28 March 2009
The Puppy Blues
I talked to my dad last night online and it seems that my parents are on their way to Japan! They had to leave yesterday even though they'll finally here on the 31st, which is this next Tuesday. Hope their travel goes smoothly as possible, and hope they're not too brain-dead when they arrive! Yikes.
Yesterday I tutored Nodoka again at the Bell City mall. When I had first met with the whole family with my father-in-law, the original plan was to teach at their house, but so far I have only done it at the mall. I have one more tutoring meeting with Takeshi's fellow co-worker, Miki, at the Starbucks in the mall, this coming Monday. So far I am only being paid to tutor Nodoka; I am helping Miki to learn conversational English and whatnot for certain tests/exams that she has to pass for school. What I don't get in payment from Miki is made up in gifts she has brought me so far! The last time she came (which was our first meeting) she handed me this huge paper shopping bag, which her mum has stuffed with tons of vegetables, for me to have! We got 1 head of cabbage, 5 carrots, 1 huge daikon radish, and a cluster of some kind of leafy green vegetable which Takeshi can't even identify yet. Miki said told me last time that when we meet this coming Monday she would make me a matcha cake and bring it for me! Sometimes I'm still surprised by the gifts that Japanese people can bestow on you, to show their gratitude. It makes me feel bashful and kind of unworthy to get so much stuff!
Recently Takeshi has found more sources and references to turn to information about the visa/green card we want to obtain. He's been talking to some people he found online who have gone through the same process we are trying to go through, with getting a U.S. visa or green card while living here in Japan, before we start looking for a place to move to in the States. We have already set up a date for the initial step and acceptance of the I-130 form, at the consulate office at the embassy in Tokyo. We will have to go to Tokyo in person on the 20th of April at 2pm. So things are progressing there, even though, at this point in time, neither of us have any idea of where we will be going to in the States, since we don't know when to expect to get the visa/green card for him. We were given a little bit of good news from the people he's been speaking to, when they said the process took a lot less time when they did it through the Tokyo or Naha embassy here in Japan, instead of mailing/shipping forms back and forth to the USCIS in the States. Takeshi and I will definitely be dealing with the Tokyo embassy instead of the Naha embassy, since Naha is in Hokkaido, which is even farther away from us.
Since coming here to Japan I figured that I'd have a harder time finding clothes, shoes, etc. that would fit me, since I view Japan as "The Country of Small-Bodied Women". On average, Japanese women are teeny tiny! I've already had problems with finding tops and t-shirts that fit me, because my shoulders is wider across than the women here. Everything else with the shirt is fine but the shoulders on these things NEVER are long enough for me! Grrr. A while ago I had to buy a pair of MEN'S jeans, since my waist/hips/thighs were too big for the women's jeans. Now, trying on clothes has gotten a lot better because I've been able to lose about 5 lbs. (about 2.27 kgs.) since first arriving in Japan. Yay for me!
But just recently I had to go out and buy some new bras for myself and AGAIN found trouble. I thought that buying bras here in Japan would be way easier than pants and shoes and such, but nooooo. I went to the mall and found that Japan has a different size system for their women's bras than the U.S, does. It turns out that when I take my U.S. bra size to Japan, the bra size is bumped up to some of the biggest sizes they have! It makes me feel like I have huge boobs or something, when I actually don't. But I guess, compared to the average Japanese woman, I do have bigger boobs. Haha. So, I ended up trying on many bras that day, and each time I thought it would fit, I would have to go back and pick out a bigger size. GRRR. At the end I actually just gave up for that day and left with nothing. I stopped at a certain size, and promised myself that I'd have to come back another day and try on the rest of the bigger sizes they sold. Ugh. I hope THOSE fit. I wonder if there are any plus-size store here for women. I may just have to rely on it! When I tried on the bras, it wasn't the cup size that was too small, but the strap that goes around you to connect in the back. Now, I may STILL be pudgy on some parts of me, but that area where the bra strap is, doesn't have ANY extra pudge. I couldn't believe it! I was thinking, "What is this? Do I have a bigger rib cage than Japanese women now...?" It really, really frustrated me, and I left store, literally grumbling to myself.
"Stupid Japanese women and their tiny ribs, and tiny lungs, or whatever.....grrrrrrr."
Yes I am a crazy foreigner lady....Oh well. I'll try again sometime. I was telling TK about my unsuccessful shopping trip that day when he got home and I was saying, "Do I have loose even MORE weight before I can wear clothes in Japan, at all?!"
Anyway, to change the subject, the other day I ended up watching an episode of Oprah on Youtube. I don't watch Oprah but I saw an episode that was about puppy mills and animal shelters. Long story short, that footage made me cry! I usually am not one to get teary-eyed that easily when watching anything, but I am an animal/pet-lover and it made me so sad. I remember thinking about my own family's dog, Daisy (a Bichon Frise), who lives with a neighbor of ours in the States, and how much I still love her and miss being able to see her. I have always had a dog around so I miss having one. The episode also talked about animal shelters and how they have to euthanize so many cats and dogs all the time, because not enough people will adopt them, and there becomes no more space to house them all. Abandoned cats and dogs, that people didn't want or couldn't keep, and pets that had been abused and then rescued.
I am determined to get a Chihuahua puppy someday, and I always thought of picking one out of a pet store, but after seeing that episode, my view was changed. I am making a personal promise to myself that whatever dog(s) that I get in the future will come from a shelter. I remember my mum taking my brother and I to the SPCA in Maryland when I was younger, and walking through it, seeing all of the dogs and cats waiting for homes.
The other day I did a search on Google for 'animal shelters in Japan' and found this shelter's website:
They are called Animal Refuge Kansai (ARK), and they are located in Osaka. I don't know how long we'll be in Japan, and if I'll end up adopting a dog from a Japanese animal shelter or not, but this place looks like a wonderful place for rescued dogs and cats to be. So, like I said, my views have changed about where to get a dog from, and hopefully anyone who reads this will consider it as well. I feel that it is a great thing to choose to adopt a dog or cat in need of a loving home, who has not had the best life so far, and who may be euthanized in the future if they cannot find a hero in one of us.