Recently I read an article about the things you’d never thought you’d say until you were a parent. As a mum or dad, the words that sometimes come out of your mouth, well, it beggars belief! Add to that parenting in a different and at times crazy county like Japan and you have a great collection of anecdotes. So I put to the KA parents – what is the strangest thing you’ve said as a parent in Japan?
For me, saying to my youngest “It’s CALPIS sweety, not COW PISS!” is probably the weirdest thing you could say. What’s Calpis the unaware ask? Well is a milky soft drink, hugely popular here and for many non-Japanese, like KK the first time I heard Calpis, I thought the person said “Cow Piss.” Unleashing Calpis on visiting family is always a source of amusement. ELM loves asking visitors to Japan if they would like to try some CowPiss, LOL1 The look of shock on their faces is a classic! and for AB her brother-in-law LOVED “Cow Piss” when he was here in Dec! As TH wisely adds there’s definitely a reason they changed Calpis to Calpico for importation to the US lol!
A Calpis please??
The open availability of alcohol and the lax (although they are tightening up) alcohol laws led me to ask one cold winter night Is it illegal to send a child to the vending machine? I’ve run out of chuhai! We’ve since learnt that ID is now needed to buy booze from the machine but maybe not where JF lives: There’s an old one (vending machine) on my block, my son bought daddy a birthday present there with his own money. ELM’s son also bought some from 7-11 for his dad…he was 16. Thankfully I’m not the only parent with dubious morals,ELM has asked can you get your dad some beer at the supermarket?
The local bottle shop.
Shoes are not a topic that come up so much in the Western household; in Japan, their highly topical. Like many of us, I’m always saying take your shoes off and put them neatly– even when we’re at the doctors, dentists and other important places. The message of straight shoes and shoes on and off must be getting through, at least to TH’s son as We were at the mall and in the toys store they had a ball pit set up for kids to try out and before using it (my 3 yo son) sat down took off his shoes placed them neatly to the side and then jumped into the ball pit.
Toilet slippers bring a whole other set of problems (don’t get me started!) and MM has been heard to say Oh my God, put those toilet slippers back! For many though, the constant taking on and off of slippers for a quick visit to the loo makes us forgetful so it’s always funny to point out, as CO did Ooops, Grandad forgot to take off the toilet slippers!
For my husband possibly the strangest thing he has said, in English since living here is I need to do something to his bum while looking at our youngest. I found out after I sat there mouth open that he was referring to the compulsory worm test. The next day I found myself saying Ok, I have to remember the worm sticker! The school mandated tests are also common conversation in other KA households; ELM has asked who stored their poop sample in the fridge?? And how long has it been here? When we’re not asking kids to give us something from their bodies, we’re probably telling them don’t put that in your *insert oriface* (JF) Even stranger JF has admitted trueJapanese style is more like “don’t put your fingers up your teacher’s bum. MS students are obsessed as well and she has found herself saying we don’t stick fingers up others butts.
Everyday life also has us saying things western parents rarely say. Nine o’clock school starts? Here it’s more like It’s 7 a.m., you need to hurry up and leave for school! (CO) Battles over wearing that favourite party dress? Here, “I’m sorry, you cannot wear your Kimono to school today.” Followed by a huge tantrum (KK). Censorship laws that ban swearing in public? Not here, western pop songs played loudly in family restaurants on Sunday afternoons followed by I turned to my son and his shocked face – yes that song did just say motherf***er and don’t repeat it! (ST)
Kitty chan – you have a lot to answer for!!!
Dealing with strange situations goes part and parcel of raising a family in any country butELM summed it perfectly when she said the funny thing is, I don’t even realize how odd some stuff is until you say it in front of a true foreigner, and they look at you like ‘WTH did you just tell your kid?’ But the benefit, we gain a lot of amusing dinner party tales!