Kitchen Nightmares

Dec 16th, 2003 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

Okaasan decided it was time to replace the stone-age kitchen while we were away from the cave visiting America. Since Otousan and I had recently painted the walls, she picked out cabinets to match. However, the contractor arrived with the wrong cabinets both in size and color. Not wanting a confrontation, she didn’t object as they proceeded to install them. As a result, one drawer…

Pills and Placebos

Nov 27th, 2003 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

Funny thing about the flu season in Japan. Since the houses are so close together, walls so thin, you can usually hear the first outbreak in the neighborhood days before it reaches your house. Sounds like the Tanaka’s down the street got it. That’s about the time that everyone is instructed to scrub their hands raw anytime they enter the house. You’d better gargle as…

Big Sale on TP!

Mar 13th, 2003 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

There’s something about a sale that seems to cause the women of the house to get excited. Today you could feel the energy from the moment the morning newspaper arrived until Okaasan finally dragged us all to the supermarket. Toilet paper was on sale. An unbeatable price but with a limit of three per customer. So everyone in the family lined up, each with their…

Daddy Taxi

Nov 26th, 2002 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

In America, I was respected. I helped lead a successful software company, played in bands and even hung out with the occasional celebrity. If what you drive is any indication of your status, oh how the mighty have fallen! It wouldn’t be so bad if it was only a bike but nothing says “not cool” like a sissy bar, bell, and basket. And apparently, Yumi…


Sep 26th, 2002 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

Since retiring, Otousan likes to keep busy around the house “fixing” things. He’s proud of his work and doesn’t hide it – literally. When he heard that we were coming to stay with them in Japan, he got busy and by the time we arrived, wires seemed to be coming out of everywhere, the walls, ceiling, floor… Now whenever we run the toaster oven, every…

The Imaginary Employee

May 15th, 2001 Work Douglas 1 min read

What do you do when your employer denies a request for a new PC insisting that there must be one lying around unused? My answer – make up an imaginary employee to be assigned to the imaginary computer. That leaves you clear to order the needed PC. I approached HR to let them in on the joke, just to cover my tracks. An announcement was…

Naked Gaijin in Nagasaki

Sep 18th, 1999 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

It’s not often that I find myself naked in public. In fact, come to think of it I NEVER find myself naked in public. And yet, that’s exactly what happened. Perhaps Yumi’s been in America too long but we were both uncomfortable with the idea of a public bath when her parents suggested it. Our little “mixed” family gets enough attention without running around in…

Okaasan Abusing the Passenger

Sep 15th, 1999 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

The ride on the Shinkansen to Nagasaki was quite an experience… especially for one passenger in particular. Okaasan thought that we should turn our seats to face one another. So she flipped the lever and attempted to turn the row of seats 180 degrees, not realizing that the man in the next row was reclining with his head clearly in its path. As the seats…

A Land with No Names

Sep 12th, 1999 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

It seems all the family has come to Hiroshima for Yumi’s grandma’s memorial service. Kogujin-no-ojichan is here (the one from Koji’s wedding who followed me around studying my every move). I call him this because he said he is dark like a kogujin from working all day in the sun. I’m still not used to the fact that no one here seems to have a…

We’re Moving to Japan… Bail out!

Jan 17th, 1999 Family & Friends, Work Douglas 1 min read

Usually, people give 2 weeks’ notice when they plan on quitting a job. Today I gave 6 months notice. I have a lot of responsibility at work and it will not be easy to find a replacement. So I wanted to be fair to the owners who I consider my friends. Yumi’s family is very excited. But it’s hard to know for sure about Okaasan….