One thing I like about my neighborhood is the youthfulness. Most of my apartment neighbors consist of young mothers with their small children. Their children range in age from 6 months to 5 years old. If the weather is nice, I often catch them outside playing with their children in the parking lot if the weather permits. So I sometimes have fun playing with their kids and chatting with them to learn Japanese. They are friendly ladies, and over the last 2 years, I’ve gotten to know them quite well. My friend Adoni does the same, and we often hang out with them.
Awhile back, we were invited to a couple of the BBQs they held, and one woman, Aki, invites us to dinner parties she holds at her new house. She moved out of the apartments when she and her husband finished building a brand new home in a suburban area nearby. She still brings her kids over to play though, and we’ve become good friends.
So on Friday night, my friend Adoni (from New York) and I were invited to attend the birthday party of Aki’s son Shota. Another neighbor came along with her two sons, who are about Shota’s age. Another woman from the neighborhood joined us as well. This party was to be held at a sprawling Karaoke complex. Only the mothers with 5 year old boys came along.
The evening was kind of interesting, although a bit awkward. Aki is pregnant, and the third woman, Kaori, had just bore a child 6 months ago. So I learned lots of new words, like tsuwari (morning sickness). In fact, between listening to their five year olds scream pokemon songs on the karaoke machine, I spent most of the evening listening to the ladies chat to me about morning sickness, doctor's visits, and breast feeding. I just sheepishly smiled, and tried not to blush too much while pretending I could relate.
I wished they had brought their husbands along so I could have had some more varied conversation. I rarely see their husbands, as they slave away till 8 or 9 at night. As for the karaoke, I still can’t sing any Japanese songs decently, but I almost nailed a couple. The kids were singing all kinds of Dragonball and Doraemon songs that I had never heard. They also made a spectacular mess of the karaoke room.