Archive for July 2006

Last Call: Citizenship and Immigration

July 19, 2006

T

hursday is our next attempt at getting M’s immigration status back on track. After forgetting to renew her conditional green card, we have been in court, through immigration interviews and out of a lot of money due to lawyer fees. I swear, I am burned out, stressed out and plum tuckered out. I mean, we are law abiding citizens. We pay our taxes. We don’t do drugs. We don’t hold wild, all night orgies. All we want to do is live peacefully and lawfully in the US. This interview is to do two things: reinstate her status as a legal resident–which she is as the wife of a US citizen–and remove her conditional status once and for all.

This morning started with a phone call from our lawyer. She scolded me for not being home. I’ve been trying to reach you since Monday! I told her we were in the Appalachians with relatives visiting from Japan. Likely story. Nah, she didn’t really say that. But she did sound rather worried sine our interview is on Thursday. She wanted us to come in to confirm the documents we are supposed to take with us. When I told her that is what I was going to do today: The interview is for tomorrow!

Oh well…

Anyway, I already had a lot of the documentation gathered, made copies on our brand new Brother DCP7020–which is noisy as hell but at least works when you want it to, unlike our previous Canon Multipass piece of crap–and we went to the law office. They were rather relieved and pleased that the documentation I had assembled in about an hour and half was complete and neatly collated. All my last minute crises at school has paid off. It has taught me how to focus and get things done quickly when necessary.

The lead lawyer peppered us with possible questions the INS agent may ask. They just want to make sure we have a legitimate marriage, he said.

  • What side of the bed do you sleep on?
    Left side.
  • What color are you sheets?
    Um, off-white? Beige?
  • Where did you meet your wife?
    At a sports club. She was an aerobics teacher; I participated. You could say I married my teacher. Hehe…
  • Uh, yeah… haha. What color bed clothes was your wife wearing when you woke up this morning?
    This morning? Mmmmm. She wears a T-shirt like I do, so it’s different every night, so… navy? Maybe? Black?
  • You should be sure of your answer. Pay attention to what she wears to sleep tonight.
    Uh, okay.
  • What did you give each other last Christmas?
    Last Christmas? That’s a really good question.
  • How about last birthday? What did you give her and what did she give you?
    Uh… That’s an even better question…
  • Okay, let’s try something simpler. Where did you propose to her?
    Well, it never was such a big deal. We met, fell in love and it was kind of a forgone conclusion that we’d get married. It was just a part of our normal conversations, y’know: “When we get together, lets get this kind of house,” or “what kind of furniture should we get?” I didn’t do one of those down-on-your-knees “Will you marry me” kind of proposals. This was both our second marriage and we didn’t want to make such a big deal out of it.
  • But you did buy a ring didn’t you?
    Of course!
  • Where did you buy it?
    Er…….
  • How big is it?
    A little smaller than a kernel of corn?
  • No, no, I mean, how many Karats is it?
    Carrots?
  • Okay, then how much was it?
    Um, in dollars or in yen?
  • ………………..
    ………………..

Well, we leave at 7 AM for our 8 AM interview. I hope it goes better than the mock interview with our lawyer. And by the way, M is wearing a black T-shirt as she is getting ready to sleep….

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Shenadoah

July 18, 2006

J

ust got back from Shenandoah National Park. We stayed in a lodge called Big Meadows located in the, um, Big Meadows region of the park. The mountains were beautiful, the roads winding and sometimes rather scary. I wanted the kids to explore the wide open lands of Virginia, and I must admit even I was amazed at the beauty of the Appalachian mountains.

I’m also glad I took the in-law; I’m not sure what I’d call him, as he is not my father-in-law–Ender, will PLEASE read the entries and not skim them? He is M’s son’s father-in-law. M’s father–the man who would be my father-in-law–died thirty years ago. Anyway, as I said, I’m glad I took him. After hearing his stories of visiting every continent on earth, and the various different countries he has already visited–he has been traveling to the US on business since the 60s–it was a relief to have taken him somewhere he has never been.

Anyway, I will try to post more about our trip. I might even put up a protected post–I’ll let you imagine why–for my regular readers. If you want to read the posts, give a holler!

Grand kids

July 14, 2006

Y

esterday, one of our grand kids came over for a visit. Well, it’s not really a visit but a stay… until September 5th. Kentaro’s in the 4th grade in Japan and he brought along a friend, Kintaro, with him, so our house went from a quiet home to a summer camp in the blink of an eye.

I must admit that I was wary from the beginning, worried not so much about the noise but about illness or injury, but M insisted that Ken is on the quiet side and well behaved. And he is for the most part. But being with your best friend can change even the best of us. First they ran to check every room in the house, and when they discovered the basement, they immediately wanted to run on the treadmill and lift weights. As male friends do, they wanted to outdo each other, so Kin wanted to run faster on the treadmill than Ken and promptly fell off and cut his lip. I did my best not to give M that “I-told-you-so” look…

The cut wasn’t so bad and they were soon horsing around, but I hope an injury on the very first day is not an omen of things to come.

Scout Buddies

July 5, 2006

A

few months ago, I received an email from an old friend… Well, friend may not be the exact word, but I would like to think that we were more than just acquaintances. JU was a member of my patrol in Boy Scouts, and we were together in Karate and the same private high school. But what I believe to be our true bond was getting drunk together in Tokyo. I mean, getting shit-faced on sake in Takadanobaba is truly a bonding experience.

As usual, the following is as true as I remember it–we all remember things in our own way and memory should always be held up to scrutiny. If it is inaccurate in anyway, I hope that JU will point it out to me. In any event…

JU and I went to the same elementary school, Maryknoll, near Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. He lived in East LA as I did, but in another area near where 4th Street turns into 3rd Street, so we never rode the same school bus. Since he was two years younger than me, I didn’t really get to know him until he entered our Boys Scout troop. Back then, our troop had a membership of around 50–I’m guessing actually–and we were divided into patrols, each patrol consisting of scouts from basically the same area. The westsiders made up the Bear patrol–BK might want to verify that. Those from Monterey Park were represented by the Rising Sun Patrol–formerly the Beavers, but we had to change the name. The Cobra were from the Boyle Heights area.

I lived in the Belvedere area of East LA and found myself in the Firebird patrol with people I barely knew: Yonai who was two years older than me, Piki who was one year older. Yonai eventually dropped out and Piki was promoted to Assistant Scout Master, so I became patrol leader for a group of fellow Eastsiders named Kuch, Banzai, Yonai’s younger cousin, the Ezaki twins and JU. A classmate, Rhubarb, was also in our patrol, even though he didn’t live on the Eastside. He lived in Eagle Rock where no one else lived, so he got stuck with us. We were not necessarily a motely crew, but Yonai the elder, and others from an earlier generation ensured that we had a reputation of being slackers and screw-ups.

But that reputation was not necessarily a bad thing. Those of you who have read NLUTE know that I considered myself a GLOB (good little Oriental boy), so a reputation as a slacker had its appeal. Perhaps, however, more to the point, few had any expectations of us, so we could slack off and no one would get on our case. Once we had a physical fitness night and each patrol had to perform a set number of exercises, including a 50 yard dash, chin-ups, and push-ups. Since the patrols came in various sizes, the competition between patrols would be limited to only a few members, but each member had to participate. So the weekend before we got together to decide who could do the best in each group. I was not the fastest person at school, and my short legs made the matter worse, but I was about as fast as anyone in our patrol. When we tried to do push-ups, I recall Banzai not being able to do even one. I thought he as joking and slacking off–and if you are thought to be slacking off amongst a bunch of slackers, then that would be REALLY bad. But he was seriously push-up impaired. If I met him now, he’d probably kick my ass, but back then, he could barely do one. We did not fare very well.

However, when we did perform, people were actually impressed. Once, we had a drill contest between patrols and we actually tried to come up with a marching routine that would look kinda cool. We were supposed to march in formation and split into two different groups and then mesh together at the end. As you might imagine, in the middle of the competition, one group took a left when they were supposed to take a right, and we were all screwed up–almost like the Stanford marching band. But for some reason, at the end of the routine, we all ended up at the right spot. Personally, I was pissed as hell and couldn’t wait to tell them they had fucked up. But as we stood at attention and saluted Imu, the Assistant Scoutmaster, he nodded as he jotted something down on his clipboard, muttering “pretty good.” We ended up in third place with a routine we had messed up.

I have a number of other memories from my Scout days, but I would be deviating from the purpose of this post: JU. As far as I remember, he was a good kid, a solid member in our patrol. I say this without a hint of sarcasm. He was athletic, sharp and willing to work hard, which might explain why he’s a lawyer now. But when I met him in Japan a number of years later, he left me with a different impression.

To be continued…

Happy 4th

July 4, 2006

M

an, I thought I’d be writing a lot more this summer, but these damn dramas have taken over my life. But no drama today. We will be going to the National Mall to see A Capitol Fourth 2006. Jason Alexander is supposed to be the MC and M’s favorite star will be there–Elmo! Vanessa Williams is supposed to be there too, but I will try not to gaze too longingly. Ai to Heiwa! (Love and peace)

Have a Safe and Sane 4th everyone.