Monday, August 29, 2011

Word gets around...

Beware the Mafia!
I do realize that in this blog I seem to start things that I don't really follow up on properly... On my "at some point when I have time, energy and inspiration" list there is to do a follow up post on the "buying a house in Japan" series, as well as "making babies in Japan" and there's also a post on Japanese otaku and how they actual became useful during the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster. But at this stage, the combined force of the summer heat and the stress and stuff going on with recently changing jobs, I have to admit that I am lacking in time, energy and inspiration....

It's a bit depressing to see the visitor numbers dipping a bit in the recent months (up until recently, I've always had a very slow but steady growth in monthly visitors, but hey, since I started the blog the first year with 10 visitors a day there's plenty of room to grow...) and a few "followers" also seem to be dropping off to bigger and better places, but that's something that comes with the territory of the slower pace of posting I guess.

Well, that wasn't really intended to be the main topic of today's post. Today's topic is actual a little follow up on life as a house owner here in Japan, although not chronologically correct at the stage where the story is now. But anyway, we bought our house in an area with a bunch of new built houses clustered together in a little community. The Salaryman family were among the first people who moved into one of the 45 something houses in the cluster. 

It quite quickly became obvious that most of the people who had bought houses in the area were somewhat similar to us in terms of age and family. Basically everyone in our neighborhood is ~30 something with one or two small kids (and others on the way, I think there are at least two women currently pregnant). That everyone is new also means that there still is no clear hierarchy among the housewives (as most are as the kids are small) and alliances are still being forged. 

However, something that we refer to as the "Mama Mafia" has emerged and is a cluster of around ~10 of the women in the area with kids in similar age. Previously, they used to have their gossip meetings just outside our house. Before Baby Sunshine was born, they were a little cold to Mrs. Sunshine, but as soon as the baby came into play, they seemed more eager to recruit her into the mafia. She has so far managed to avoid becoming a full time patched in member, but is something like an "associated member" of the Mafia at this point. 

The amount of gossip that goes around the Mafia is also quite astounding. A few weeks earlier Toddler Sunshine had a bit of a fever, not extremely high, but still high enough to warrant a visit to the doctor for some nice drugs and a few days of taking it easy in the house. As Mrs. Sunshine emerged from that and met with the Mafia when Toddler Sunshine was up and about again she found out that word on the street was that Toddler Sunshine had been infected with some form of really dangerous killer virus and had been between life and death for a week (even more surprising since Mrs. Sunshine barely had told anyone about the babies little cold). More recently we also heard how the area we live in is really dangerous and that a woman had been violently abducted from the local 7-eleven, but a quick scan of the news showed nothing of the kind (and such an event would be nationwide news).

Mrs. Sunshine is keeping to the strategy to stay on the good side of the Mafia but avoid getting too entangled in all the scheming and dirty business that is going on. Recently a non-mafia member mama approached her when the Mafia wasn't looking and was trying to make friends and half-whispered "I'm also a bit left out of the group, just like you" to which Mrs. Sunshine barely managed to repress expressing that she was as involved as she'd like to be... Compared to this, the politics in the office are mild mannered and fun...

Odds and Ends (to borrow a subtitle from Chris)
  • Japan have a new prime minister and I can't really muster up any enthusiasm for it at all, Noda is his name apparently, but he'll probably be gone in a year anyway so no need to remember it...
  • As a father, I am starting to worry a bit as Toddler Sunshine shows no interest at all in toddlers her own age, nor older girls that want to play with her, but older boys (well, for her "older" means age 2-5) seem drawn to her and she giggles like a little girl when they flock around her...
  • I am getting quite annoyed with blogger as I for some reason have not been able to post comments for some reason this last week; I've been trying to comment on Bigger in Japan, Corinne's, Project Me and Saraf recently but kept getting refused to log in (and not being able to post "anonymously" with e-mail and website link either for some reason), this obviously happen AFTER I've written the comment and then after two or three tries of rewriting it I just give up... My apologies, but rest assured that there should be a few very insightful comment in there!  


Chris said...

"It's a bit depressing to see the visitor numbers dipping a bit in the recent months"

I have the same thing going on and it looks like it's a seasonal thing. I'm hot and tired and so are people who usually visit and comment. I hope to see an improvement in my energy and those who visit my site as the weather turns more friendly :)

Eva said...

At least you had something to go down visitor number has always been low, drop any further and i'll be talking to myself XD

kathrynoh said...

Gossiping housewives the same everywhere.

I've been meaning to change my comment system. It's annoying.

Corinne said...

Yeah blogging just isnt a summer activity.

The comments are fucking me off too, not alone.

I too am victim to the gossip grape vine, although our neighborhood is less mama and more grandmama.

illahee said...

may i add you to my blog list? i need to read more!

i have been a Very Bad Blogger over the past few months and my numbers have stayed pretty much the same, but the number of comments has dropped drastically! i should mend my Bad Blogger ways.

Anonymous said...

Same ol´gossip...they always turn something really common into a science fiction movie :D

When is the heat suppose to start receding?

TheStrawMan said...

Funny thing about the gossiping mama-chans.

I find that certain Japanese women are repositories of an amazing amount of completely false and useless information, that they readily share with anyone as if it is received wisdom.

They remind me of Neoconservatives.

Martin said...

Does president Noda speak in that funny Yoda way?

Will said...

Gossip...have never been a fan, but can't say I'm completely immune. Drat, there's a man on the roof looking down through the skylight probably wondering what the hell I'm doing with my laptop while sitting on the toilet...this is too funny. Hey, it's reading material.

pjk said...

"As a father, I am starting to worry a bit as Toddler Sunshine shows no interest at all in toddlers her own age, nor older girls that want to play with her, but older boys (well, for her "older" means age 2-5) seem drawn to her and she giggles like a little girl when they flock around her..."

Can you blame 'em?

drich said...

You could have the other extreme... A friend of mine bought a house several years ago in a small somewhat isolated neighborhood. When they moved in, the prior owner had left them a hand-drawn map of the street with everyone's names, number of kids, and pets (type and names). Everyone knew everyone else and what was going on in their lives. It's one thing to be neighborly, but this was a bit too Stepford Wives for my tastes!

(they ended up moving out a few years later, it was a bit much for my friends as well).

Mr. Salaryman said...

Chris - Yeah, and with the increased humidity with the typhoon and everything it's been hard to gather up the energy to do much of anything... Hope you and the school rode the typhoon out fine (bet it was rainy in West Japan!)

Eva - Well, as long as you enjoy doing it, it's all good after all (like I wrote, the first year I had something like 20 visitors a day ;)

Kathrynoh - Yep, I think that's something universal! I dunno why Blogger is giving me such a hard time, should just be logging in and posting a comment (like here on my own), but it refuses to acknowledge my account on other people's blogs lately... Really annoying!

Corinne - Oh, the grandma gossip! Still remember your post on having the futon's out for air past the officially validated time!

Illahee - Of course you can add me as much as you want and no need to ask :) I know how you feel about the comments and visitors, but in the end, if it starts feeling like a chore, then it's no point anyway!

Canthus - Well I hope it starts to cool down soon... Normally the weather starts to change for real by the end of September, should be pretty soon (I hope!)

Strawman - Very clever indeed, perhaps there is something to start dig in there in the connection between Japanese housewives and neoconservatives?

Martin - Nope, he just seem really dull... Maybe next time they will chose a prime minister who's actual name in Japan is Yoda (not too uncommon)!

William - Who can resist in getting some of the dirt on the neighbors? But most of the gossip seem to be pretty trivial and so far not too mean spirited at least.

PJK - Well, she is quite cute, I can't deny that, but the boys should stay away for another few decades at least!

Drich - Haha, well, for some people that might actually been seen as a real gift getting such a treasure of information... We have actually been considering to start drafting up the neighborhood kid's names as it's a real chore to try and keep track of everyone, but in the end, I just don't think we can be bothered!

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