semi-summer with Kaoru visiting my family. Time was spent mostly by us biking around taking advantage of the nice weather. Sometimes we lent a bike for Kaoru from the neighbours (thank you!) and other times she just sat on my bike's carrier and I did all the work, while she shouted with glee about the speed and every bump. I still don't understand the fun in riding over bumps, but I must have been missing out on something. It's certainly the reason why my life doesn't make any sense and is just living in the moment. I hate bumps in the street.
We visited every playground in my hometown that I could remember and Kaoru did her best in climbing up these red new climbing frames made of tows.





Yes, I do in fact encourage the peace sign. I think it's so cute. Plus it matched her proud moment of success.





We met two cute boys her age at said playground and within minutes Kaoru bossed them around and they did everything she said. Just how does she do that? Gotta learn from her. She's a real master.

Other days were spent biking through the wonderful landscape that was my homeland and that I love so much. It's so sad people there are mostly grumpy and unfriendly and make you want to either leave or run amok. Why don't the people just match the landscape? Well, can't have everything, I guess.
We even spent time at a beach, building huge mud castles and swimming in the freaking cold lake. After swimming we bought ice-cream. We all know those cones and we all know that, if you're not fast enough, it will drip through the tip. My father was unwrapping Kaoru's ice-cream for her and the following happened.
Me: "Don't unwrap it totally. Just leave a bit of it on there for safety."
He just unwrapped it.
Me grabbed the paper and did what I intended, grumbling: "Just why am I talking to you..."
Ice-cream-lady: "Those are the men. They never want to use safety."
--- Okay, maybe not all the people are grumpy.

The nights weren't as much fun since I had to share a bed with Kaoru and she kicked me awake repeatedly. She dreamt so vividly and loudly, I could hardly sleep at all. Dark circles follwed. I spare you a picture.
During my sleepless nights I had a lot of time to think about Certain Someone and reached the decision that I couldn't take any more. So if anyone here was already his fan... I'm sorry for you guys. His guest appearences on this blog will stay very limited.

What was really astounding was my father. When I first told him about us girls visiting him for a week, he was totally against it. He opposed the idea vehemently. I've known my dad my whole life and therefore just repeated the same idea to him a week later and he wasn't as opposed anymore. By the time we actually wanted to come he was okay with it, but wanted to state some things clearly. "I will not do anything for you two. I will not cook or think up any program what to do all day. I still think this is not a good idea." I agreed, the work would be all mine. For his opinion about this trip I didn't give a shit. I just knew it was going to be nice. I would make sure of that, if necessary.
Turned out to be totally different. He cooked for us, he bought us ice-cream, he had a program for each day (and I only had to fill the breaks), he tried to interact with Kaoru a lot and when we left, he told us "It was nice that you've been here" and hugged Kaoru tightly.
On the last day we didn't have time for a real lunch for we had to leave early to catch our train. My father told me "You thought up this leaving-early-thing and you will get a lunch for Kaoru. I will do nothing, you hear me? Nuthin." So I went to the next supermarket with Kaoru and let her choose a snack that would support her for the duration of our trip, since she would get a real meal at home. She liked that and off we went back to my father's house. Just as we arrived my father acts all insulted and tells me the following: "Why did you buy something? I had planned to make soup for all of us and you just reject it without even telling me." WTF! Talk about being skittish.
Maybe he's getting old... it's about time with almost 70.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Things I like

Giving presents to the kids.
Since they're no such spoilt brats that it wouldn't be fun to give them stuff, I love to give them new stuff. They are really cute kiddies who enjoy getting new things and show it in a way that makes me melt a little bit inside.

A few days ago they finally returned from their grandparents where they spent the whole (nonexistent) summer. They both had grown as children usually tend to if nourished properly. So they needed new clothes. Especially the girl, who I shall codename Kaoru from now on, because of 2 Cor 2:15 and because she made noises about wanting to be a woman priest when she's a grown-up. Maybe this is not as far away as I thought: She'd grown like 6 or 7cm in about 6 weeks! Where is the little girl I remembered?
The big brother did grow too, but not a much as she did as to give her the opportunity to keep up with him. I shall codename him Yuuki from now on, because Certain Someone thinks he is just like Yuuki from the jdorama Abarenbo Mama. And he's right.

Well. There were still boxes sitting in the basement with used-but-still-nice clothes Certain Someone received as gifts for the kids and these boxes were impatiently waiting, twitching every now and then as if they were asking when the kids finally will have grown. Now their time had come and an exited Kaoru and an hyper Yuuki carried two heavy boxes upstairs. I have to admit, that those boxes in general contain a lot more girl's clothes than boy's, since Certain Someone received the most from a family with two daughters. I was kinda waiting for disappointment on Yuuki's side therefore. But he was in a really good mood and even though there wasn't a lot for him in the box, he still enjoyed himself, so all was fine. A bit more than fine even.
He got a warm vest and a warm jacket and prodeeded to wear both over another and then went to the kids' room giggling. As he came back, he also wore his snow-pants and just looked like an astronaut. Really, all he was missing was a helmet! I cracked me up and as we were all laughing he enjoyed the attention. Cute boy. Often enough I'm just stressed out by his nonsense, but this one was delicious!
Kaoru got a lot more out of her box. A light jacket, two sweat-jackets, a t-shirt and a shitload of pants. She tried everything on and was delighted by all of it. Like jumping around squeaking "Look! I got this! I can wear it now!" She was really happy, insisted to keep the new clothes on and it was fun to watch.

I'm also glad to report that she successfully left the everything-has-to-be-pink zone. Finally! I don't have anything particular against pink, but when everything must be pink it just pisses me off and gives me eye cancer. Yesterday she accepted all the clothes in all colours, even the black sweat jacket with dark purple somethings on it! Ah, I'm so proud of her!

Even though it was work (getting the new clothes unpacked, putting away the old ones, having my ears ring from all the squeaking) it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. Time with the kids can be so rewarding even though it's hard work, too.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Hiroshima-Day

The most beautiful city in the world is a twin city of Hiroshima. Therefore we have always some Japanese events going on and lots of people of all ages involved in them. So Hiroshima-Day was a big thing with stuff going on all day.
At 8 in the morning there was a commemoration in a bombed-out church which is a memorial for WWII.
The mayor of the most beautiful city in the world was there and he gave a very good speech. The Protestant church's local superintendent was there and gave a horrible, horrible speech. It was so horrible that I'm still disgusted now, two days later. Her speech didn't have a golden thread, a real beginning or a real ending. It was so horrible, that after she stepped away from the microphone, nobody clapped cuz we were all stunned in utter disbelief that she was even allowed to talk at this event. Aside from the bad style of her speech she also tried to use Japanese words, since it was a Japan-related event and she felt obligated to do so. Nevermind that the mayor had done well without it. I think I might never heard someone talk in foreign tongues who was this incapable of doing so. Speaking Japanese with German pronouciation sounds horrible enough (and ridiculous), but it was even worse than that. She talked about folding cranes with the oh-so-famous Japanese technique "Origamu".
Man, it was awful.
I doubt the mayor would have done a better job with Japanese, but I guess that's why he was so wise not to try.
Well, after her horrible speech (and some polite clapping from the confused audience), both of them rang the Hiroshima-memorial-bell three times exactly on the time when the bomb fell 66 years ago. Bong! Bong! Bong!
Such things make me shiver. The time it took them to ring the bell three times was enough time 66 years ago to make all hell break lose in Hiroshima.
Then they laid down a huge wreath with white and red flowers.
This was all supposed to be happening in silence and mostly did so if not for those three old men standing in the crowd behind me, who were talking all. the. fucking. time. Not even just talking and showing disrespect, but also exchanging business cards. Seriously guys, WHAT THE FUCK!? Why did they even come? I was about to hiss at them, but then restrained myself thinking it would show even more disrespect for the occasion to start up a fight.
Kids from a nearby summercamp from the YMCA laid down 1000 paper-cranes next to the wreath and it looked awesome! Do you know how much one thousand paper-cranes is?! It's a huge pile, huge, I tell you! What followed then was a Japanese tea ceremony, which bored me out of my skull. Yes, I'm interested in Japan. Still it doesn't mean I like everything from there. The ceremony was long and boring and just very long in general. Maybe it's because I detest green tea, so I just cannot bring myself to honour the effort to produce such a distasteful brew. Then it was over and we all went home.

During the day there were more events, but since I wasn't there, I won't tell you.

In the evening there was a Hiroshima-movie to be shown in the townhall. For the sake of being in good company, I called my friend Akane, who teaches me Japanese and I teach her German in return, if she wanted to join me. She's a very nice woman and I like her a lot. She was interested in it (she had forgotten it was Hiroshima-Day and was kinda shocked about that) and so we met there. Reaching the townhall proved to be very difficult though. The blogs in my blogroll tell me that other people are experiencing a hot, hot summer. I'm very jealous, because we didn't have summer so far. Sometimes there were a few days, which could have counted as a nice beginning for spring, but real summer remains to be unseen this year. And on this evening it rained like it will never rain again! Even though it was still supposed to be bright outside, it was dark as night. I ran through the rain with my umbrella and still got soaked. Akane had a longer way and had to wait at traffic lights and wasn't too happy either. Needless to say there were very few people at the movie.

The movie. I had tried looking the content up online, but couldn't find anything. Well, turns out that words couldn't have described what we saw. I never knew so many videos existed from the aftermath of the bomb. They showed all the cruelty and all the pain. It was really hard. Especially hard it was for Akane. For me this is still far away, but for her these are her own people. It's a town that she visited. She did not look at the screen all the time and I tried to comfort her the little I could. We were a bit relieved when the movie was over.

At the townhall we met a young woman, who was all over Japan. You know these people. Everything from Japan is great for them. The people are great! The culture is great! The food is great! The rainy season is great! I bet they even like green tea. This woman actually complained about our German rain and proceeded to talk about the wonderful rainy season in Japan. Make up your mind, girl! Do you like rain or not? She told us about her stays in Japan, her Japanese ex-boyfriend and her work in a German-Japanese exchange program. She was all agitated talking about Japan, but when I asked her questions about her life here she acted like it was all so boring and not worth talking about. Well, I bet it is!
Anyways... she was nice enough and had a camera and made cool pictures of us setting out paperlanterns after the movie at the pond behind the townhall. We promised to meet again and who knows. Maybe she has a life in Germany. I hope, she has. It's hard work to meet with people who don't have a life.

I will upload a paperlantern-picture once I receive them from her. Which I did.
Luckily the rain and wind stopped just in time for the paperlanterns and it was wonderful. Akane told us the spooky story about the lanterns: They are the souls of the dead who come to visit. Whaaa~ I'd rather not have the dead visiting me. To her, it didn't sound spooky at all though.

Hiroshima-Day made me realize again how thankful I can be. And I am indeed. I'm thankful I don't have to experience a war or an atom-bomb or hunger or wounds that don't heal. I'm thankful I live a peaceful life and that events like the Hiroshima-Day show me that my problems are so teeny. It makes me feel a lot lighter, knowing I don't have real worries. It even makes me be thankful that I can worry about little things.
So I'm also thankful that this day the rain stopped to every event outside that I attended even though the weather forecast didn't give any reason for hope.
And I'm thankful that meeting this woman had proved to me that I'm not Japan-crazy. Phew.