Monday, August 23, 2010

A Long, Good Life

On Saturday, I went to a funeral mass for the mother of a friend of my father's. SHe was eighty-nine, born in Manila in 1920. She was just about to get her degree when the Japanese invaded.

A truly remarkable life. I was able to hear much of it when my father the WWII buff and I took her out to lunch a few years ago.

Right before she died, her son and daughter-in-law presented me with one of her many statues of Mary. It now sits in my classroom, and I plan to send them photos of it in its new home with a thank you and condolence letter.

My Classroom is Gorgeous

I am tired.

There are inspiration posters attached to every object in the room, including a sandwich board on the hamster. (OK, not really. I don't have a hamster yet.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Did Feminism Succeed? Or Not?

When you can't tell if feminism succeeded beyond its supporters' wildest dreams, or failed miserably:

I'm putting my classroom together with some help from a young lady who was in my high school freshman class a couple of years ago. She attended the school I'm working at now, K-8. She tells me that she told her best friend, a boy who was in my class, and also went through elementary school with her, to come and help out tomorrow.

In passing, I learn that he broke up with his girlfriend, to whom he had been glued for the past two years. "And he was so upset," Mary Kate continues, "and he really needed someone to talk to, and I was there for him. But I was kinda mad, like he gets a girlfriend and we never got to hang out until they broke up? Like, it's supposed to be bros before hos, sorry about my language, Mrs. Bluejeans."

Sunday, August 08, 2010

It's Ten O'Clock. Do You Know Where Your Grandparents Are?

When I was a little girl, there were some things that I knew about the Japanese. I knew that they were into cherry blossoms and robots, and that their students worked harder in school than Americans, and did complicated math we had never even heard of, for example.

When I got older, I learned that Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat, and that the natural, sea-based, frugal Japanese diet allowed them to have more centenarians than anywhere else on earth, or at least more than most places.

Anyway, as far as I know, the Japanese still like cherry blossoms and technology, the exchange students I see on BART are all skinnier than I, and I'm sure that miso soup is actually very good for you as well as being delicious.

However, it also seems that the number of centenerians in Japan may be, at least in part, due to the apparent tendency of people in Tokyo to lose track of the elderly.

(Cue Ellen deGeneres. "Exercise is good for old people. My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was seventy. She's eighty-two now, and we don't know where the hell she is.")

It all started with Sogen Kato. Mr. Kato was visited by authorities with birthday wishes on what would have been his 111th, but they uncovered instead a story that seems to be wasted on Japan. William Faulkner could have done it justice. Suffice to say that Mr. Kato has probably been dead for about thirty years, and the family never knocked on his bedroom door because he was cranky about being disturbed.

All right, this could happen to any city where there are crazy eccentric families: any city. The problem is that, apparently, they've also misplaced Tokyo's oldest woman. Fusa Furuya was born 113 years ago, and was supposedly living with her daughter, 79. Daughter says they haven't been close in many years, and she thought Mom was living with her brother.

The address she had for her brother is a vacant lot.

Health Minister Akira Nagatsuma is now on a mission to track down all the other Japanese centenarians, and these two weird and high-profile cases seem to have sparked an awareness in Japanese authorities that it may not be enough to assume that elderly people are being taken care of by their families. "Understanding the whereabouts of the elderly and their situation is a very important problem," Nagatsuma told the press.

The mayor of Mrs. Furuya's supposed home district added: "We would like to confirm the security of the elderly from now on by meeting them face to face."

This seems like a good start.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Prop 8 Goes Down

And I have already gotten my first engagement announcement!