Archives for posts with tag: Friends

A friend of mine recently recommended the movie Saving Mr. Banks to me. We were having one of our epic conversations about the Oscars (3 hours on Skype, and that’s not even a record for us) and Tom Hanks came up. If you saw Captain Phillips, then you know it was an absolute travesty that he was not nominated in the Best Actor category. Seriously, the last scene alone should earn him an Oscar every year for the rest of his life. Even if he didn’t do any movies that year.

Anyway, my friend said Mr. Hanks was also fantastic in Saving Mr. Banks. In fact, he was so insistent, that I felt I had to see for myself. So I settled in with it last night at home. I knew pretty much nothing about P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, so the whole movie was a revelation (although be warned, the movie takes quite a few artistic liberties, as I learned from my research afterwards). I wasn’t a Mary Poppins fan before, but I am now. The whole story was wonderful, moving, hopeful. It is no wonder that I cried through the entire thing. Really. Pretty much from beginning to end. If I wasn’t crying because something bad happened, I was crying because something good happened. There really was not a lot of down time for me. In fact, I was watching it in the evening and I eventually got hungry at some point and decided to eat dinner. I even cried then. The tears streamed down my face and into my food, forcing me to literally eat my own salty tears. It’s attractive, I know. Sobbing and chewing. This is why I live alone.

This is not the first time I have made a fool of myself crying over a movie. When I saw Forrest Gump in the theater, I cried so hard my contacts fell out. I had to hold them in my palm and hope that they didn’t dry up before the movie ended and I could go to the bathroom and pop them back in (it was close, but I made it). My friend told me in the same conversation that one of his favorite memories is the time we went to see Atonement together. He said that there was a point during the movie where there had been a lot of noise and then it suddenly got quiet. It was at this moment that he heard me make a little gasping, sobbing noise next to him. A sound which reverberated throughout the silent theater. Yep, that was me.

But at least he was understanding about my crying. Yes, he may have teased me later, but it was not at all mean. Unlike Betty the Drama Queen. Betty the Drama Queen (one of my very favorite people and a great friend) used to just flat-out laugh at me during the movie. In fact, her laughing usually distracted people from my crying, for which I was suppose I should be thankful. BDQ and I went to see The Passion of the Christ together at the local theater. Before entering the theater, she said she needed to stop at concessions, where she proceeded to buy a diet Coke and popcorn. As if we were going to see a Michael Bay movie. And if that weren’t bad enough, during the scene where Jesus is being flogged, BDQ kept whispering in my ear about how amazing the makeup was. The whole experience turned out to be the one time when it would have been totally acceptable to break down crying, and yet I could not shed a tear. How could I? With frequent offers of popcorn and whispered exclamations of, “Oh my goodness, HOW did they do that?! Doesn’t that look fabulous?” I just couldn’t get into it.

Yes, many a time I’ve been close to requiring hospitalization after a movie. My earliest memory of losing it during a movie is when I was about 10 years old and my family went to see The Fox and the Hound. I cried my eyes out. I can’t imagine what the parents waiting in line thought when they saw me come out of the theater, eyes all red and puffy. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them quickly took their kids out of line and said, “Hey, I’ve got a better idea. Let’s go bowling instead!” But you know, I wouldn’t change that about myself. It’s rather cathartic to cry like that. I always feel better afterward, if a bit exhausted. And I’d rather be reduced to tears by a movie than by my own real life.

Fannie May

The Fannie May traditional assortment is certainly nothing to turn your nose up at.

Valentine’s Day is a big business holiday in Japan.  And just as in the U.S., chocolate  is a bestseller.  While you will never hear me complain about receiving some good old Fannie May, I have to admit that the creativity and artistry that goes into Japanese Valentine’s Day goes far above and beyond what we Americans are most familiar with.



Even though the chocolates sold in the stores are beautiful, many young women like a more personal touch.  It’s very common to make your own chocolates to hand out to friends, boyfriends, and co-workers.  But just because you went that extra mile for your crush, ladies, don’t expect anything back just yet.  In Japan, February 14th is the day women give chocolate to men.  Men aren’t expected to reciprocate until White Day on March 14th.   Why is it called White Day?  Well, the gifts are usually white.  I asked a Japanese friend once what kind of white gifts are given and she told me that marshmallows are common.  Which I think is just terrible.  You slave over a hot stove melting chocolate and lovingly pouring it into molds all night, and a month later he hands you a bag of marshmallows?  You’d better hope that’s not an indication of how the rest of the relationship is going to go.

I have always been an extrovert. I feel more energetic around other people. I have better ideas when I am with others. I am a verbal processor.  I like being around people.  But I am a terrible roommate.

In the traditional sense, I think I’m a great roommate – I’m clean, I’m neat, I can cook, I pay bills on time. Everything always starts out great. We start out as friends and spend time together hanging out in “our place.” Either we agree on decorating choices, or we easily come to a compromise in the common areas. We bend over backwards for one another (“You can use the washer first. I’ll do laundry later.” “No, it’s fine. You go and I’ll do mine tomorrow.” “Are you sure?” “Yeah, absolutely.” “Because I can always do mine later tonight…” “No, really! Go ahead.”). We don’t mind washing that extra bowl in the sink from the other person, because we know that they’d wash ours if the situation was reversed. And there’s always the obligatory, “Let me check with my roommate,” before inviting a non-mutual friend over.

Of course, this whole “honeymoon” stage ends soon enough and, inevitably, the uber-politeness stops. Many a time I have found myself angrily washing pots and pans from days ago that I didn’t use, and absolutely seething when I come home to a washer full of someone else’s wet clothes impeding my plan to do laundry. At one time, I had a roommate who suddenly revealed herself as a total slob after just a few short weeks. If she dropped something on the floor by accident, it would most likely live there until I picked it up. I once left a spoon she had dropped on the floor, stubbornly refusing to pick it up on principle. I finally gave up after 3 weeks.

And this is where the problem lies. Instead of bringing these issues up, I let them quietly fester, until they are no longer that quiet. Rather than face a possible (though avoidable, if handled with love and grace) conflict, I internalize everything and let resentment build. I completely forget that I have annoying habits, too. I become uncommunicative, unfriendly, and unlikable.  Why don’t I just address these issues?  Because deep down I know they are petty.  For the most part, these roommates of mine began as friends.  They were people I hung out with regularly, confided in, trusted.  Did my friend’s inability to use a vacuum affect her ability to make me laugh? No.  Just because she regularly left her things on the kitchen table, did that make her any less loyal or faithful?  Of course not.   No one’s personality was changed by these things except mine.  I was the one who became a bad friend.  And I knew that’s why I could never, ever bring it up.

Last spring, I went back to my hometown (near Chicago) for 5 months. I stayed with a family that I have known for about 10 years and whom I consider very good friends. Naturally, I was worried about how that would go. I knew what was on the line if I couldn’t get it together. Maybe it was because I was living as a guest in a house that belonged to somebody else.  Maybe I have grown up a bit (I hope this is true). Probably it has something to do with all the praying I did in the months leading up to the move. Whatever the reason, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life. We cooked and ate together almost every night. We had TV shows that we would only watch when everyone was together. In fact, many times I chose to stay home with them rather than go out with groups of other friends. Speaking objectively, the same issues were probably still there. It’s just that I didn’t even notice them anymore.

I returned to Osaka last September, and I was able to rent an apartment by myself. It’s the first time I’ve lived alone in almost 10 years. I am once again enjoying having all the space to myself and making everything just the way I want it. But you know, it’s a little lonely.