Today Nico and I woke up with no plans. It used to be that I relished having a day home with nowhere to go but these days there’s nothing I dread more. The mornings are okay. We wake up, have our coffee and breakfast and play with some toys. Then Nico takes a brief nap and I hurriedly have even more coffee (but this time uninterrupted which makes it 15 timesbetter). After Nico wakes up from his nap we have perhaps another 45 minutes before he comes to the unevitable conclusion that actually, he has already seen all these toy 5 gazillion time before and you know what? They suck. Not only that, he also realizes that he has already explored each hidden nook in the living room and that to do so again would be totally redundant.
What else is left to do? He has already played with all three remotes, reset my cellphone so that it rings to the tune of La Bamba, removed all 57 DVDs from their holding case and taken all my socks and underwear out of their drawers and strewn them around the bedroom. In short, there is NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING left in this house that will provide even another minute of entertainment. Not even the plastic lid to the food processor which is usually good for 15 minutes of inexplicable fun will do. It is a stupid stupid lid which will be promptly chucked back into the face of she who produced it. There is NOTHING and thus the whining must commence. It’s at this point that I realize that we really have to get out of the house.
Luckily one of my neighborhoodfriends happened to be free (and being the mother of another 10 month old, equally desperate) so we decided to go over there for a visit. After a few hours playing with the unfamiliar and therefore BETTER toys, Nico was in a much improved mood and we decided to go on a walk to explore the nearby neighborhood of Kitami. Kitami is small and not the most interesting of places but in Japan you can always be assured of a bit of entertainment wherever you go and even Kitami is no exception.
In the supermarket we were serenaded by a four year old Japanese boy who having spotted foreigners, was obviously determined not to waste the opportunity. From the time I arrived at the check-out line to when I left the store, I was treated to an entire line-up of popular children’s songs in English. He started off with Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and then launched directly into the ABCs. After that I thought he might take a break but instead it was onto Eensy Weensy Spider and then Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. As I walked from the cashier to the bagging counter (in Japan they have separate counters where you bag your own groceries), the child followed me, assiduously performing all the motions to each song with the intensity of someone auditioning to sing The Star Spangled Banner at the next World Series. In truth, his focus was actually a bit scary. He was such a professional that I almost felt as though I owed him something at the end. A quarter or a skittle or a salute of some sort.
After leaving the supermarket, we quickly dodged into a small children’s clothing store where I almost bought a tiny t-shirt which proclaimed the goodness of “Flesh Food”. Then it was time to head back home. On the way we saw two tiny dogs dressed in plaid mini-skirts.