Sunday parker

Blogging-wise, the new year hasn’t gotten off to a good start. But I’ve found a little bit of time to do the time-honoured thing of blogging about assholes.

You know if you’ve ever driven into the car park at Shaw Centre, that the place was designed by architects who either don’t drive, or when they were drafting the plans for the place, didn’t consider the little detail about how drivers and passengers like to get out of their cars once they park.

But even if it is all the fault of the architects and the owners of the car park, some people still find it within themselves to be complete assholes on a Sunday when parking is particularly scarce because for some reason the whole of Singapore decides they want to buy something from the Hokkaido Food Fair at the basement of Isetan.

You sir/madam/goddamn motherparker, are an idiot and should pay double the parking charge:

Asshole of the day

Day at the vet’s

Day at the vet's

I spent the morning at the vet’s with Mac Our Dog, and it was a particularly busy morning there, with the receptionist at sixes and sevens, and though she was trying her humanly (and doggedly and cattedly) best to cope, Mac and I had to wait about an hour before we saw the vet, and when we did, the consultation rooms were all full so the vet actually came out to the reception area to see Mac.

Which was good of course, because Mac Our Dog has an understandable fear of the consultation rooms – he’s pretty happy in the reception area because he thinks it’s a wonderful place full of other people and animals. But once he’s in a consultation room, memories of needles and other cold and painful instruments assault his senses and he’s so stressed out you want to look for doggie cigarettes for him to calm his nerves.

The good thing with the wait was that Mac Our Dog got to make lots of friends (and piss some of them off with his over-friendliness), most notably a English Bulldog whose first action upon seeing Mac was a play-bow, (an invitational gesture to play – for those not in the know) which drove Mac nuts – which meant that Mac next attempted to hump the (male) bulldog.

If you’re unfamiliar with Mac Our Dog, here’s where I tell you that Mac Our Dog humps everything that moves, although he has a preference for human legs.

The bulldog wasn’t the least bit offended by Mac’s forwardness, and I was afraid he was going to be mauled or at least severely barked at. But no. The bulldog attempted to return the compliment instead, and what ensued was a merry dance of dogs, handlers and leashes, much to the delight of the dozen people who had been waiting half the morning to see the vet.

Standing for a long time next to me waiting to get the attention of the receptionist was a couple in their 60s carrying a small animal in a bag which upon some conversation revealed itself to be a five year old rabbit with a large tumour on its chest.

Day at the vet'sLucky The Rabbit’s gone under the vet’s knife a few months previously to remove several similar tumours, and his bald patch from that surgery hasn’t even had time to grow back. But his doting owners just want to make sure he’s ok, and don’t see themselves as having any other choice than forking out another thousand bucks to get Lucky’s tumours out.

“It’s between his arms“, the couple corrected me in Cantonese when I suggested to them that the tumour being between his front legs would pose problems with Lucky’s movements.

“He’s very “kuai”, and sits down with us to watch tv every day”, says Auntie, who also tells me Lucky was found downstairs of their flat, abandoned by his previous owners.

“If we don’t let him have surgery, then we don’t know what to do” she says, as the receptionist finally calls for me and Mac to get our prescription and bill.

Uncle just looks at Lucky and very gently strokes him from behind his bunny ears while Mac goes nuts at the sight of two Shi-Tzus being slung from the shoulders of another irate owner who’s been kept waiting for most of the morning as well.

Ten ten ten ten ten ten…

Fruency!

While waiting at the Ob-Gyn’s office, I spied a headline in our Straits Times – “Japan acts to raise fluency in English” – and was reminded of a YouTube video we saw ages ago of a Japanese game show game where participants were smacked (on their bottoms, no less) whenever they lost control and laughed at a clip of a man trying to read in English. The best part is when he tries to count to a hundred in English.

He gets to 19 with few problems.

A good start

Toshikishi SobaFor New Year’s this year we decided that it would be nice to observe a little family tradition. From Naomi’s side of the family, that is. From Naomi’s father’s side of the family, that is. Mixed marriages are so much fun.

We decided to do this traditional New Year’s Eve and Day thing so that when our baby is born, we’ll be able to present to him a smorgasbord of traditions from all sides of our families, with smorgasbord alluding to the food bit of tradition, not the Swedish bit, because we don’t have any Swedish in our blood except for the time I got a couple of splinters in my hand from assembling an Ikea armchair.

On New Year’s Eve, it is traditional to eat toshikoshi soba and watch a music variety show on NHK, but we caught only a bit of it at home before going over to Naomi’s mum’s and she doesn’t have NHK on cable, so we missed the bulk of it. Toshikoshi soba symbolizes longevity, so we’re good. I don’t know what the tv show symbolizes so I don’t know what we’ve missed.

Naomi prepared the soba with as many ice cubes as the fridge could make – which wasn’t enough – because we decided on cold soba instead of hot, and we managed to get the noodles down our throats before the clock struck twelve.

New Year's Day BreakfastDifferent families in different regions observe these customs differently – and we opted for a 7am start on New Year’s Day for the consuming of ozoni, a soup with really yummy toasted mochi.

We’re told that what you do on New Year’s sets the tone for the rest of the year. I went to work right after a big bowl of ozoni, and I’ll be satisfied if that means I’ll be having work and food all year.

Many families celebrate New Year’s over three days, so there’s still a bit of time to go eat and be happy. Meantime, Naomi and I wish you a very happy oshogatsu.

New Year's Day Breakfast