A Family Update

Andy last week decided that he really wants a dog, and he wants to buy it with 50,000 to 100,000 yen of his own money, made 100-150 yen at a time by helping around the house. He has suddenly become the model son, helping out washing dishes, vacuuming, and housecleaning without being asked, but extorting as much money as he from us afterwards.

We took him to a pet shop on Saturday to look at the dogs, and he really liked a yappy little brown chihuahua that was going for only 50,000 yen. Every time I commented on how much cheaper that one was compared to all the others, my wife turned to me and told me to STFU under her breath. Personally, I’m a fan of much larger dogs, preferably one that could eat a chihuahua for breakfast.

My wife told him (and me) that she’ll think more about getting a dog when Andy’s in the fifth grade, which is a euphemism for “when hell freezes over,” but to Andy that just means he has plenty of time to save up enough money. I’ve suggested a few alternative animals for pets: a penguin, a snake, a poo-flinging monkey, a chicken or a hamster that’ll make his room stink like rodent piss. But for him it’s chihuahua or bust. Mommy’s vote is for the latter.

Tony has been spending every waking moment playing Monster Hunter on his PSP, and he’d even play it in his sleep if we let him. It bothers me to see him wasting his formative years slaying imaginary monsters, so last Monday I very lovingly confiscated his PSP’s battery and told him I’d give it back after he read a book of his choice in English. He chose The Cat in the Hat Beginner Book Dictionary, which he chased me around with every day until we finally finished it together on Saturday afternoon. Immediately he went back to putting his young life on hold to spend hours and hours slashing more monsters and collecting bigger and more deadly weapons, so last night I asked him for the battery again, and he gave it up with barely a whimper. After all, there’s still Smash Brothers on the Wii and Animal Crossing on the Nintendo DS which he can use to waste his life.

This morning I sent a text message in English to his mobile phone: Your PSP battery is in the top drawer of your desk, inside the blue Oreo chocolate candy box. It he can decode the message, he can have the battery back. The messages will get progressively harder from now on, and eventually he’ll have to start answering questions. By the time he reaches junior high school, he’ll be decades ahead of his classmates in English ability, and he’ll thank me for being such a prick.

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Rich Pav

Richard has been living in Japan since 1990 with his wife and two teenage sons, Tony and Andy.

7 thoughts to “A Family Update”

  1. I can’t wait to have kids. It’s funny because the older that you become the more you start to think about having them. Makes me kind of wonder if the same thoughts were going through my dad’s head when he was about the same age.

    Anyway I hope I can do the same things he has done for me plus more, and that the future brings even better fathers like him and you yourself Rich.

  2. I think it’s cute how you’re teaching him his English. I think it’s a great way too. And yes he will be very glad of that when he gets to learning it. From what I understand of people who have had to learn English it can be very hard. I had a dog when I was in fourth grade as a bday present and it was a lot of fun having a pet. Of course my dog was a hyperactive dog so lol. But he was a lot of fun and pets can be a great friend.

  3. Hi Rich, just wanted to say hope everything is alright with you and your family after the tragic events in Akihabara at the weekend, this really freaked me out. I have been there twice and consider it very safe.



  4. That’s a really clever thing you’re doing with the PSP. Who’s to say you couldn’t do a similar thing by hiding the power cords for the consoles? šŸ˜‰

    I sympathize on the much larger dogs issue. I hate how little dogs like the chihuahua are so popular for the “kawaii” factor. I remember being especially annoyed in Tokyo when the little yapping things were everywhere I looked.

    One thing I was curious about; they don’t have a lot of pet stores in the states anymore since a lot of the dogs were being mass-bred in puppy mills and the living conditions in the pet stores were pretty bad for the animals. Are there professional breeders in Japan, and would it be ridiculously more expensive to go with one? Because frankly, I remember seeing all the puppies in a pet store in Ueno whining and practically scratching their fur off and thinking to myself about how many behavioral problems they’d probably have if they ever got out.

    You can’t depend on kids to train the animal; that’ll probably be left to you and your wife. So a professional breeder who will probably at least house train the dog before hand might be a good way to go.

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