Where in the world do you live? Are you from there?
I live in Yokohama, Japan, which is part of the greater metro-Tokyo area (but don’t tell anyone I said that! Yokohama citizens have a lot of pride.) I’ve lived in Japan for eleven years, ten of those in Yokohama.
My family moved around a bit when I was a child, but when people ask me where I’m from I say “Georgia.” It sounds pretty and it’s more or less the truth; I lived there for seven years. When Japanese people ask me where I’m from I simply say “America.”
What languages do you speak?
I speak English and Japanese. My spoken Japanese is fluent I guess, though I would never be mistaken for a native. Japanese is a notoriously difficult language to read and write, with two different phonetic alphabets consisting of 47 letters each, plus about 2000 commonly used Chinese characters (called kanji). With both alphabets down pat and a little over half the kanji, I’m proud to say I can read better than my first grader. (more…)
If you ask Melanie Oda where she is from, she will answer "Georgia." (Unless you ask her in Japanese. Then she will say "America.") It sounds nice, and it's a one-word answer, which is what most people expect. The truth is more complex. She moved around several small towns in the south growing up. Such is life when your father is a Southern Baptist preacher of the hellfire and brimstone variety.
She came to Japan in 2000 as an assistant language teacher, and has never managed to leave. She currently resides in Yokohama, on the outskirts of Tokyo (but please don't tell anyone she described it that way! Citizens of Yokohama have a lot of pride). No one is more surprised to find her here, married to a Japanese man and with two bilingual children (aged four and seven), than herself. And possibly her mother.
You can read more about her misadventures in Asia on her blog, HamakkoMommy.
Call it Mummy amnesia, but I’m certain that our older two children were, well, older when they began to insist on doing things “myself.”
Our lovely Mr Butterfly is the grand old age of two and has insisted on doing things himself for a few months now. Once again I am faced with the mixed emotions of delight (that he wants to do things for himself and often can) and horror (at the things he wants to attempt).
Climbing has been a regular fixture in our family. Mr Hare (nine) spends a good portion of his life a-top tall trees, and Mr Owl was months old when he began climbing chairs to get on to the top of the dining table. I have strategies (mostly involving selected blindness and deep breathing) for dealing with the climbing.
It’s been a long time since we’ve fed Mr Butterfly, and cleaning up the mess beneath his chair, on his chair, beside his chair, on the front of the table, the side of the table and the top of the table, are simply part of my regular after meal routine. We have plasters and hugs a plenty, so in our house small people using scissors and knives is really no big deal. (more…)