As I write this, the news from the U.S. says that Bush won Florida

and the outlook is not good.

My condolences.

Maybe we should stay in Japan for another 4 years? yikes.

Autumn Tidbits

Halloween and Mia’s birthday were the two big events of this month.

Mia’s birthday was great. We had a Jack o Lantern pinata and many

children over to our apartment. (andit took all 12 of the children to

actually break open the Pinata. Finally Naoto had to cheat and tear

it open with his hands)

Halloween was not so great. Mia got freaked out by the older

children’s scary costumes and screamed to go home. We had gone to the

local U.S. military base and were in base housing. She was okay for

the first two houses. Then some rubber masked boys came by. Even when

they took their masks off so she could see they were boys underneath

she wailed.

Ah well, there’s always next year.

On Monday, I went to Tama Midori kindergarten to put in an

application for Mia for next spring. I went to the front hall, handed

in my application, bowed to the vice-principal (who’s married to the

principal), paid my 35 dollars, and received a receipt for Mia’s

interview time.

Yes, she (and I) will be interviewed for kindergarten. Then they will

let us know by mail if we are accepted or not. The odds are good we

will be accepted, but I am still making Naoto practice questions like

“What is your name” and “where do you live” and “what is your

favorite color” in Japanese with Mia this week. She can answer all

those in English fairly well, but I am worried about her Japanese.

I am also worried about MY Japanese. What do I do if they ask me

something like “so please explain in detail your methods of child

rearing so far and how your goals relate to Tama Midori’s goals for

students” or even “what will your child bring to the Tama Midori

family?” or what if they ask “name your and your husband’s entire

scholastic history”?

What am I going to wear? What should Mia wear? Please don’t let me

forget to bring her “inside shoes” for the school! What if Mia

spontaneously gets Japanese Amnesia and throws up on the Vice


Ye gods, what am I getting myself into?

The kindergarten saga begins. And Kindergarten doesn’t actually start

until next April!

I am currently addicted to two Autumn treats (meaning they come out

in autumn and are seasonal) here in Japan: white coffee and marinated

pork buns.

“White Coffee” is the brand name of a milk coffee product from

Yakult. I quote from the bottle “tasty coffee and smooth milk. A

great combination. Enjoy your WHITE COFFEE.” On the side of the can

is a Starbuck’s inspired checklist of things including “coffee”,

“decaf”, “milk”, and “topping.”

Of course you can’t really put a topping in a can, and neither can

you actually buy decaf coffee in Japan (other than at rare specialty

stores.) So of course only the “milk” and “coffee” are checked. In

case you were confused by “white coffee” and weren’t sure what you

were actually getting. But you have to speak English in order to

figure all this stuff out.

Marinated pork buns are this year’s marketing twist on the

chinese-style steamed buns that appear on schedule in Autumn at

convenience stores everywhere in Japan. They are sold in these

little, glass cases that keep them warmed and gooey.

Also available are pizza steamed buns, cheese steamed buns, seafood

gratin and chocolate steamed buns.

But the marinated pork are the best!

love and light,


p.s. on the writing front, a story of mine titled “The Wind Knew

Her Name” is currently being published in the paper ‘zine “Flytrap


It is a story about an ESL teacher married to a Japanese guy in

Chiba, Japan. She finds herself helping an ancient spirit court one

of her surfer students who has a terrible secret.