Big Cleaning

This is almost a month late, so sorry about that! Lots of exciting news recently, one being that I’m expecting! Woohoo! Can’t wait to bring a new edition into the family! ❤ This blog may shift its focus from regular-ol’ housewife to Japanese mommy! Of course I’m not Japanese, so Baby will get a mix of Japanese/American/whatamIdoing, haha.

Let me move on to my topic of the day, Spring Big Cleaning! We have Spring Cleaning in America, so Big Cleaning is basically the same thing, just in December. It’s best to do big projects one at a time stretched across December before the New Year comes. Why do we do it at this time? A clean house invites God (or the Japanese equivalent of God) to bless your home and family! The only downside is that it’s COLD, and I’m terrible in cold weather. I swear I was a bear in a past life, lol.

Anyways, if you want to do it right, here is what you need:

cleaning An apron

A bandanna

A mask

Gloves (if working with chemicals)

Whatever cleaning supplies you need for your project.

 

 

 

So, what’s so different about “Big” Cleaning? Well, we clean all the windows in the house for one. We also clean the air filters. Rub the grease off of everything in the kitchen from all that cooking. Dust places you normally don’t even think about. Things you don’t normally do because they take some effort. We also do the normal cleaning (toilet area, vacuuming, etc.). Basically everything! All the “gear” is of course optional, my aunt-in-law doesn’t use it, but I love it! For one, dust makes me feel horrible! I’ll be sneezing all day after inhaling that junk. Also, it’s good to keep it out of my hair because it’s hard to pick out. The apron is good if any dirt or chemicals splash on your clothes. Gloves are obviously to protect your hands. So, did you do your Big Cleaning, or plan on doing your Spring Cleaning? Happy New Year!

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Woah, Two Months Already??

As the title implies, I am blown away by how fast time flies. I do want to write more about customs, but for the moment I want to write about a feeling I was struck by today. 🙂

Being the brave 29-year-old that I am, I went for my flu shot today. Yes, haha, almost 30 and nervous about needles. Go ask my parents, they can vouch for me. As a child I had an absurd fear of them. Oh the horror stories my parents and doctors can tell you. Now that I am an adult, I know this is a silly fear (after all, adults should be masters of all their fears by now, right!?) but I can’t help but still have that slight nervous feeling. Last year I had that feeling, but (wo)manned up and found out…hey! It really isn’t so bad! *happy dance all the way home* This year I went in for it again, knowing that it’s not bad at all, but still had the butterflies in my stomach a little. Well, there were a LOT of people of all ages there today. I was one of the first to arrive and still had to wait an hour and a half almost. While I waited, some of my students came in for the same thing as me! Of course they didn’t want to be there to get the shot. (You would never know this by the way they ran around and played though, lol)

So finally it was my time to go in, and a new feeling came over me. I can’t be a coward in front of these (or any) children, no matter what. Last year I was basically by myself, stewing in my own emotions, and didn’t care that others saw that I was nervous because…I don’t know. Last year of course I was brave and rejoiced that it was literally nothing, but this year I had a new challenge. I had to show these children that shots are nothing. Why did I feel like that? Maybe it was revenge for my own feelings as a child, how much of a coward I was. Maybe I felt if I can show these kids a smile through the entire thing, their experience will be a little better, and that was something that I really wanted for them. The family clinic is not so private, it might also be a Japan thing, but kids are free to roam, and though they’re not supposed to, they do peak their heads into the rooms from time-to-time to see what’s up. And me being their teacher, of course they wanted to see my experience. Suddenly, I wasn’t just “Lindsay” anymore, I was “Lindsay, brave warrior for children everywhere!” This feeling made me feel strong, like a lion or a viking! Like even if something is scary for me, I can get through it because I want to show those kids that yeah, the world has scary things but with some courage look what we can overcome! I smiled through the whole thing (I shut my eyes and tensed up a bit but I don’t think I’m in the minority for that, lol) and told the kids, “See! I’m okay, it’s not bad at all!”

I want to be that kind of role-model for kids because there were so many things I missed out on when I was little because I was scared or nervous. So, thank you kids for helping me conquer life! 😀

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First Month as a Wife!

Or, as an official wife. We’ve been living together for about a year now, so nothing is really all that different. However, feeling more “official” makes me also want to be more knowledgeable about Japanese traditions so that I can enjoy them with my future kids someday! So, recently I picked up a book called “Living By the Seasons” (or something like that)…


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There are several books by this company. I think they are all about living the adult life and wanting to know more. It’s very reasonably priced too, at 1,000yen (roughly $10). The sections are divided by the months. It lists things like traditional poetic words, important days, traditional recipes, detailed explanation (historically and why, etc.) about why certain things are done the way they are, etc. I’ve been showing this to some of my Japanese friends, and even they didn’t know everything listed in the book! I guess it wouldn’t sell if it was all…”Well, duh!”

Wanting to learn about and practicing the traditions of Japan is, of course, very beneficial for living in Japan! Not only can you impress your friends and neighbors and better understand Japan’s mysteries, but you will be more appreciated by those around you. Japan’s society is already very geared toward groups, and being a foreigner that no one can relate to won’t win you many acceptance points. However, show an interest in the language and culture and you will find yourself surrounded by friends!

Another challenge I’ve taken on is a part-time English teacher at a kimono store (of all places!). Why? Because in a year the people who often gather there want to go to Singapore, so they want a basic English crash course. Twice a month teaching a one-hour class is a good way to keep me busy, and I really enjoy it! It’s different (in a good way) teaching adults because they have more genuine questions and can actually converse, so we have a good time. Not bad for a part-time! (P.S. only the first time I taught in a yukata…it was fun! I think yukatas are beautiful. 🙂 )

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Changing Your Name is Your First Challenge!

The first step started last week when I went with the aunt to the City Hall to file a paper that I got married. We took the paper home because of course he had to sign too but he was at work. Also, we had to translate our marriage license that we received in America. Interesting side note about that. While signing the license in America, it was against the law for me to sit there and translate for him because apparently it’s been a thing where people have been lied to about what they’re signing. However, I could get anyone else (friends or family!) to translate, which we thought was funny because what if my acquaintances were in on it had that been the case? Well anyways, we came back to Japan with a couple official copies and I was allowed to translate it myself (good test of language skills! gah (X_x)  )

ANYWAYS, so we all three of us (husband, aunt and I) go back to the City Hall today expecting to be there maybe 30-40 minutes…it took TWO HOURS to file the marriage form and get my name officially changed! And here’s why: the way I learned how to spell out my name in Japanese and the way someone else spelled my name on some of my important cards had small variations that took forever to sort out. The pronunciation sounds basically the same, but “Rinjii” versus “Rinzuii” was not acceptable, we had to choose one or the other. So I went with “Rinzuii” which is on my most important cards (but totally not how I’ve been spelling it for, I don’t know, everything up until now)…now I look back and I think, “Well duh, Lindsay! You should use what’s officially on your card!” but I was also thinking, “That’s just a pronunciation, not a spelling…” So for all you foreigners coming to Japan, PLEASE for the love of all that’s good in this world, stick with one Japanese writing. Once it’s officially on some card of yours, do NOT write it different thinking, “Well, this sounds closer!” or “Meh, whatever. It’s all the same.” Your day off or free time will have been ruined, my friend. Now I’m wondering if I’m the only one with this problem because maybe I just have a weird name to pronounce, lol.

I also want to take the time to say how much I love my new last/family name. It translates to “Japanese clover field”, and when I looked up images for Japanese clover, this is an example of what I found:

hagi

Now imagine a field of those flowers. Isn’t that lovely!? 🙂 It’s also interesting now because my first name is English, my middle name is French, and my last/family name is Japanese. So international! ❤

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Greeting the Neighborhood

Now that I am officially married and living in Japan, I thought it would be good to describe important events, thoughts, etc. about being a wife in Japan. Of course my experience may vary greatly from others, but as a foreigner learning new things, I hope maybe this can benefit others as well…or just be interesting for those who want to know!

Today was an important event. Now that we are married (and I am still trying to get used to using “we” for many things instead of “I”, lol!), I was introduced to all our neighbors in the neighborhood. We live with an aunt who has lived here all her life, and so she and I walked (or drove!) to everyone’s house, said hello and gave a gift. We gave a hand towel as a gift, but other acceptable gifts include detergent, shampoo, or any usable household item. For some reason my husband did not have to go with us, which personally I thought was strange because we had to explain that I am now married to him, but traditionally a family member takes the wife around the neighborhood (and maybe because usually the husband is too busy for these kind of events).

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I was also surprised at the extent that we had to dress up. Casual-nice is unacceptable, as are business clothes. We had to dress up as if it was a formal ceremony (which, I guess, it was). If I were Japanese I would have dressed in a kimono, but because I am a foreigner that is also unacceptable. That’s not to say that I am never allowed to wear a kimono, but for this particular event it would be too unusual.

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In total we visited about 20 people. Three people were not home, so the aunt will go back another day by herself to give the gift and introduce me. Anyways, my part was very easy. All I had to say was, “Lindsay to moushimasu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.” (“*humbly* My name is Lindsay. Please take care of me.”) and then I would hand over the gift. There is of course much bowing and many times of saying, “yoroshiku onegaishimasu.”

Luckily for us the rain held off until we finished, and the four of us (me, the aunt, another relative and my husband) ate sushi for lunch! So, very busy day, but also very exciting as this means that I am officially a “part” of the neighborhood!

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