My dad is having surgery right now and I can’t be there. The horrible weather has kept me grounded in London. I was supposed to arrive in Tokyo on Monday to be there for Tuesday. I should have known when hubby couldn’t make it home from Prague on Friday, it would not be smooth sailing (no pun intended). He couldn’t get on another flight until Sunday, so we would miss each other entirely. I had planned Saturday as family day so needless to say, I was a little miffed.
Sunday rolls around, I’m up at 5:30 to discover my flight’s cancelled. Can’t reach home, put my status up on Facebook. My sister and nephew have made it to Tokyo (no snow in Hawaii) so I thought she would see my status. Stay on hold for about 15 minutes with travel agent only to be told the earliest they could get me out is Wed. Thought of every possible permutation for how to get home, but just couldn’t bring myself to spend £2400 for an economy ticket with a layover. A small panic later including a desperate e mail to a friend who flies a lot to see if he knew anyone that could help, I come to the conclusion that some things are just beyond my control and weather is one of them.
Now I come from a family of ridiculous optimists so at no time am I worried about the outcome of my dad’s surgery. I know my mom’s in good hands with my sister and nephew there. So I decide that I might as well enjoy the unexpected vacation I have at home now. Hubby actually made it home on Sunday and I have had 2 days of hanging out with my kids and hubby, something that happens very rarely around here these days.
As far as I can tell, my flight is scheduled to leave tomorrow and I’ve gotten word from Tokyo that my dad’s surgery was a success. So, I’ll be able to spend time with him and celebrate new year’s with them.
Don’t fight what you can’t control, just breathe.
I get this question a lot. It was a question that was never asked until I moved to London. I grew up partly in Japan and the States so my English is very American. So when I lived in the States, people just assumed my parents were immigrants and in Japan, of course I sound native so no one ever questioned it.
But when people first meet me here, they try to place the accent, the body language; all cultural cues to figure out where I belong. And that’s where the problem begins. Because although my English is American, I am not, nor do I consider myself to be American. But from having lived so long in the States, my body language is very western, so I do not come across as a Japanese woman of a certain age either. So people ask me where in the States I am from or whether I am Canadian. I tell them I am Japanese from Tokyo and doubt is just written all over their face. Now really, why would I lie about a thing like that? I’ve managed to condense my life experience into, “I was born in Japan and spent a lot of time in the US”. That seems to satisfy most casual inquiries. If I am getting to know you as a friend, then the story would get fleshed out in further conversations.
The thing is, while we were living in the States, I pretty much identified with America as that’s where I had spent most of my schooling. But as I am now 13 years out of the States, I identify more and more with Japan, a country that is my spiritual home regardless of how much or how little time I have spent there. And now with my crusade to bring Japanese cooking into the homes of London, I’ve started thinking a lot about things I’ve taken for granted and comparing and contrasting my experiences with Japanese and western food.
But that’s another post.
It was fabulous! For those of you who read my post after the last market I did, you know it was a “learning experience”. Well I was determined to put some of that learning to good use and signed up to do another one.
So here’s how this one unfolded. I went the day before to help set up. This already gives you an idea of where I was since the last time, I couldn’t even think straight the day before, I was so furiously trying to get ready. But this time, I simplified greatly and my merchandise was ready to go on Friday, the day UPS finally delivered my packing material after the wonderful www.cakescookiesandcraftshop.co.uk people got my order out the day after it was placed. Funny how everyday since Tuesday, the UPS people claim to have tried to deliver when I’ve been at home and I have a porter. So many phone calls later, the last manager tried to use the weather as an excuse and said they were 3 days behind, to which I had to reply, “well if you’d actually deliver the packages you wouldn’t be behind”.
But I digress, back to the market. I had a very ambitious programme for the day, sell my roasted nuts, advertise my cooking classes, participate in a Dragons’ Den type panel and do a cooking demo. The last time, my entire family came to help and while it was lovely to have their support, I think they spent most of the day without anything to do. This time, I was in the summer house with 3 other stall holders so I knew there would be no room for extra people. The weather in London has been brutally cold and thankfully I was in a shelter with a wood burning stove. Here’s a picture of me at my stall.
As you can see, my orange ski jacket stayed on the whole time. I’m so glad I hung onto it even though it’s been years since I’ve been skiing. Here’s a photo of my merchandise.
I was given some very sage advice by Jo from the Deli Station about the size bags I should have and she was right! The mini bags for £1 sold very well.
There were so many people, and everyone was so lovely and interested. It was great to have people think what you made tastes amazing and actually want to pay money for it. What an ego boost. They were also very enthusiastic about my classes and I gave out lots of information cards, ran out and gave out business cards. Remember, I do gift vouchers too.
Then, there was the Dragons Den. I wanted to know if my nuts had any market potential. It was an opportunity to present to a panel comprised of experts in the field and it was a very positive experience. They were very enthusiastic and complimentary, another ego boost.
And finally, towards the end of the day, I did a cooking demo. A simple avocado rice bowl, that is so quick to make and delicious. Again, well received, really the day couldn’t have gone any better.
A special thank you to Charles and Carrie, who stepped in last minute and provided beautiful music all day. They sang their hearts out for hours and really added to the festive atmosphere. Here they are.
And to Ms Marmite Lover, you are one brave woman to do this to your house and we love you for it.