Done with all that whininess that can be the ExPat mentality- culture shock, kids coming home from the first day of school without a friend, facing a grocery store selling brains, organ meat or live animals, or not hearing one word in your own language, I did the unthinkable. I stepped beyond myself and willingly, without threats inflicted upon me, nor under duress, and completely within a sane thinking moment, accepted the Tasmanian Bloodhound’s invitation to the Tokyo American Club’s Fundraiser for the tsunami Victims. You know I accepted out of guilt and not because an evening of yelling over the table at strangers sounded appealing. Only because thousands are truly suffering, while I shoulder these hardships of ExPat hood, silently, in the luxurious apartment several neighborhoods removed, and up, from the one to which we belong at home.
I promised I would go- until the bewitching hour of 8:30 at which time I would turn in to a slime covered pumpkin covered with fruit flies spitting curse ridden condemnations at good willed party goers. When Spouse learned of the upcoming plans, he quickly hatched an emergency meeting in the US and caught the first plane leaving Narita Airport.
Outside of the South, my party hair is shocking to most people when observing it for the first time. Too my delight, some gape in awe at the sheer height I can accomplish with the use of hair as an accouterment. This threw off poor Andretti-san waiting outside. Apparently I was unrecognizable in my party garb as he wouldn’t let us in the car. I fixed this by using my most identifiable trait- Japanese spoken badly, slowly and incomprehensibly. Only upon hearing this did he realize it was truly me under all that hair and make up and jump out to let us in. This look mimics a cocktail waitress at a strip joint to those not accustomed to the bigness that comes with a Southern girl and became the theme of the evening. My few appearances at the Tokyo American Club have been limited to a Spinning Class and alas, my scant compadres didn’t recognize me without a pony tail and instead of a warm hello, put in drink requests.
We arrived to a mix of people so diverse I was relieved music wasn’t my responsibility- Americans and Japanese, of every age and demographic represented with one glaring yet consistent detail through out. The Americans were all dressed in our Japanese costumes. We Americans love to take a kimono, cut it up, and then use it in various other wearable ways. Cut up kimonos circled the room in various crafty machinations only envisioned by the designers on Project Runway, “You can make a jacket, a hat, a pterodactyl…”
I saw my friend Sista from Atlanta. Luckily for the girls, the BoyMan himself, Justin Bieber was in town. She regaled me with all information Justin, her eyes rolled permanently then stuck in the back of her head. Only on an ExPat assignment could one get this close to the BoyMan. If anyone reading this has a teenager lovin’ on JB, go to the airport in a foreign country. In China- only 6 people gave him a warm red reception. Here in Japan, just a hand full waited outside the Ambassador’s residence where his mother graciously came out to sign autographs while the BoyMan sat in the car waving enthusiastically. What a helicopter mom. We watched on CNN US as Offspring #2’s friends were handed water by various moms assigned to cover “the Bieber Sit In.” As the “Jammin for Japan” Band played, Sista and I pondered that age-old question, “When sitting on the 3rd row of the concert, is it appropriate to tell your 6th grader to ‘show him something’ in order to get on stage?” Does the BoyMan react to that yet? Of course at this age, is there anything for him to see IF one were to do the unthinkable?
Although ExPats wax on about the isolation of said sorry plight, I’ve never had such access to friends in high places. Recently rumors of a Conspiracy Theory regarding the massive radiation of Tokyo ExPats from the Fukushima reactor has made the rounds through many an ExPat coffee club. Personally, I disagree that the radiation levels are too high, in fact, I think they may be too low. Every time I go to the salon I’m greeted with,
to which I respond, “No, Mustache and chin wax.”
Although usually top-secret government communications regarding this are distributed by carrier pigeon, some of them have decided to migrate thus have been deemed unreliable. The Ambassador has had to rely on Twitter for communicating highly sensitive information. Details of the Conspiracy Theory are hidden in messages such as this most recent message:
The Ambassador and his lovely wife were just two tables away. He and I are Twitter Peeps so I decided to amble over and discuss the Conspiracy Theory and the topic of the hidden messages within his Tweets. What was in it for him? The Presidency? Radiating himself and his family in the process. Surely he would open up to me- we were internet friends. I saw a glass of wine at his side so I ordered a refill and headed over. I got about two feet away before several disguised Ninja descended upon me, one winding his arms all around my Mop Top knowing the hair spray would ensnare us both in a web of hair, the second disguised as a waiter threw wine in my face, the third, disguised as the Ambassadors wife, jumped in his lap and feverishly started licking his face. The Ambassador Tweets in English and Japanese- this will take quite the code breakers to get at the secret messages. In the meantime, I’m keeping an eye on the abnormal facial hair associated with menopause to gauge the truth in “Conspiracy Theories.” I’ll be following Speech from Arrested Development from here on out to see how fits in to the Game.
The Social Chairman saw the event from her seat at the head of the important table. Once freed from the Ninja, I popped right up so we could assault the ballroom with a deafening “Hey!” As we oh so enthusiastically hugged and admired each other’s cuteness, a button shot right off the center of her dress, through the air in a tall trajectory over the centerpiece, toward the wine glass of a Japanese man on the other side- where it collided with a loud “ping.” Everyone at the table, being polite Japanese and not wanting The Social Chairman to lose face, did not so much as glance at the button now lying on the table. I not being nearly as concerned with The Social Chairman’s face, trumpeted several loud snorts of laughter. She followed suit. Her good-natured husband continued talking to his neighbor ignoring the entire series of events.
The Japanese Elvis impersonator broke the moment as he took the stage. These are the times when one misses those old smoking days for no one has a lighter when you need one. How was I to get Elvis’ attention for serenading the Social Chairman? The “light” function on the IPhone worked like a charm- he sauntered on over, “Thank ya- thank ya very much.”
My only complaint of the evening, mind you I left during dinner, was the “Couples Toning Giveaway” which included the toner Reeboks. Honestly, add two inches to the bottom of an athletic shoe and everyone’s calves will look toned. I signed the Tasmanian Bloodhound and her husband on that silent auction sheet while they were contemplating the pearls.
It wasn’t too long after J’Elvis, but before the JPop band, that I felt my dress start to tighten where my pumpkin parts were bulging. I bought hordes of raffle tickets and scattered them on the table. As promised, I was home before the clock struck 9:00. Early the next morning an aftershock woke us up at 7:00 to remind us again of those who are still sleeping in gymnasium floors. I hope we raised the roof and lots of money.
On an entirely separate note, please wander over to a great new site called “Displaced Nation.” I recently did “Random Nomads” which turned in to a riveting drama about our lives in Japan. Most of the regular readers might not find that very entertaining as it’s old information, however, unlike most other ExPat sites, Displaced Nation is written by 4 seasoned ExPats, and penned in several different writing genres which makes for very entertaining reading. Read my interview here. The post that got my hooked here. Happy reading!