I Do Hereby Solemnly Swear

It seems that I have become a girl with a mission. Two missions:

1. I will lose the bulk around my middle that keeps prompting panic attacks that I have somehow become three months pregnant overnight (ha, beat that, Mary).

2. From this day forth, I will speak nothing but Japanese to my husband until I bloody well master this damned language and am able to buy moisturizer, for goodness sake, without it turning into a major, unintelligible battle of wills with the sales clerk.

The first vow, well, that's nothing new. But after my trip to Singapore, filled with not-so-gentle suggestions from family members and the sight of many skinny girls strutting about in skimpy outfits, well, I am struck afresh with the desire to not look like something is alive and growing inside me.

I must state for the record that vow #1 is in no way related to the D-word. Diet, that is. I can't diet. It's actually dangerous for the people around me because I have only one reaction to be being hungry, and that is to become very, very angry. I can't help it, my body does not react well to being starved. What I mean by trying to, well, slim down a little is that I will start eating like a normal, healthy human being--rather than a rapacious wild beast who doesn't know when its next meal will be...which I do sometimes resemble, just a little.

The second vow was long overdue. I have lived in Japan for THREE YEARS. I studied Japanese--and paid a painful amount of money to do so--for an entire year. My husband is Japanese, for god's sake. I should be fluent. I should at least be able to communicate with my in-laws. I should be able to perform simple tasks, like asking a department store clerk about the contents of a jar of moisturizer--she kept ringing the thing up and handing me a receipt, when I kept insisting I wasn't ready to buy it yet.

The problem is that, first of all, I hardly use Japanese in my work and, second, I just don't know enough Japanese people that I can talk to on a daily basis, and thereby improve. The only solution: my husband. Sure this might mean a sharp decline in the intelligence of our conversations. Oh, hell, it's not like we ever get that philosophical when conversing in English. But now it's going to be more like:

Me: Today. What you do?
Him: The usual.
Me: You. Tell me. What do?
Him: The same old stuff. Interviews, press conferences, you name it.
Me: What..."press conf--"...? Guh. Glck. Grr.
Him: Honey, I don't understand what you're trying to say.
Me: Glack. Gurgh.
Him: Good night, dear.

You see? Soon, my husband is going to start looking at me like I'm a babbling baboon. Or perhaps a slow-witted child. But I am determined to improve. I refuse to allow my Japanese abilities to deteriorate any further.

The only problem is that I am never very good about keeping promises that I make to myself. I once came up with the really excellent vow to never leave a dish in the sink. It was wonderful for a few weeks, my kitchen sink ever clean, shiny, and bare. But then quite abruptly I just couldn't be that dish washing freak anymore, and now my sink is back to being the dirty dish holder.

Even more humiliating was the time I vowed to write a book. And I got so excited about it I told everybody. I still haven't written any books, dammit. But people keep asking me, "How's the book coming along?" I consider the look on their faces as I tell them exactly how the book is coming along--the expression is always so understanding--to be my penance for my supreme idiocy and for making big empty promises.

So, sure, I am feeling a little self-doubtful, a little less than intrepid. But I figure that if I publicly state my intentions on this blog, there is something more holding me to my promises. Please help cheer me on!

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nice blog :) really! 

- fenina

12/02/2004 03:57:00 PM  

Thanks, fenina! And welcome to my blog. 

- Rachel

12/02/2004 04:00:00 PM  

On your first promise, I honestly don't know why you need to do that, but nothing wrong with eating healthy. I can never diet either myself. I can't even push back my meal time by a couple of hours, because when my blood sugar is low, you don't wanna be around me.

Second promise, why don't you comprosmise? My friend who's married to a Japanese speaks to his wife in Japanese Thur-Sun, and English Mon-Wed. So you can have the more intellectual conversations on the English days.


- Lynn

12/03/2004 01:00:00 PM  

Re #1. Better to enjoy your food and be happy, then to diet and be cranky.

Re #2. That's going to be a tough one, speaking purely in Japanese to your husband. Just imagine if you're very annoyed with him and want to yell at him - he'd have walked away by the time you figure out the right words to yell. Too frustrating. Alternative solution: Sign yourself up for a cooking class in Japanese? 

- Hsin

12/03/2004 11:27:00 PM  

1) Don't worry, I'm still eating what I want to, but just with a modicum of self restraint. For example, say I bake muffins. Instead of eating a muffin for breakfast and another two for in-between-meal snacks, I'll have my bran for breakfast instead. So I'll eat two instead of three muffins in one day. Not that bad, right?

2) I considered the cooking class idea. But (a), I just can't afford any kind of class in Japan, which is why I stopped going to Japanese language class; (b) I need to practice conversational, back-and-forth Japanese, rather than merely listening to a teacher speaking. Thus, sigh, my husband is my last hope.  

- Rachel

12/06/2004 04:00:00 PM  

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