14 April 2010

Screaming kids, wife of steel

I am about at the end of my metaphorical rope with the Mei-mei screaming herself to sleep every night. That's an overstatement, of course — it's just the way it is, but she has just been absolutely impossible to get to sleep. Even when she does finally sleep, it's only for a couple of hours and she's up screaming again. She screams now when she wants something too. Point and scream.  She's like a very needy monkey, or a small dictator. Yoko is full of patience for this, rarely seemingly bothered. Mei starts screaming in the middle of the night and Yoko dutifully attends to her. In the morning, I head off to work, and Mei is screaming for something. When I come home, she is screaming for something. In between, all eight hours, I imagine that Yoko has been patiently attending to her needs.

I'm not usually one to be prideful of my family: an odd thing I internalised being in Japan. The Japanese don't tend to talk to proudly of their own family, as it is essentially bragging about yourself. That said, of all the people in our little family, Yoko has given the most for our European adventure . She was the one that gave up her career, she is the one that has to really make our small budget work, she is the one with the kids all day. I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have it another way, given the choice, but I, for what it's worth, think it's pretty great.

Finally, 愛のチャイム (and everything it represents) is one of the reasons I can run from Japan, but I cannot hide. There is a gravitational pull, and I am falling. How long before I can't stand it anymore, and we sell all of our British things and move to Nishinomiya or Kobe. It's funny, when I was in Fukuoka, I realised that I was going to die. And for all the trouble that realisation has caused me, I always felt that dying in Japan, surrounded by Japanese, would be much less traumatic than how I envisioned it before. This chime, played on the loudspeakers in the towns and villages, helps explain the peace of Japan in a small way, I think, and how death is really just another thing.