Thursday, December 30, 2004


I'm having trouble with my mama-sans. When I moved into my current house (which is pretty big), I decided to hire someone to come and clean it once a month. It's not very expensive, and I just decided with working 80 hours a week and teaching/grading every night, that I didn't want to spend every spare moment cleaning. It turned out to be a great decision, but I'm starting to have a little problem. The cleaning ladies don't really clean that much. I've known it for a while, but it's getting more and more obvious. Early on I noticed they don't clean with anything but water. I set out my bleach and Windex, but it doesn't help. Then I noticed that the only real cleaning they are doing is dusting. Now, dusting is important living in the cho (village or very small town) because after about one week, even with your windows closed, you have a thin film of yuck covering everything. But I had a little more than dusting in mind. Lately they've been leaving things looking crazy when they leave. I'll get home from work and notice furniture moved around and left all out of order, like in the middle of the room. I don't know what they're doing while I'm gone! I imagine them looking all over in my house, at my pictures and clothes and food. Japanese people are terribly curious about Americans. I bet they think they've hit the jackpot.

The problem is that I love going to pay my bill, because I pay it at the Silver Center (retirement home) and everyone there is so cute. Every time I go, I bring cookies or some other treat. I try to make something, but sometimes I pick up goodies from the commissary bakery. It causes such a commotion when I'm walking up to the Center with something in my hands -- I think everyone there knows me and waits for me to come. Last week when I went to pay my November bill, I saw a man make an "eating" motion with his hand (like he was bringing a fork to his mouth several times) and then point to what I was holding (a pie) as I was walking up. Everyone gets really excited and it's a lot of fun for me. So, yes, I guess I'm co-dependent with my mama-sans.

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