Sep 9, 2016
Sewing for my Sanity
Every once in a while I meet a non-Japanese person who has lived in Japan for eons and intends to continue on living here, but by and large, the Expat population of Japan has three categories:
- Those here to teach English for a few years
- Those here from their home company on a short term assignment, and
- The supporting partners/ spouses/ families of category number two.
In case you have not been paying attention, I fall squarely into category #3. Here in Nagoya, I am in charge of the household. Making sure there’s dinner on the table, ironing work shirts, basically being a Stepford Wife. Which is a sentence I type while fully acknowledging I thoroughly enjoy and am totally grateful for the freedom this role affords me in terms of experiencing Japan on The Mister’s company dime. For the time being, I am happy being a housewife.
Being an American housewife in Japan is a full-time job with no vacation. It’s not that I don’t have enough to do here just in the name of keeping The Mister, Mac, Bubba and I alive and well - but, I do need a little more creative enrichment in my life. There’s a sense of uselessness that’ll creep up on me if *all* I focus on is the monotony of laundry, cooking, cleaning, and grocery runs.
And so - in the spare minutes between laundry loads, I MAKE stuff. Fall is a particularly good time for this because Halloween is my fave holiday, AND it’s big in Nagoya. Plus there are loads of little Fall craft fairs, and with Kp2’s help, I’ve been invited to participate in a few of them. So the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of creating.
I’ve got scarves knitted, bracelets woven, magnet sets painted, and cat toys stuffed with catnip ready to sell.
(I’ll be at the Aichi Vision Festival on the 18th at Tsuruma Park from noon - 8pm. Then on October 7th I’ll be at the YWCA for their Fall Bazaar from 10am - 3pm And along with the above I’ll have CUPCAKESsSsSS)
I’ve painted a "Kanto League" baseball hat and stitched together a Bulbasaur hoodie for The Mister and Mac’s Halloween Costumes.
And then yesterday, for no fall related reason, I decided to teach myself flash animation.
[Which I was all about showing off but it turns out this blogging platform
isn't so good on the animated .gifs - head *HERE* to check 'em out if you're so inclined (SFW, promise.)]
This is one of those skills I’ve long envied and wanted to learn, but was under the impression that it was super complicated and I would need a college level course and a text book. Turns out I needed an afternoon, a ton of patience and youtube tutorials. And now also I need to convince The Mister that I need a proper tablet because the super cheap and cruddy one I’ve been using since college finally bit the dust halfway through these quick projects.
What do you do to keep your soul feeling well-fed? Is there a cool skill you’ve taught yourself? (and did you immediately feel like you needed to invest deeply into supplies for said skill?)Tell me in the comments!
today’s little language lesson
Watashi wa maatarashī taburetto o musabo~tsu
I covet a brand new tablet.
The name is Kp or KpMcD (Kristin, actually, but for the sake of continuity let's stick with the nickname, shall we?) Hailing from the Midwest US and living in Nagoya with my husband (The Mister), my dobermutt (Mac) and an elitist marmalade tabby who answers to no one (Bubba).
Hmmm, most foreigners I've met are the long term, non-teachers, started their own business and / or married to a Japanese person type, but I think your three types are still the majority overall. Staying sane is something we joke about, but I've heard stories of people actually needing help because the isolation/culture shock, etc. became too much. Good topic to bring up and remind everyone to stay mentally healthy. Before I had a shodo lesson I went to a few times a month and constantly emailed native English speaking friends. Now my husband helps keep me grounded, but I'm working on making more local friends. I've found going for an early morning walk alone helps me stay focused, in addition to social time in moderation. Art is really healing as well, when I make the time for it.