Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Wet Sand

Winters are usually dry here on the Kanto Plain, especially when the winds are coming at us off the Gobi Desert or the Mongolian Steppes. However, this year has been particularly dry. People in our neighborhood have been having trouble with their wells getting filled with sand if not drying up completely.

For several years now we have only used our well for the clothes washer and the bath/shower. Our drinking/cooking/toilet water comes from the municipal water line. That is probably a very good thing. We are also having trouble with our well now. The piping keeps getting choked with sand. The washing machine seems to be working okay, but the oil-burning (non-tank) water heater that supplies hot water to the bath/shower keeps malfunctioning, and sand in the lines seems to be the culprit.

I've heard cold showers can be good for you, but...


My mother-in-law's health definitely seems to be on the upswing, which is a very good thing. Hopefully that means she'll stop being so %$&#* spoiled. She and my father-in-law have been treating us as their own personal restaurant. I know that we need to be patient, but it's still not an easy thing to deal with. Usually FIL will show up just as my wife is starting to cook, and then he'll give their meal order. If it happens to be something different from what she's making (which has been the case most if not all of the time), that quite often means our dropping everything and making a second supermarket run. Even then a good portion of the time FIL will bring things back uneaten afterward and say, "She decided she didn't want this," or, "She says this is too hard," or, "She says this has too much of a fishy aftertaste," or, "This has carrots in it, and she says she doesn't want carrots today," or the like. My wife has been EXTREMELY stressed out.

This morning I hoped to have bread for breakfast for the first time in over a week, but just as I was getting it out FIL showed up, said, "She decided she wants to have bread this morning," and made off with our entire bread supply. My wife, who had already started cooking a Japanese-style meal for them, was furious. I, being a bit fed up with having nothing but the same menu for breakfast day after day after day, was not happy, either. Maybe we should make them pay for the food to which they've been helping themselves this past week. It's not like they're using even half of the monthly "rent" I've been paying them, anyway.


The news still hasn't gotten off its Chinese gyoza obsession, and they're still going on and on about the JDS Atago incident. You'd think they'd have something else to talk about, such as celebrity gossip.

(Yes, that was meant to be sarcastic.)


The current school year is drawing to a close at Ye Olde Academy. Final exams just ended, and the end-of-the-year activities have begun. The various problems I've been having came to a sudden, ugly, snarlying head, but after a cathartic venting I decided to try to patch things up (i.e. mend fences) rather than fight. I just had a very difficult (and rather bizarre) discussion with my chief and closest working partner...with whom I've had so much difficulty getting along lately...and have hopefully worked things out to some extent. I guess I'll be continuing with the international program after all. Besides, if I don't do it, who can?

It actually made me feel a lot better being told that. I guess I'm really not so obsolete. Not yet, anyway.

This has been a very difficult and disturbing year. Maybe even a cursed one. I can't say I regret its passing too much, though I have no idea what the new school year will bring come April.


  • I could be wrong but...

    You must be the one who did a lion's share of the work on the international program. Once everybody found out there was work...all of a sudden you are back in.

    Still, it is better to mend fences because human nature doesn't change. Good on you for that.

    I think you and K are within your rights to make food according to your own menu and whoever doesn't want the food can make their own. Like the old West where whoever complained about the cooking became the cook.

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 3:07 AM  

  • In the beginning there were our parents, and they begot us. They took care of us, fed us, changed our napies, and brushed our teeth.

    Then they sent us to school, taught us how to drive, introduced us to table manners, and read us bed time stories.


    Ok, ok, we will.

    By Blogger Pa've, at 9:02 AM  

  • Snabudon
    You must be the one who did a lion's share of the work on the international program.

    Only in the very beginning. I was the one that got the whole project started in the first place. However, once it got going, someone else was put in charge...the person with whom I wound up embroiled in a sort of Cold War. I'm the vice chairman, but I wound up getting more or less closed out of the planning and decision-making loop. Yesterday it was explained to me that they did it "to avoid the confusion of too many contacts", which does make sense. Actually, the chairperson is definitely doing the lion's share of the work. I will give her full credit for that. My main job is preparing the student participants and also being a guide and interpreter while we're in Australia. I don't mind doing either of those tasks.

    Once everybody found out there was work...all of a sudden you are back in.

    It's true that I've tended to become indispensable only when there's lots of busy work and/or Aussie English. I don't think I was ever really out, though. The principal seemed (on the surface) to be ready and willing to let me resign from the project, but the deputy principal made it clear he wasn't going to let me go easily. He was the most visibly upset by my declaration. I never even mentioned the issue to the chairperson until our discussion yesterday, but I'm sure the deputy principal must have told her (since I named her as my main reason for wanting out). She was clearly upset, and she said that without my participation the project is pretty much over. I'll take that as a reaffirmation of my value and try to be optimistic.


    Oh, yes. Absolutely. When I was a child I always went into the kitchen while my mother was preparing a meal and demanded she cook me something different, forcing her to drop everything and go back to the supermarket. But I always got what I asked for, yassir, and I always showed my gratitude by bringing most of the dishes back only half-eaten if not uneaten and giving my mother a detailed, point-by-point complaint as to why every one of them was flawed. Either that or I made off with all the food my father had bought for his breakfast, never mind the fact that I earned more money than him because of my massive pension and stock holdings and had six refrigerators and a kitchen twice as large as his stocked with food I'd bought myself! Oh, yes, I did ALL those things, so NOW IT'S ONLY RIGHT FOR THEM TO EXPECT US TO LET THEM DO THE SAME, RIGHT?

    Actually, if I'd tried to do even ONE of those things my mother probably would have sent me to bed without any supper if not tanned my backside with a wooden spoon, and it would have served me right! But I can't do that to my in-laws now, can I?

    Find a convenient orifice and stuff it.

    Oh, and welcome back!

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 10:50 PM  

  • A running theme?
    Yellow Sand, Wet Sand ...

    I love galloping on wet sand

    By Blogger QUASAR9, at 11:00 PM  

  • and making love
    on the hot sand under the blue moon

    By Blogger QUASAR9, at 11:00 PM  

  • Moody, understand your compromised position. They seem to have you wrapped around their fingers. Does your FIL know how to cook? Anyhow, parents can be demanding. I do think you and your wife should set a few simple terms if this is going to continue. Otherwise your life will continue to be a pain.

    By Blogger Pa've, at 2:53 AM  

  • Question: aren't your wells covered?...or how does the sand get in, if the well is underground..unless they are rain barrel type things?

    Sorry about the in-law stuff, perhaps your wife can consider the word "No, not today-I've already got dinner going"...I know you'd back her up!

    Several family members we have are vegetarian, have allergies, or chronic stomach problems. But they don't live next door, and their visits are far enough in advance I usually have something on hand to feed them.

    My father WON'T ask for anything (although he's had some weird stomach thing for more than a year now), and will try to eat whatever I fix.

    By Blogger ladybug, at 9:35 AM  

  • Be tolerant of your In-laws as their SIL or daughter! (A patient just left from hospital, still needs time to adapt food. May be your In-laws personalities recovered as youthful vigor for teasing you now ;-)

    Try comfort or show understanding to your wife as her SO.

    By Anonymous Spirit, at 3:52 PM  

  • I'm not sure I would have had so much patience bearing all those stuff! In the end this situation turned out to be very tiring to u and yr wife. But at the same time it's kinda hard to turn 'em down... *sigh*

    By Anonymous Ă…ngele, at 1:25 AM  

  • Where have I been? Hmm...

    Our well - which is our sole source of water, has gotten harder to pump - ie the water table is lower. Not due to the weather, but the bleeping retirees who are moving out here from the big city and building houses on what used to be farmland. If this keeps up we'll have no water and nothing to eat as well, just lots of traffic. It sucks. I seem to be reliving the boom times of southern California from my childhood, and that ain't a good thing to see happen to this area.

    PS - mend your fences with barbed wire.

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 5:04 PM  

  • hmmm.. all about impermanence and the practice..

    and yes, easier said than done..

    and reading down one of your post below... yes, cancer is so dreadful.

    By Blogger Robin, at 5:29 PM  

  • Moody, I'm too new to your blog to know exactly what's been going on at Ye Olde Academy. Sorry to hear of the stresses, but it sounds like you're really needed there to maintain a degree of sanity!

    The in-law situation--how trying! Didn't I read that you and your wife are up for sainthood?

    By Blogger San, at 7:17 AM  

  • Nooo I lost my comment just now!

    Anyway, I don't know how you do it - maintain your sanity between the demands and vagaries of Ye Olde Academy, and the ubiquitous in-laws.

    I admire your ability to remain optimistic, creative, and seemingly balanced in spite of it all.

    Well done you...

    By Blogger Olivia, at 10:23 AM  

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