2008/2/26 火曜日

アメリカでの運転 どきどきはらはら

Filed under: travel reports,国際家族,日本語 — admin @ 14:40:43

今回の里帰りは「運転手の巻き」になりました。母が免許書を更新できなくて、父は首を痛めて、しばらく運転できないので、アメリカでほとんど運転したことのない私は運転手です。

元々、免許書をとって、5年しかたっていません。教習所に通ったのは日本と韓国のワールドカップの真っ最中でした。(日本のチームはそれ以来ゴールキーパーが変わっていませんので、やっぱりまだまだ最近の出来事ですよね。)

さて、日本に来てXX年たっているので、方向的な問題はないと思うでしょうけれど、それでも時々逆流します。そして、アメリカに帰るとやっぱり逆流します。深刻な問題です。私をさておいても、人質な気分で車に乗って医者に行ったり、スーパーに行ったりするうちの親の気になって下さい。可哀想でしょう。

そして、その上、もう一つ状況を複雑にしてくれる要素があります。私のママはちょっとだけぼけています。今日、パパをリハビリの先生のところにおろして、ママと二人で本屋に行こうとしましたが、どうも母の方向指示が変です。本屋さんがあるはずのない方にしばらく走って、ママが「ごめん、パパのところに戻ってしまった!」と言いました。

あ〜あ、自分の方向音痴とカルチャーギャップだけで混乱しているのに、ナビゲーターも頼りできなくなってしまいました。どうか、どうか3週間が無事に過ごせますように!

2008/2/24 日曜日

The definition of a good-natured person

Filed under: English entries — admin @ 3:31:05

Hello from California! I’ve been settling in with my parents, and in the midst of that I had the great pleasure of meeting someone I’d only known through e-mail correspondence. Taking everything else into consideration, the best arrangement seemed to be for Margaret to come over from San Rafael to visit.

While San Rafael and Richmond are distinct in their demographic differences, they are separated by a single bridge and a little bit of freeway.

Map Quest directions in hand, Margaret found my parent’s house and took me off with her on her errand of the day–to find a puppet. A puppet of a red macaw that the library where she works would use for story time in the children’s section was available at a puppet shop in Emeryville . It just so happens that my husband, a special needs teacher, owns and uses more puppets than any single human being in Japan, so I was not going to miss this chance to add to his collection and get some quality omiyage taken care of.

Margaret and I quickly determined that neither of us were gifted in terms of “directionalism,” but we bravely got on the freeway, and sensibly got off at Emeryville–and were lost. Margaret is a librarian, so we stopped at a library <Shout out to the Golden Gate Branch of the Oakland Free Library!> and they knew exactly what we were looking for–it was a few blocks away! (Apparently you go out of Emeryville–a wierd town that is half landfill mall and half ancient factory buildings–into Oakland, and back into Emeryville.)

the red macaw

The puppet shop, which was more of a “corner” in the puppet company offices in an old factory building, was unexpectedly closed, but someone came out to tell us so, and Margaret sweetly persuaded her to let us in so she could the red macaw that she had come across the Bay to find. I followed her in and picked up a few lovely and reasonably priced puppets of my own.

We were back in Richmond in no time at all, after which Margaret accompanied Mom, Dad and I to Dad’s physical therapy session. While Dad was hard at work (note that I’m skipping over the description of my own culturally skewed driving skills that got us on that leg of the trip), the three of us crawled Hilltop Mall and completed a friendly discussion on Japanese literature and mutual poet and writer friends in the waiting room of the PT office.

We wrapped it all up with some Ice Cream Mania in Pinole.

All of the activities included investigation of various pressing medical issues,all of which were satisfactorily resolved, much to the pleasure of the entire group. My conclusions on the day are that there is really no better way to get to know someone than to run errands, sample each other’s driving skills, visit at least one of your homes, meet some parents, and take care of various and sundry medical and family business, and chat about your mutual interests throughout. I am not sure, though, whether there are as many people as good-natured as Margaret that would be willing to do that.

Margaret and I

2008/2/17 日曜日

体重について一言

Filed under: life in Japan,スポーツ,日本語 — admin @ 16:17:12

娘を二人育てて、体重は避けて通る話題ではありません。

そこで、二人が20歳を過ぎて、私の意見を聞き慣れたので、体重について一言を言わせて下さい。

安室なみえが「小さい顔」を流行らせて以来、生まれて持った丸顔の日本人の 女の子はどんどん痩せる方向に走っています。新聞折り込みのちらしを読んでも、「憧れの40キロ代は夢ではない」と書いて、ダイエット食品を売っています。40キロ代?年々背が高くなっていく日本女性にとって、憧れの40キロ代が栄養失調への道です。

「ァ、太った。見て、太ももがくっついている!」そんな言葉聞いたことありませんか。

何で「太もも」と よばれると思いますか。太ってお互いにくっついているからです!

最後になりますが、スポーツクラブに通って思ったことです。ちょっと肉がついている、ちょっと胸がゆたか、ちょっとおなかがぽっちゃ り、そんな女子も男子もとても魅力的です。個性があって、柔らかさもあります。健康志向は大変良いことですが、ちゃんと肉を残した健康になりましょう!

we need not count every single calorie

Weights and Measures

Filed under: English entries,life in Japan,国際家族 — admin @ 15:56:46

Manna Frances went off to California without her trusty cookbook because she did not want to deal with converting the measurements. Her parting remark: “Doesn’t the US realize that grams and centimeters are the international standard?”

It took me back to the 1960s. One year when I was still in elementary school, we had a math unit on grams and centimeters because “as of 19XX the US will be converting to the universal standard of weights and measures.” I seem to recall that it would be a few years into the future–soon enough to be intimidating, but far enough into the future to lack urgency.

How much did this cost?

Looking back, I was very much in touch with my “inner American.” I could be obsessive about school rules and getting homework in on time, but I distinctly recall (along with just the tiniest bit of reassurance that a liter and a quart were pretty much the same) that I shrugged it off. “Surely they will review it all again when the time comes.”

And sure enough, even though I spend a good part of my days mentally converting kilograms and meters into pounds and yards, and yen into dollars, and don’t even get me started on the euro and the Czech krone, I am still very satisfied that I did not waste my time at that young age because the US has remained aloof from the rest of the world in its complete and utter failure to convert.

1foot = 30 cm. The rest is up to you

2008/2/14 木曜日

頭が挽肉状態 My Brain is Hamburger!

Filed under: 日本語,翻訳業 — admin @ 21:48:11

今週、小川さんと一緒に難しい作業をしています。夕方になると脳が 働かなくなります。英語でこの状態を「My brain is hamburger!」と言います。まるで、脳が肉屋さんのグラインダーに入れられた状態という感じです。

英語も日本語も分からなくなります。バイリンガルでなく、ノンリンラルですね。お休みなさい。

思い切ってピンクで脳をいやします

Off to a Better Place–Southern California

Filed under: English entries,life in Japan,travel reports,国際家族 — admin @ 7:35:28

My office maager, Manna Frances, has left these frigid shores for her annual visit to get in touch with her American self. She and I will be meeting up in the SF Bay Area in a couple of weeks, but until then she is in Southern California with her extended family.

There is a new baby that apparently needs attending to–a decision that was made shortly after the arrival of pictures of said baby. Along with being one of the most adorable creatures on the planet, Little Anna is adding a new ethnic dimension to our family. What started out as a family of 100% white European background now includes Mexican, Japanese, Korean, and (ta da!) Thai ancestry. Anna’s maternal grandmother is from Thailand, and that makes her a quarter Thai.

In the words of her proud, new aunt: “That little bit doesn’t hurt!”

the only warmth we get is in a hothouse-Gunma orchid

2008/2/6 水曜日

Always good to have artistic friends!

Filed under: English entries,life in Japan — admin @ 9:00:07

My good friend, Pamela, has started a blog about sewing. A blog can’t be an easy thing when you’d rather have a needle in one hand and some beautiful fabric in the other. Today she is featuring an elegant, kimono-style jacket she made me a few years ago. Take a look at how lucky I am!

PS Her husband, Yutaka (Happy birthday, H.O.), is quite the artist, too, and our house features a number of his works.

hand-painted planter–it’s mine!

Both sides!

2008/2/5 火曜日

だからスポーツがやめられない

Filed under: life in Japan,スポーツ,日本語 — admin @ 8:44:41

昨日も19:45にホリデースポーツに行きました。この時間にほぼ毎日何人か同じ人がプールで集まります。私はこの集まりを「7:45グループ」と名付けました。2階のスタジオに若くて身体に自信のある人は大勢集まっていますが、プールは少し年が上の方、あるいは水で少しでも身体のでこぼこをかくしたい方が集まります。(私は両方に当てはまります!)

とにかく、昨夜は若くてエネルギーの余ったお兄さんがアクアビックの指導者でした。それについて行くに必死でした。体力というより意地でがんばりました。 そして終わったら、お兄さんに「まだまだいけそうでしょう!」と言われました。お世辞でもいい。嬉しかったです。しかし、本当に「まだまだ行けそう」な方がいました!同じぐらいの年齢の女性が次ぎの口座に参加する準備をしていました。「え?まだやりますか?」と私は驚いてききました。そして彼女は「細い人はいいよ、私はもうちょっとがんばらないと」と答えました。

細い人!!

永遠にこのスポーツクラブと離れることはないでしょう。

どう見ても細くない人

2008/2/3 日曜日

More Snow Pics さらに雪の写真

Filed under: English entries,life in Japan,日本語 — admin @ 20:52:03

南向き第一投資者から素敵な写真が届きました。

東京人は前橋を「東北」と考えているらしいが、実は「関東地方」です。こちらでも雪はめずらしいです。

Please enjoy the pictures taken by our no. 1 investor.

Tokyoites tend to think of Maebashi as “up north,” but it’s actually on the Kanto Plain. Snow is just as unusual here as it is in the Big City!

camellia in our yard

taken from the second floor window

our ancient plum tree

Filed under: English entries,life in Japan,日本語 — admin @ 10:26:14

Snow in Maebashi this morning! It looks beautiful on the blooming plum tree.

朝から庭が雪景色。どこも行かなくて良いので、ちょっとした幸せ!

snow on plum tree3snow on trees in our yard3

one brave lookout doglookout dog in his territory

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