Leaving Japan

After nearly two years in Japan the time has come for us to return back to the States. I have not written anything on the blog because living abroad has stripped me of my northwestmomminess. So in order to not sound anti-American I have avoided sounding anything at all. Let me explain.

Living in Japan has reminded me of how it feels to be part of your society, how it feels to fit in, to be included. Most of us bloggers found our voice because we didn’t fit the norm. Moms speaking up on motherhood, people moving abroad, women defying standards, men choosing to stay home, photographers embracing the new era of picture taking, families traveling on a budget, homeschooling, adopting, marrying same sex partners… You name it. Most blogs are born out of the need to explain how we are negotiating change or challenging times. For me I started writing when we moved to USA. Although I relocated to Washington state as a US citizen and I lived abroad most of my adult life I was an outsider. Perhaps growing up watching sitcoms Americans seemed to us Europeans just like us except more free spirited, opinionated and with bigger cars but once I made America my home I realized the main difference is not how we act but how we think.

In Europe, much like Japan we celebrate togetherness and achievements as a society. We strive to work and contribute to society first and in the process find personal success and fortune. If we do not achieve these we don’t stand out tremendously because when it comes to basic human needs they are met and not having more then your neighbor is not viewed as a failure but more as a personal choice. I’m sure this could be disputed, it’s just how I was brought up and how I see my friends still living back home and it is how I perceive Japanese who quietly commute on the train, politely greet each other on hiking trails and go out of their way to not inconvenience others.

In America we are taught you can be anything you set your mind to because you are fortunate to live in the land of opportunity. In order to do that you must work hard on yourself and by yourself yet the measure of how successful you end up being is set by society. And that measure lets be honest is to end up being a rich, white guy…

So after we moved to Japan I became European again. I went around every day fitting in. No longer did I have funny stories of me trying to negotiate through daily life because everything fell in place. I might look different, don’t speak the language and perhaps struggle remembering with all the etiquette differences but when I look around I see my people. They act like me and think like me and that is why I am sad to leave for sure.

On the bright side I will no doubt find our new city challenging so stay tuned 🙂

Entrepreneur

On Sunday my son informed me Big M stinks.

I agreed. The only way to resolve this situation was to brush him. You have seen my dog right?

In case you have not:

Brushing him is hard work. It takes forever and you are never done. It takes strength. Patience. Unfortunately the dog has strength and I have patience. It would be better if that was reversed. And Little J, well he has neither.

But to my surprise he suggested we go and brush the dog. Probably because his bedtime was approaching. Not that I minded.

We pinned Big M down on the back porch and each holding a detangler brush we tackled opposite sides of dog.

A while later we had two bags full of hair, three doggy treats less and a dog on the run.

Little J: Mommy I think we should do something with this hair.

Me: Not sure you can recycle dog hair.

Little J: No, we should use it to make a sweater.

Me: ?!??

Little J: You know, like llama hair.

Me: I know. But we don’t know how to spin it into yarn.

Little J: Maybe we can find someone who can. Then sell them the hair.

Me: Where would we go about looking for someone like that?

Little J: Your computer.

Me: And then?

Little J: We keep making our dog fancy. Then we sell the hair and they make sweaters. People are warm, I get new toys and my dog smells nice.

Guess that is what you call a win-win situation.

Disclaimer: I have absolutely no idea how my son knew about hair, yarn and sweater making. But I found this:

Anyone needs some fur?!

Monday Listicles

Happy Monday!

I am in total shock that it is end of May already. Are you all looking forward to summer? I know Jen is!

Last week you all warmed my heart. Even my husband was amazed that no bashing occurred in your lists about 10 things that husbands should. I just hope all the men out here understood that this does not mean we will quit nagging; but only cause we love you.

Before I call the next weeks topic I just wanted to say thank you. For being my friends, inspiring writers and great list makers. I am so excited to have you join me each week with your wonderful stories and fun comments. So naturally next weeks topic…has nothing to do with all this. I say make: LIST OF 10 SUMMER MEMORIES.

First thing is first though. Here comes this week’s listicle. Home edition.

Make a list, check it twice, link it up. Read others. Have fun!

 

 

10 WORDS THAT DESCRIBE OUR HOME

1. Happy

2. Messy

3. Cozy

4. Sunny

5. Neighborly

6. Appelized ( revised to appleized )

7. Loving

8. Warm

9. Sustainable

10. Ours