Friday, March 23, 2012

A evening with the Japanese Consul General

On Wednesday, I had the distinct honor of attending a reception at the home of our Japanese Consul General remembering the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and celebrating Japan's success in reconstruction.

First there was a ceremonial part of the evening, remembering and honoring the lives lost and the people who gave of themselves to help orphans and the reconstruction process. There were proclamations and plaques and a moment of silence. Then the Consul General shifted the tone to focus on Japan’s success in rebuilding its industries and reaffirming its relationships in the US. The mood of determined and hopeful, yet festive.

The sake, white wine, and food was imported from Japan. The Consul General was particularly proud of the sake (it was excellent). He’s a very gracious and funny gentleman, quick to smile and laugh at a good joke. He was very impressed and pleased that I greeted him in Japanese. His wife is equally gracious and warm; she was disappointed to learn that Ed had stayed home. I’m planning on writing a note thanking them for their hospitality.

Everyone was very friendly and seemed appreciative that I made the effort to say "good evening," "how do you do," and "pleased to meet" you in Japanese. That's about the extent of my Japanese.  A few who are Japanese-Americans and I joked at how we speak “menu” very well. I suspect their families have similar stories and histories with the detention camps as my in-laws (no one brought those up – not the reason for the evening).

We were sent home with a folk art doll that is proudly displayed at the office. It’s supposed to be good for mental and physical health.

I also got to meet some Japanese community contacts. We’re planning on attending Japan-Fest next weekend.

 A local County Commissioner, the Consul General, my boss, and me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's not that hard

My boss is an elected official.  His name is not hard.  It's not unusual.  If you want me to take your call or email seriously, the bare minimum you can do is spell and pronounce his name correctly.  And if in doubt, you can always just call him by his position (ex:  Chairman, Congress Woman, Council Member, etc) or ask for clarification.

And I understand that my last name is not exactly easy.  You may call me Leah, Ms Leah, or Ms MaidenName if Ms Maid-MarriedName is too hard.  Heck, if you can pronounce my married name, I'll even respond to Ms MarriedName.  Ma'am is also fine.  I don't particularly care for Miss or Mrs, but I won't correct you.  I will correct you if you call me only by my last name (either of them) as I'm not in the military or in law enforcement.

But my name is NOT Missy, Young Lady, Baby, Little Girl, You Stupid B-word, or anything else that initializes or disrespects me.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Gandmothers can be really sneaky sometimes

Many of you may remember the fiasco with my grandmother (via my bio-Pops) when I got married just over a year ago.  She left me a voice mail the week before the wedding saying she couldn't make it because 1) the cows at the ranch needed to be fed and 2) there were some cousins from my deceased grandfather's side of the family that happened to be in town and wanted to see the ranch.

I was pretty upset.  I'm the eldest granddaughter, and she'd just attended another granddaughter's wedding that summer, so I felt pretty snubbed.  I also knew that cows and cousins were pretty lame excuses for skipping a wedding and I suspect other motives, possibly including but not limited to:  it was a civil ceremony (the Cap'n atheist and I'm sorta agnostic/atheist/Buddhist), it was a 2nd marriage for both of us, my grandmother's extremely Catholic, the Cap'n half Japanese, it was a Pirate themed wedding & we encouraged costumes, and/or we'd been living together for several years.  This was 1/1/2011.  I'm also a fair bit disappointed with my bio-Pops and family for not telling her how cruddy it was to skip a wedding.  (you'd think she'd be happy that we were finally getting married and not "living in sin" anymore)

I skipped the family Christmas celebration this last year mostly to avoid her (I've been angry for a long time), though also because my sister from my adoptive side was in town with her family. 

Yesterday we attended a vow renewal for my Aunt MM and Uncle SM that celebrated their 25th anniversary.  I knew she'd be there, and I didn't want to cause a stink and detract in any from the party, so I talked to some of my FB gurus and decided that general avoidance was my best course of action. 

Even though she sat right in front of me, I managed to avoid her during the mass.  I also managed to avoid her though lunch - right up until the very end.  She cornered me and hugged me.  It was brief, so I just let it go and gave her a quick hug back.  Then, as the Cap'n and I were leaving, we encountered her again and she gave me another hug good bye, only she held on and started crying because she missed my grandfather so much.  (Frankly, I don't know why.  He was a class A abusive jerk.)

So I'm a big softie and I hugged her back and told her I loved her and that I was glad I saw her.  Am I still upset at the snub?  Absolutely.  But ya know what?  She'll never understand why what she did was so hurtful.  I'm 31, she's late 70's.  She's not going to change, and I have better things to do with my life than hold a grudge against an old lady. 

But she was sneaky with those hugs.   ;) 

I thought y'all might like the update.