Sunday, October 5, 2008

Aren't They Just the Cutest Little Things?

The above pic is of Lily and two little Japanese girls that I teach, Aimi and Shuri. They spent Saturday with us--making blueberry pancakes and bacon, playing in the girls' rooms and the park, bowling, shopping at the PX , fixing chocolate chip cookies and decorating the house for Halloween. We taught them American hand games and how to eat pizza without a fork and knife. (This country can be too civilized.) I dropped them off at the gate at 4PM. They looked like we feel after touring temples all day.

As much as I would have loved to have had the experience of raising a little boy, girls are just too adorable for words. (When they aren't being sneery or bossy, that is). For some reason they are even cuter when they are Japanese. Either it's the foreign factor or they are empirically sweeter.

I don't know how to adequately determine this, short of kidnapping one. I am ashamed to say that, on numerous occasions, I have seriously thought out several scenarios. Sadly, all imaginary plans terminate with me being arrested and thrown in a Japanese jail. Breakfast, lunch and dinner consists of stale rice and fish heads. They are not kind to their prisoners.

So like a crack addict hanging out on a street corner, I head to Costco and IKEA--Cute Kid Capitals of Japan--to get my fix. Just like in the states, these stores attract young couples with two adorable children under 8 years old, looking for a bargain. While Tim is pondering shelving units or exotic French wines, I am making the couple next to us nervous.

I stare at their little bundles of perfection with a goofy (the parents probably read it as maniacal) grin. "Oh, isn't she kawaii (cute)!", I proclaim too loudly and brightly. They most oftentimes nod at me politely with a steady, fixed smile suggesting, "I will be nice to the strange white lady because I and my ancestors have been taught to be nice to strange white ladies. Yet, I want to bolt."

In my defense, though, the same scenario plays out with old Japanese grandmas and young American couples with fat, blond babies. Complete strangers over the age of 65 will insist on holding american prodigeny. They will wait patiently for you to unstrap them from their strollers. If you balk, you elicit a hurt, then disdainful look which seems to say, "Your country bombed the hell out of us and all I want in return is to hold your chunky, blond baby." Grannies have the right-of-way here in ALL matters and you mess with them at your own risk.
Unfortunately, I haven't reached the magical age where I can do whatever I please and get away with it. I plan on returning here in my seventies. Those young Japanese couples better hand over their cuties so I can pinch their widdle cheeks and smooch their button noses. Or else.

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