We almost forgot where we live…

We  had a really busy week, with people over every day for different gatherings, parties, and classes. It’s funny, but sometimes, in the midst of living in Japan, we forget that we live in Japan.  This is our life;  we love it that God has called us here.  But in thinking about different events last week, there were little things here and there where we stop – maybe laugh – and remember, “Oh yeah!  We live in Japan!”  Here’s a few examples:

1)  Having a mom friend and her daughter over for lunch on Wednesday… Annie enjoyed playing with A-chan, and I loved getting to spend time with her mom, T.  When it was time for her to go and pick up her other daughter around 2:30, I started to say goodbye and then realized that she was planning to come back with her daughter and son.  The four of them stayed until dinner time, and all of our kids enjoyed the chance to play together.   I let go of my own agenda, and really enjoyed sharing about parenting as we enjoyed each other’s children.  She brought over a a new craze in Japan:  white chocolate-covered potato chips.  (These aren’t big in North America, or are they?)  Here’s T. and  her sweet children:

2)  Japanese Olympic coverage!  I need to write about this to help Eric vent his emotions.  He is vowing to boycott watching.  His main complaints?  a) Events that feature Japanese are covered from beginning to end without editing, including all the preliminary trials.  b) Yesterday on primetime Olympic coverage TV our whole family got into watching a speed skating in which it was clear that two of the Japanese players had a strong chance at winning.  We watched it up to the end, where the two Japanese skaters won the silver and bronze medals… and we realized that it was the race from a WEEK ago that they were replaying simply because Japanese won.  It’s interesting in watching — we asked our kids which country they would play for if they were in the Olympics.  Owen?  “Japan!”  Annie?  “America!”  We have enjoyed cheering for both countries, even if it has meant sometimes cheering for an event that we had already cheered for much earlier…

3)  Annie had her annual school play on Saturday.  She did a great job on her lines and the songs, as well as looking pretty cute as a horn-bearing yellow cat (she’s on the right)

One of our favorite parts of the play was the 4 boys who were toasting each other with large paper-made, foaming beer mugs.

They couldn’t help pretending to pour the beer on each other’s heads. We were almost beside ourselves.   Beer is such a Japanese norm in adult society that it wasn’t considered at all inappropriate to have these boys pretending to toast each other.  Definitely a Japan moment…

3.  Saturday night we had two families over for dinner.  Every few months our 3 families get together and it is an EVENT.  Yesterday afternoon the two men came over early for an English conversation lesson with Eric, and then the rest of their families came over for the evening.  They brought over their children’s pajamas, and after dinner in good Japanese fashion by groups all the kids took showers and baths together in our humble ofuro  (the girls took about  40 minutes each in their groups;  Owen and Shun were in and out in seven!)  Here they are after their baths enjoying some good old-fashioned Uno:

Meanwhile, in addition to enjoying a Mexican spread of fajitas, guacamole and chips; and ceviche, the adults all played Settlers of Catan.  It was our first time to have to teach it in Japanese –poor them!   But they were great learners and we had a really fun time.  You know that we are in Japan when Eric and I tried hard not to win (we were the hosts; we taught them the game!).  We actually could have won 2 rounds sooner but tried to wait it out, in vain, for one of the other couples to win.  When we won, it was with the promise of a rematch in the near future.  They were all very comfortable staying at our home until 11:30 at night!  Our kids, of course, were thrilled, and thought it was New Year’s Eve again.  Can’t wait for our next dinner/bathing/Settlers night with these fun friends!
4.  During the evening, Ian was held by the two fun husbands all night long. (Guess who wanted to be held all day on Sunday?)  They were loving on him, and one of them said, “He really reminds me of Tom Hanks!”  They all agreed.  (What do you think?  Maybe the nose?)

The next day at lunch, I was telling another Japanese friend, who said, “Oh, many Japanese think that all Americans look alike.”  We had to laugh.  It was a really good week–in Japan– enjoying life on life on life…


5 thoughts on “We almost forgot where we live…

  1. I love keeping up with your life, Sue! It keeps my heart connected to Japan. I’ve had dark chocolate potato chips once in Wheaton, but I thought they were really greasy. I felt kinda guilty eating them–two of my weaknesses combined into one!!

  2. Sue, I am amazed at how open you are with your home and family. I still have so much to learn from you. I realize how much I “guard” our house and “guard” our time…I mean, I know it’s good and necessary at times, but perhaps in my case, to the detriment of experiencing true community??? Hummmmm. I have much to learn.

  3. Thanks you guys for encouraging comments — I’ve found out a lot about chocolate-covered potato chips in the past few days!

    Nozomi- it’s always such a balance. We had a house full of moms and kids today– and another drop-by friend who stayed for awhile- and it was good, but my kids lost dessert and snacks because of their behavior during that time… and so I wondered if it has been too much the past week? Knowing that it can be to our children’s detriment as well to do too much community…at least if I’m not on the ball as a mom. So I, too, have so much to learn in this area….

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