I have to say that the amorphous nature of words, and how people can have miscommunications despite using the same vocabulary, is something fairly salient to my life.
I mean, my husband is a non-native English speaker, yes, but more than that, he’s a computer geek/sports jock. Sometimes I wonder if we even inhabit the same dimension.
Anyway, this entry isn’t about Naoto, although I could probably fill up a year’s worth of blogs about our non-communication problems, it’s about making bentos.
Yes, bentos. A Japanese Mommy was over at my house this week, and I was asking her how her daughter’s all-day Kindergarten was going with the expectation that she would say this year was easier because she had more time to do her part time work during the day.
But she didn’t. She sighed and looked harried. She said one of the big issues right now is having to make a bento for her daughter every day. Making a bento every day was really a chore for her.
I kind of blinked at her. I mean, she’d made one three days a week all last year, right? Why was it such a big change?
Well it turns out that part of the problem was that her daughter was going to the public kindergarten, and so she didn’t want to embarass her by putting “strange” Japanese foods in her bento and so she’d been making a ham sandwhich every day, but her daughter was tired of ham sandwhiches.
So I was all like “peanut butter and jelly?” And the mommy said she couldn’t because a classmate had a severe peanut allergy. So I was all like “cream cheese and jelly?, cream cheese and cucumber? tomato and bacon? cheese and apple?”
I guess I hadn’t realized how difficult it would be for a person not brought up in the sandwhich culture of the US to figure out sandwhiches….
But then she revealed the major part of her bento stress. I asked her how long it took to make her daughter’s bento.
I blinked at her again. 30 minutes? It takes me like 15 mintues to make Naoto’s and girl2’s bento together, and that’s including 13 minutes of chicken nugget baking time.
My mind literally couldn’t encompass how making a school lunch would take 30 minutes. No wonder she was having stress!
Apparently, in Sagittarian, anything goes to just get a job done, Kirsten-world, washing lettuce carfully, patting it dry, cutting crusts of bread, arranging things just so in little tin foil cups, etc. is not the way things are done.
But Japanese mommy felt she had to do this. Even those this particular Japanese mommy has lived in Portland FOREVER!
You can take the girl out of Japan, but you can’t take the Japan out of the girl.