Tuesday, January 15, 2008

8 Things Meme

I got tagged for a meme by Cherry Blossom Adventures! I like these things--reminds me of getting writing prompts in writing workshops at uni. I'm such a geek. I also adored essay tests through out high school and college.
So here goes:

8 Things I am Passionate About

1. Humor--especially wit. But anything or anyone who makes me laugh makes me happy to be alive. It is actually one of the few things that amazes me to this day, the fact that my husband Masa is a typical slapstick, toilet humor kind of guy (this humor does not amuse me) and I am more a Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead/Monty Python/The Daily Show/David Letterman kind of gal and yet we do find things that make each other laugh and things at which to laugh over together. For the record, no one, and I mean NO ONE on Earth will ever or has ever made me laugh as long, as hard and as whole heartedly (until my soul was about to burst with joy) as my life long best friend from high school and university, the creator of "le poison".

2. My Friends--need to have good senses of humor and sharp intellects (which enable them to be extremely witty) as well as wide hearts and accepting minds. This in turn earns them fierce loyalty and devotion, even boarding on outdoing the devotion of a faithful lab or golden retriever.

3. Music--is emotion that you can hear and dance to.

4. Finger Printing--oh you unwitting fools. Now I know how grass root campaigns get started and how small groups of people can become determined enough to actually bring about changes in the larger arenas of their lives. I don't appreciate Japan treating me as a potential criminal/terrorist/human germ sponge. In fact, I passionately dislike this new policy of finger printing and photographing every foreigner coming into Japan, be they the first time tourist or the seventy-year-old permanent resident.

5. AFWJ--the Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese. Yes, the organization's name is a bit long and sounds sort of. . . remarkably like a Japanese group name, simplistic, direct in its naming but doesn't exactly leave one marveling at the beauty of the English language does it? In the early years of living in Japan as a wife and mother I once lamented to a fellow foreign wife, "I have no nakama. No group." and she laughed out loud, slapped me on the back and said, "but you do, you do. You are in AFWJ. We are your nakama." At the time it was a kind of break through for me. There I was still at some level wishing and yearning to be brought into Japanese society and treated as a member of it. Ha. Ha ha. Up until that minute I hadn't wanted to admit that maybe my life would not be remembered by a large number of the Japanese people in my community. Perhaps it would only be remembered by the Japanese students whom I taught, the neighbors with whom I had daily contact, the rare Japanese acquaintance turned friend. . . picturing your funeral attended by mostly obligatory visitors is not a fun day dream. But here I was a member of this fantastic group, able to forge and maintain friendships with some truly stellar and fantastic women and I wasn't "counting" them as "real" because they weren't Japanese. Ha. Ha ha. (It's all in the rhythm there, if you do it in the right rhythm you get that ironic laugh, if not, I probably seem like an idiot to you.)

Now, well into my life here in Japan, AFWJ has been an integral part of my life here. Contacts, advice, help in the form of verbal advice, a willing ear, laughter and practical things like a box of maternity clothes in MY SIZE during pregnancy. The benefits of belonging to this group never cease but only seem to increase as my involvement with this organization grows and deepens.

6. The written word--a perfectly formed sentence can make me swoon. A cleverly phrased insight leaves me exhilarated. I am, first and foremost, a word nerd. God, I even enjoy simply reading the dictionary!

7. Nature--Oh I was dying when we lived in the concrete jungle of Osaka. Never did I upon waking gaze up into the smog filled skies and bless the lord for letting me live another day. The day that I got excited and mistook some incredibly disgusting and honestly physical revolting insects in the local rice field for poly wogs. . . oh my. I bent down and eagerly scooped up a half dozen of them in the palm of my hand. That is when I realized that they looked like tiny pill bugs but flatter, sharper and with many, many more ever moving, never at rest disgusting little legs. I wanted to vomit. It was something like reaching out to pet a kitten and instead discovering that you're caressing the dying, hairless body of a skinned baby rabbit. It was really gross, but I don't know what the hell those repulsive little insects were so I can't give a picture of them.

In contrast--Oh the rapture of life in Northern Japan, smack in the inaka (country side). I do wake up every morning and feel flushed with gratitude to live amongst the marvel and beauty of clear skies, green grass, towering pine trees. The lakes and rivers are so clear I can stare at the fish meters and meters below. In the course of a typical spring walk I can see a snake, a few hawks, some Japanese cranes, fish, cray fish, poly wogs, frogs, turtles, and an abundance of wild birds whose calls I now recognize but whose names I still do not know. Damn! It is evening snowing tonight for the sixth day in a row and I LOVE shoveling the snow! I get to live in a snow globe! How lucky is that!

I grew up just below Yosemite National Park in California and my parents idea of summer vacations were to take us to every National Park in America that they could drive us to. I might have sat in some of those nature talks, wearing dark sunglasses, being a snide teenager, but I ended up IN LOVE with the natural world. Sky scrapers? Who needs them. They block my view of the sky.

8. Animals--Okay. I wanted desperately to be a veterinarian, until I found out that I would need math and chemistry to get into veterinary school. I worked at a local vets during high school and loved it. I even got to assist and watch surgeries and autopsies and never once felt anything but fascination with the proceedings. I even watched when my own beloved lab/golden retriever mix had an operation and was delighted to discover that my loyal companion was golden outside and pink inside! Even her organs were cute. My dog was so cool. She was remarkable--inside and out! My current animal obsession is our small feisty--you-can-live-or die-for-all-I- care-just-feed-me Russian Blue cat. I love the fact that she is willing to use me as a live hot water bottle to warm herself during winter nights. But I also have an inordinate amount of affection for my big fat gold fish. Out of 21 festival gold fish, only this one survived. And it just keeps getting bigger and bigger every day. And I was infatuated with a praying mantis that was living in the bush by our mailbox this spring.

Bottom line, I am so passionate about animals (extending to many insects with the exception of SPIDERS) I nearly crash on my bicycle whenever I spot a hawk circling or gliding overhead because--well they just flat out mesmerize me. Nature is such a show off--sunsets and hamsters that snuggle in little piles. Hard to beat.

8 Things I want to do before I die:

1. Travel all over Europe

2. Look back at my daughters' teenage years and think "they survived and so did I" (yes, I like to worry in advance, my eldest is only 9 now.)

3. Become fluent enough in Japanese to be able to follow the nightly news

4. Become functionally literate in Japanese

5. Get a Japanese Drivers License

6. Swim with dolphins

7. Publish a creative non-fiction essay and get paid money for it.

8. Go skiing here in Japan

8 Things I often Say

1. For the love of God (I like to be dramatic when I plead with the kids to listen to me)

2. Number one (this when listing reasons to the girls, usually reasons why they can't do or have something)

3. Just calm down (to the kids, to myself, you know, to whoever needs to hear it.)

4. Don't you dare (to Happy our cat when she is poised to sharpen her claws on the wall)

5. I swear to God (I like to be dramatic when I threaten the kids)

6. Just a second (usually said every three minutes or so when I am at the computer and the girls are asking for something or trying to get me to let them get on the computer.)

7. Uh-huh. (what I say every other three minutes or so when I am at the computer and the girls are asking for something or trying to get me to let them get on the computer. I am such a one task person. Multi-tasking hurts my head.)

8. Stop shrieking. (my youngest has a fondness for shrieking over speaking)

8 Songs I Could Listen to Over and Over

1. TubThumping I Get Knocked Down

2. Fast Car- Tracy Chapman

3. Hand-Jewel

4. Vaseline-Stone Temple Pilots

5. Everything-Michael Buble

6. Accidentally in Love--Counting Crows

7. Dani California--Red Hot Chili Peppers

8. Why Don't You and I--featuring Chad Kroeger (on the CD Santana Shaman)

8 Books I Have Recently Read (or am reading. . . I seem to be forever trying to read and never getting to. . . )

1. "We Need to Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver

2. "Spontaneous Healing" by Andrew Weil, M.D.

3. "Because I Said So" 33 mothers write about children, sex, men, aging,faith, race & themselves. Edited by Camille Peri & Kate Moses

4. "Mothers Who Think" Tales of Real-life Parenthood, Edited by Camille Peri and Kate Moses

5."Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life" by Barbara Kingsolver (Author), Camille Kingsolver (Author), Steven L. Hopp (Author).

6. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" by J. K. Rowling

7. "Kids are Worth It!" Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline, by Barbara Coloroso

8. "When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull up a Chair" by Geneen Roth

And unfortunately, I haven't really got anyone I can tag for this. . . those I know of who enjoy doing memes have already done this one or been tagged to do this one. . . so I will leave it open as an invitation to any of the lurkers reading here--here's your chance to step in with the perfect introduction, do the 8 Things Meme! Just be sure to leave a comment directing me to your responses. Or if anyone else out there that I know and have pegged as a none meme type blogger is indeed NOT a non meme type of blogger--douzo (by all means)!


Tigermama said...

Hey! I love Tubthumping...such a great song and relative to life in Japan, I think. ;)

Did you ever travel to Glacier National Park in Montana?

coarse gold girl said...

Glacier National Park in Montana? Yes we did! I remember loving it but don't have any clear memories of it in my head. My head is one big blur of National parks. Mountains, bears, racoons, rangers, deer, fish, star filled skies over night camp fires. . . One summer my family drove from California to Maine and hit as many National Parks as humanly possible inbetween. I remember the Highway to the Sun. Now where is that? I was nearing the peek of my incredibly stand-offish "I am simply too cool to be with my family" preteens at the time and read something like, 10 books over the course of the trip. My mother's voice barking, "LOOK LOOK! SEE SEE! Get your nose out of that book!" still echos in my mind. . .


Lulu said...

Wow, thanks for doing the meme! I didn`t think anyone would (One other blog friend has done it already though and another promises she is working on it!)

I would never have known about your passion for nature and animals...perhaps you have talked about it before but I am a fairly new reader to your blog! It is interesting what you said about becoming a vet...I wanted to be a doctor before I realized you needed to be super smart and good at science!

How well do your daughters speak English? I am always curious because I get the feeling I will be raising my children here when they come along....A half Japanese friend of mine grew up in Scotland and spoke Japanese with her mother until age 5 before stopping and not speaking a word of it again until she started uni and started studying. Did your girls go backwards once they started at Japanese yochien or shogakou?

Sara said...

I really enjoyed reading about your passions!!! I really like how you explain everything in detail.

You should submit your AFWJ to the PR section cause it made want to get up and join right away!! (I'm planning to once DF gets his job and we have a little more "fun" cash)

By the way! I wanted to be a Vet too.. and ran into the exact same math/science barrier wall! But in the end I'm glad my language side won out because its helped a lot with my job/communication etc.

Like Lulu said I'm interested in your kids English as well!! Does Masa-san speak with them in English or Japanese? DF can't speak much English so we will probably be doing OPOL! Yay??

Tigermama said...

Glacier National Park is attached to Waterton Lakes National Park (in Canada). Waterton is one of my favourite places on earth and I can`t wait to go there again.

I`m curious too, does your husband speak English to the kids? Mine speaks Japanese with the kids and English with me. It`s worked out well for us because we know we will be moving abroad soon and they will need that Japanese link to remain intact.