Girls, girls, girls

A conversation via text message between two girlfriends around 10:30pm one weeknight:

H: I have this slight problem in that I can’t find my pants

N: Ya

N: Ha.

N: I—- [her daughter] scraped her knee and got blood all over mine

N: Which reminds me to move those to the dryer

H: 😂

[thirty minutes later]…

H: Ah! I’m almost certain that they are sitting on the shelf in my office 😂

You know, the usual place to keep one’s blue jeans. 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Clean seats

When I arrived at the hotel this morning (the hotel in which we stayed two nights ago, but not last night), I headed first for the bathroom – 1)I was there early for the event I was photographing, and 2)I have to pee just about every hour, anyway, and sometimes even more often.

I walked into the first stall, and discovered that I was the first person to be using that stall and toilet for the day – the seat was up.

It filled me with a bit of nostalgic excitement, as I recalled my elementary school days of being the first to use a freshly cleaned toilet at school (you know, the little ones with stalls that only go a few feet high, so the teachers can help out if needed).

I always loved it, and I found myself wanting to give someone else the joy of discovering that she was the first to use the toilet since it was cleaned, so I started actually putting the toilet seat back up after I used it (and yes, I was always very careful to be clean when using the toilet, so it was practically still perfectly clean anyway [and yes, I know it is totally absurd at the same time as sweet]).

That way, whoever came in next could be as delighted as I had been upon discovering a freshly cleaned toilet.

I never allowed that someone might do the same thing I was doing, because, well, I frankly knew it was a little crazy… I didn’t mind, though – I just wanted people to be pleased, and this was one little way in which I could offer that.

I briefly considered that it wasn’t actually still perfectly clean anymore, since I had used it, but that also wasn’t the point… I hadn’t actually dirtied the toilet, and so I found no reason not to allow someone to be delighted at a fresh toilet nonetheless.

Also, I think I secretly thought no one consciously cared about the toilet being freshly cleaned, but more that they cared in a fun away about being the first to do something, even if that something were using a toilet on a given day… so the cleanliness wasn’t exactly relevant in the first place with what I was doing.

You know what I mean?

Anyway, this morning, I had a sudden curiosity as to whether someone had done what I had done in elementary school, but I quickly – immediately, actually – dismissed it as just about impossible, because, again, frankly, people aren’t really weird like that… that’s a Hannah thing, mostly.

Also, I don’t even do it anymore, as an adult, so I really don’t see any other adults being that weird in their behaviors…. you know?

So, anyway, I got to use a fresh and clean toilet this morning, even though it was way late morning (close to noon!) and I thoroughly enjoyed the fun of it.

I also enjoyed how, upon leaving my stall, I saw that the first stall on the other side of the row was also unused so far for the day.

Fun, fun, fun, I mentally thought.

And then, of course, Dork…haha…

A good morning, I dare say. 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Mass, Cats, and Weimaraners

Do you remember Wegman’s Weimaraners, the beautiful pictures and skits of the Weimaraner dogs with human arms?  (William Wegman started all of that.  Here’s an example.)  And we hopefully all know the musical Cats.  (Look up some photos quickly, if you need a frame of reference for the picture to have in your head of the style.)

Now, today at Mass, both of these things were relevant.  My mom and I have had a somewhat silly time in Mass together the past several years, mostly due to a little book we found at, I believe, a dollar store.  (It was a book of comic-type frames, based on The Bible and Christianity, and was entitled According to the Good Book.  I can tell more about that another time, though.)  We do not actively seek out distractions, of course, but we do inform the other if ever there is something truly worth noticing.  This morning, after the priest had pointed out some facts relating to the scene choices of the stained glass windows, my mom leans over to me, and whispers that, “Baby Jesus has adult hands,” and “Saint Joseph is a lion… He was in Cats.”

Momentarily unable to comprehend, I noticed that she was looking at one of the windows.  Sure enough, she was right.  I let her know that I agreed with her, and that the baby Jesus reminded me of the Weimaraners with human arms.  We said nothing more, but both struggled to calm ourselves from the our silent, trembling laughter.

A while later, the little girl in front of us, did something wonderful.  She had already tickled us to silent chuckles earlier with an adorable, “Let us praaay,” mimicking even the tones of the priest, immediately after he had said it, as well as her unreal timing with leaning backward in her mother’s arms.  During the singing of the Amens after the whole bread and wine changing to body and bread deal, the music powerful and faith being declared strongly through song, we look up to see this little girl facing her mother, held around the waist in her mother’s arms, leaning back as far as possible, arms draped down, hanging limply behind her, and her head dropped back… at the last “Amen”, she raised her arms straight up in the air, as though praying to and praising the great Lord above.  It was truly beautiful, despite the comedy of the timing of her actions.

So now, this little girl, just as Mass is almost finished, finds the little envelopes at the end of the pew.  The envelopes are for collection (donations) to the Church for a specific cause, and the cause was labeled with a golden starburst-shaped seal on the front of each envelope.  When she finds the envelopes, she grabs them, and scoots back toward her older brother, and declares quietly, “I got invites!”  The priest says another line or two, and then we hear her say, “Should we go?”  I think my mom and I instantly began crying with laughter.

Another few moments later, we hear the brother say, “Your party lipstick,” and we see him doing her lipstick for her with a fake lipstick.  I comment to my mother that ‘I bet Cats is playing at the party.’  And we continued crying with laughter.

Now, I am aware that this is not ideal Mass behavior, as we are well taught as children.  We are nonetheless human, and so we have our little tidbits of fun at Mass here and there.  Besides, it is a beautiful art to find unsuspecting joys in unsuspecting places.  And come on, who wouldn’t agree that Saint Joseph must have been in Cats, based on that window?
The Nativity, as portrayed by today’s lovely stained glass window

The “Party Invitation”

Post-a-day 2017

Nara, kiddos, and Buddha boogers

Yesterday, my mom and brother and I went to Nara, a small-ish town near Osaka.  It is filled with deer who roam freely around the town (though they tend to stay in the park-like areas more often than around cars, we definitely saw one jumping out of the street shortly after we arrived).  On the train there, for our last transfer, we ended up on a train that was clearly filled with school trips, specifically elementary school class trips.  

The train cars had normal people siting in all the seats, but the standing room was waist-to-chest-high yellow hats, with the occasional red or white PE hats.  As the train arrived to one stop, the old lady sitting next to my mom got up and began squeezing slowly toward the door.  However, the mass of children playing paper-rock-scissors and giggling almost nonstop did not notice her silent entreaty to allow her to pass.  My brother solved that problem for her.

In Japanese and in his natural boomingly deep voice, he told the kids to move to the sides and make way.  With a single lotion of his arms, the sea parted, and the lady easily hobbled through and off the train.  What remained then was a still-parted sea, and about thirty pairs of staring eyes, gaping mouths, and seemingly paralyzed children around the ages of 7-9.

My mom and I chuckled openly at the tharn audience, whose minds had clearly been blown not only by the gaijin (foreigner) speaking Japanese, but by his general stature and look, as well.  5’9″, muscular, and shaved head make my brother quite the sight for kids, and even more so for Japanese kids.  One brave soul dared asking my brother a question (tat least I think they asked first, hough I don’t recall what question it was), and suddenly they were off.

My brother’s frozen onlookers were suddenly utter giddy, complete fans (think fangirl style).  For the rest of the ride, they talked with him nonstop, and the boys in the back who had pointed out my brother’s arm muscles even got to see him flex said muscles – he was labeled “macho muscly” by them.

When we all reached the station, – see, their trip was to the same place as we were headed for the day – the three of us went to the bathroom.  Coming out of the bathrooms, my mom and I were greeted by the kids who’d spoken the most to my brother on the train.

‘Where is he? The guy with the coffee, where did he go?’ I was asked in adorable and excited Japanese.

When my brother came back up the stairs from the bathrooms, I made sure he said goodbye once more to the little guy, as well as to the whole class, which was seated adorably in a perfect rectangular prism on the floor of the train station, waiting for the rest of the bathroom-goers before heading out.

In the temple (or was it a shrine?) that contains a very large Buddha, there is a specific, well-known pole.  It is one of the wooden post-poles used to keep the whole place standing, but one of the ones inside, just behind and to the Buddha’s left side.  In the bottom of this pole, a few inches off the ground, is a rectangular hole, narrower than it is high.  The pole is around four or five feet thick.  The hole is the size of the Buddha’s nostril.  Going through this hole is considered good luck, and, as a man standing nearby mentioned, also makes the passers-through Buddha boogers.

Naturally, the line for this hole was filled with children, topping out at about middle school aged kids, and only one parent and one teacher, each as supervision.  We, of course, joined the line.  As I watched a child be shoved through the hole by his teacher, and with some difficulty, I began doubting my brother’s statement that he was told adults could fit through the hole.

Slightly terrified and utterly uncertain, I slowly pushed my mom through, and my brother grabbed her arms on the other side and pulled her through.  At my turn, we were still doubtful, as my hips are even wider than my moms.  Kids watching around us exchanged expression of doubt with me as I squat down to attempt the hole myself.  But, we carefully checked my hips before pushing me all the way in, and they had enough space.  So, with a nice and strong pull from my brother and a relaxed body from me, I slid in through the pole, with only a bit of wood-burn on my right outer thigh.  The relief and surprise was noticeable around us.

And then, of course, we cautiously evaluated the width of my brother’s shoulders.  The faces around were shocked and enthralled.  He would need to remain relaxed, but he would fit with his arms straight up in front of him, as most everyone else went through the hole.  With a slow, hefty pulling on my part, strong arms from my brother, and pushing from my mom, we drew that boogie through that hole to safety and good fortune.  As we sighed and laughed with slight exhaustion, the whole surrounding crowd – for there was, indeed, a crowd at this point –  broke into applause and exclamations of joy and fascination.  I mean, come on, they struggled getting kids through that hole, and we just got a truly full-sized, muscular man through it. That is something worth applauding, even for the shy Japanese.  😛

[I was focused on keeping my brother moving, and so didn’t even think about a photo for him until afterward.]
For the rest of the day, we had happy greetings, and in English, from hundreds of kids of various ages, who were all also on school trips for the day.  I photo-bombed a group of middle or high school boys, and they asked us all three to join their photo.  At one point, I got a sort of interview from one girl, where she read from a script that was clearly a ‘How to converse with visitors to Japan’ guide/assignment.  I even got to write a little message at the end of her booklet as part of the interview.

Suffice to say, it was an English-filled, exciting, and adorable day.
Post-a-day 2017