Monday, 28 July 2008

Mini Break??

Yesterday and today were our Beppu Fireworks Mini Break Extraveganza / Bonanza. Who ever came up with the word 'Mini Break' was probably a single working woman who thinks life is so hard that a three day weekend is the answer to all her prayers - a chance to drink too much, smoke fags on the side and shag her boss, who may or may not be called Daniel.

Last night was our first whole family 'Mini Break' away. Having a mini 'break' implies that you are getting away from normal routine and actually getting a 'break' of some sort. Think that families should be allowed to rename it to a 'mini more' as infact end up doing a lot 'more' than when staying at home. Families of toddlers and babies may call it a 'Mini fricken nightmare' and families of toddlers and babies and mother in laws are entitled to go the whole hog and call it a 'Mini fuck right off Break'

We have all arrived in one piece back in Kunimi - but only because I was not in possession of any crushable drugs that could slip into Granny K's green tea.

I knew from the start she didn't really want to go. Hub told her more than asked her. But still, it was a night away, a chance to do some shopping in Tokiwa, the department store to end all department stores in the eyes of anyone over sixty, and the chance to have a leisurely soak in a nice hot spring and spend night in fully paid for hotel. Before I go on, this will be a lengthy post so if you have just dropped in for a few seconds in between writing emails and ordering crap bollocks things you just have to have off amazon and the like then I appologise.

We left yesterday at about half one - timed so that both kiddies could have nap in car for two hours. Leaving the house got my slightly frazzled (defininte understatement) but we still managed to make it out the door in an efficient manner and I don't even think the neighbours heard my shouts of 'you're a grown man, how hard can it be to pack your own toothbrush??' (minus about ten obscenities in both Japanese and English'.

We arrive at hotel at just after three. Get shown to our room - two tatami rooms with an 'engawa' corridor waste of space bit (but perfect size for portable baby bed), toilet and century old bath and shower. The hotel was obviously very popular forty years ago. There were ornante vases and flower arrangements scattered around the room on low tables. I spent the first 43 seconds putting all breakable shite up high. The young lady who showed us to our room - casually slinging 12kg porta cot over arm (which may well cut all circulation) - then proceeded to pretend to set the aircon and pour the three adults some HOT green tea. Hmmmmmm. I know it's probably in their employment manual but do we really need three hot cups on the low table, with a toddler running rampage, in 35 degree heat, and an aircon that appears to be as old as the rest of the building?

Ten minutes later and we are all out the door - as is cooler outside and we are headed for much much cooler pastures, namely Tokiwa. Marina and I were meeting a friend for coffee at Starbucs, Granny K was just happy browsing - cause god knows it must be pretty 'in' to browse Tokiwa, and hub and Shou were off to the new 'YOUME' department store to bide time in the kiddies corner and eat shaved ice.

Marina and I met my friend from years gone by when worked at APU, a local university that claims to be a leader in the fostering and nurturing of international minded people cabable of working on the international stage. Ahem. Taken straight off marketing pamphlet. Might have mentioned before that she (friend from APU) is the sister in law of the man in Kunimi who is doing the dirty with a woman who is mother of one of the kids I used to teach English to. The man is married with three kids. His wife is the teacher of the daughter of the woman who is shagging her husband. The woman has a husband who is in China on business - for three years. All very very days of our lives. Anwyay, a grande coffee frappucino later and we had swapped all necessary gossip - all very hush hush you understand. Marina was very intent on just sucking in second hand coffee fumes and listening to the cogs of 'inaka' (rural) Japan gossip in action.

Sooo, to slightly digress from mini break extraveganza news...

The wife has FINALLY kicked the husband out of the family house. He is now living with his mother, who knows what is going on but who tells everyone that her son needs looking after because he gets panic attacks - she can't talk about 'IT' because son starts hyperventilating, as you would when your life as you know it is about to change because you can't keep you small Japanese willy (just a myth by the way) in your pants. His eldest son is saying he isn't going to go to high school and instead wants to pursue life as baseball player. He HATES his father - even though the real reason daddy dearest has moved out of home hasn't been officially told to the kids. The wife, god love her, still really really loves her husband. Even though she knew about the affair she was shocked to find out that most of Kunimi also knew - and this led to her decision to kick hubby out - hubby who claims that he never really felt like he belonged at home anyway. Sob sob sob. Silly man. Sort that out before you start frequenting the neon palmtree love hotel two towns over aye?? As far as gossip antenna can pick up the two lovebirds have not seen each other since he was kicked out of home.

Anwyay, enough rubbish. Back to the important stuff...

After my coffee I went back to the hotel to feed Marina. Hub, Granny K and Shou decided to go off for eel (Granny K's suggestion). However, it started raining something chronic, thunder and lightening, the works. So, the three of them decide to stay in Tokiwa. Apparantly Shou acted slightly disgracefully - quite like a two year old would, which led Granny K to say, on their return to the hotel, that she was not going to look after both of them so that Hub and I could go out. The plan had always been to put both kids to bed and then go out - in fact the going out bit for us was the highlight of, and almost the decision behind, spending four hundred dollars for the night away. We were going to go to some of our old haunts back from the days of when we were young and in love. Actually I take that back. Hub was never young.

So, after they have had their nice hot spring I put Marina to sleep and Hub and I take Shou down to the fireworks. Half the population of Beppu and possibly the entire prefecuture is there and so the heat, combined with the bloody push chair and the long lines for the 'nama' beer (on tap) didn't make for a night of holding hands and oohing and ahhing at the fireworks. Hub went off in search of beverages and Shou and I made a mad escape back to the main road to try a different route. We ended up with luke warm can beer and a ten centermetre slab of concrete to perch my big ass while we waited the extra twenty minutes for the fireworks to start. Once they started though Shou was enthralled. We stayed for half an hour and then took advantage of Shou's good mood, despite being two hours past his bed time, to head into town. ALL the old haunts were closed (Sunday night) so we ended up at beer restaurant where we had a few cervasas and some fried chicken, chillied shrimp and cheesey potato. Was actually very nice and Shou remained entertained by seeing how many toothpicks he could poke into the salt shaker.

We arrived back to the hotel in good spirits to find that Granny K had been sitting the whole time with Marina asleep in her arms because she cried when she tried to put her to sleep on the futon' and she couldn't reach down far enough to put her in the porta-cot - which was a bit baffling because how did she get her out of the cot in the first place. She obviously only pulls out the go go gadget arms when she feels like it. Marina was fast alseep so I put her into her cot and we got ready for bed. Shou went to sleep witout much of a hassle but spent whole night trying to sleep horizontally across all three pillows and sleep talking about his toy police car. Needless to say hub and I got very little sleep.

The buffet type breakfast was another saga on its own. Somehow managed to feed shou while Marina was sucking back a bottle after being feed mash in the hotel room.

Hub decides we have to go to 'Rakutenchi' an amusement park built in the seventies on a hill in Beppu that is closing down at the end of August (hill not closing down, amusement park is). We go. Shou has blast in run down ball park while daddy takes a nap.

Granny K was outside entertaining Marina.

This photo is scary. Marina is definately part 'Granny K'.

We stayed for about an hour, saw some penguines, a couple of monkeys, some flamingos, rode on the thomas the tank engine bumper car (was highlight of trip)and had some shaved ice and icecream. We then had to carry the pushchair back down the stairs to the cable car - the only way to get up the hill.

We then departed Beppu and both kids slept the whole way home. It may not seem that was such a disaster - and in some ways it was some fun, but there would have been a lot less 'you stupid old bitch' moments had Granny K not been present. And at the end of the day we didn't get our 'lets go out and have some drinkies and bring back the love' time alone together anyway. I know I probably sound selfish that that was why we took Granny K with us in the first place but god the woman complains about everything (says I who has just finished blogging long list of complaints!!).

It's too hot to be driving all the way to Beppu
The hotel is too expensive (she wasn't paying for anything anyway)
It's too hot to have a hot spring (I agree but she is Japanese- she was born in a fricken onsen (hot spring)
I don't feel like anything for dinner but I guess if we have to I could force down some eel which I actually do like but only if it's on a bed of rice.
No way can stay in hotel room with two sleeping children even if am only phone call away and five minute walk for us away if either of them so much as 'ahem' in their sleep.

Anway, here we are. Everyone else is in bed. These times make me want English more and more though so I am waiting to watch 'Regensis' at 10 o'clock, even though I did spend a very enjoyable couple of hours this afternoon at New Zealand friends house for her son's birthday with Shou. Was good fun - so much so that blogging about it would spoil effect of Granny K being the worst Mini Break companion in the history of mini breaks.



illahee said...

i am really loving your blog! rotfl. sorry you didn't get your alone time with your husband (bloody MIL; can i say that??)

marianne said...

LMAO and sorry to at your expense!But bloody hell,MIL plus mini-break??! I can see the reasoning behind her joining you and just sorry that you didn't get your coupley night out.Maybe next time??!

gaijin wife said...

There will never be a mini break extraveganza next time!! well, at least not until the kids are a bit older and perhaps I can pay one of the local girls I teach English to to come with us and babysit. My sister suggested booking a hotel with babysitting facilities. LOL. Only mothers in Japan know what a crazy suggestion this is as never in history of Japanese hotels has there been one with babysitting facilities.

Please feel free to rubbish Granny K. Might make me feel less guilty!!

Nay said...

Your blogs lately always seem to make me laugh!!! Im sorry your trip away didnt go as well as you would have preferred!! I could just imagine my future(omg, only 5 weeks away, WAHOO!!) MIL acting like that... Im sure I will be writing posts like this one somedays down the track. Luckily I dont have to live with mine though - I dont know how you do it!

illahee said...

p.s., i forgot to mention that i LOVED the the bridget jones reference. i knew it was going to be a good post right from

Midori said...

See the more I think about it, the more there is a business opportunity waiting to happen from your post- we totally need to set up a hotel in japan with babysitting services. More and more families are in need of that kind of thing these days! LOL!

Sorry about the ruination of your plans. I would have been gutted as well if I had been in your shoes. I also think it is ridiculous of her to refuse to look after the kids. After all, she lives with you so at the end of the day they are just as used to her as they are to you and your H so I don't understand what her issue was.. crazy.