☆ i heart japan,  ☆ life

Living Tall in Japan, part 35

☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here

A few days ago, I mentioned that we were getting a new roommate at  Casa del NOVA. When I’d moved into that company apartment in September 2004, my two roommates, Rachel and Ang, were from Florida and Australia. We didn’t interact all that much, as we had very different interests, it seemed, but that was fine for us and we coexisted on friendly terms.

And then, Ang moved back to Perth. Rachel was also leaving, but right before she did, we got a new roommate to fill Ang’s spot, and that was an older lady, whom I am going to give the name Cersei. Because Joffrey was maybe a tinge more evil than she.

Cersei was an older woman. I have no idea what has happened to her in the nine years since we lived together, but I hope that she has grown up since those days. Even though she was at least 50 years old when I knew her.

Cersei was from Australia, and she left a husband that she loved to take care of their house, to come to Japan, and.. I’m not sure what she was doing there. Cersei didn’t like anime or manga, geisha or Japanese food. She seemed to like drinking and smoking, though, which admittedly is sort of a national pasttime in Japan. She also liked bossing people around. Maybe because she was more than twice my age, she thought that it would be alright to become a mother that I didn’t need.

It started out mildly, as these things usually do. Cersei asked me questions about my life, and we exchanged the usual details. But she started offering unsolicited advice. How I should eat. What I should be doing with my time. Then, she began commenting on how my life was so “different.” Different than whom? A boring person with no hobbies?

One day when I was at work, after Rachel had left and it was just Cersei and I living there, I came home to a surprise. Bbecause she apparently had nothing better to do (like explore this amazing new country that she was living in), Cersei had rearranged all of the furniture in the living room and our entire pantry, including my shelf. Actually, she moved all of my things to a completely different shelf. DON’T TOUCH MY FOOD!

I didn’t want to cause trouble, and these were things that I could deal with, so I didn’t say anything, until one day I came home to a rather motherly-sounding note taped to my bedroom door. It said that I was lucky she’d cleaned ‘everything else’ and that I have to clean all of my things out of the spare room because in case I haven’t noticed, she’s not moving in there.

I was confused. First of all, I had no idea what ‘everything else’ meant. Our apartment was pretty clean to start with. I mean, not spotless, but there were no messes anywhere and nothing that looked dirty to me. I always clean up after myself, so there wasn’t any problem that I knew of. My room was another story, as it was pretty messy, but that was my room. It doesn’t count against any evaluation of how clean the house was. The door was not open for her to come in anyway.

Second, why would I even begin to think that she was moving into the other bedroom? We were getting a new roommate pretty soon, so of course the new roomie will take that room, and none of my things were in there (I had switched rooms to take the bigger one that Rachel had left, but cleaned my old one already, even though I was still a bit under the weather). Maybe she hadn’t checked, but my opinion was that she needed to mind her own business. It pissed me off that she thought that she even remotely had the right to tell me what to do.

I left her a note on the table saying that she had no right telling me what to do and that I don’t want a mother, and the next day, she apologized. But it didn’t stop there.

After this, she never let up. She constantly told me that I need to do this, need to do that, that my lifestle is ‘so different‘. Well duh. I was open-minded and fun, and enjoyed my life. She wasn’t. I didn’t sleep around, drink, or smoke. I didn’t have wild parties, go to wild parties, or do any drugs at all. Oh, I DID like girls, and I did like yaoi, but neither of those were things that I shared with her. Besides, there is nothing wrong with either of them.

I smoldered. It grew worse when she began to take it upon herself to go through my food, throw some of it away, and move my things to different shelves and drawers again. She put some of my food on her shelf in the fridge, even though there was an established system, moved all of my special spices from my shelf out to the top of the stove (If she wanted to use them she could have just asked, but I probably wouldn’t have let her use them anyway), and then she yelled at me when I moved my own bag of brown sugar back to my shelf. I was pissed that she’d opened the package that I kept in my drawer, and put it into a container, then she told me it was hers. Funny. Mine disappeared, and suddenly she had a container full of it. I yelled back at her and she humored me, splitting it up into 2 containers.

And she yelled at me for not washing my dishes immediately. I know that it isn’t the best etiquette, but I’d eaten dinner late and then washed it up the next morning. She had no grounds to talk, though, since this occurred the day after she left her coffee cup out for two days (notice that I didn’t say anything to her). Hypocrite.

She started to buy toilet paper and hide it in her room and only bring out one roll at a time. I countered by buying a whole pack and left it in the bathroom where it belonged. We had always alternated who bought it, but apparently she thought there was a disparity between money put in and paper usage. I’m not sure. As I wrote back then, I’m sure she’ll use it up *rolls eyes* and think that’s all okay. HELLO. That’s what she did when she moved in.

It was still winter (March), and there was only one heater in the entire apartment. She took to turning it off at any hour, or down to 22(C), even when it was snowing out. I wanted it at 28, as anything lower makes me shiver uncontrollably (our rooms are much colder still), so we compromised with 26, but she continued turning it off without asking when I was in the room. We didn’t pay the electric bills, they were included in our rent, so to me it seemed ridiculous. Who wants to live in the cold? It was already too cold for me inside, and I could  barely get out of bed sometimes.

Then, she rearranged the living room again while I was away. I didn’t care all that much about what it looked like anymore, but she never asked me, just did these things as if she was in charge, and only her opinion mattered.

It made me feel like if I moved out, she would win.

The battle, though,  had only just begun. It might have seemed petty of me to get annoyed at what she had done so far, and I admit that I should have tried harder to work with her to create clear house rules that we could both follow. At the time, though, it seemed like she lacked common sense. We weren’t a married couple, and we weren’t family. I was under the impression that people in these situations generally didn’t mess with each other’s things, and they never insulted the others’ perfectly healthy lifestyles.

This was really only the beginning, though, and what she did next had even my friends upset for me. Very, very upset, because there’s a line that you should never cross.


Sooooo.. yes.

I had a brand-new, unwanted mother in my life. Trust me, one is enough. 

She still wasn’t as bad as my college roommate, though, which is a tale that I will relate to you after this is over! 🙂

See you tomorrow, minna-san!

(327 geeks have read this)

Hi! This is Jamie Lynn Lano! I am a Washington State (USA) native who: ☆ Holds a Bachelors of the Arts in Media Arts & Animation from AiPx. ☆ Worked as an assistant mangaka in Japan for Konomi Takeshi on The Prince of Tennis. ☆ Was an essay columnist for Asahi Weekly from 2008-2013. ☆ Was the star of Asahi Pop'n Press on Asahi TV (Japan) from 2009-2013 ☆ Was a write for Metropolis magazine in 2010. ☆ Has kept a blog foreeeeeeeeever! First and Current blogs.


  • muna

    I know your feelings I do have someone at work who is like that. She’s annoying and tells me what to do every time She is older but that doesn’t give her the right to boss me or anyone around. Some times older people shouldn’t meddle with younger people. grrr.

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Yep! Sometimes people just think that they are mothers! But if we aren’t asking and they aren’t our mentors, then nobody ever wants to be lectured to! I especially don’t want to be told what to do by an old, bitter woman. >.<

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      I lifted all of my complaints directly from a few old posts on my lj (although I edited grammar and cut out a few lesser things), so I definitely wrote about her. 😀 I kept quiet for a while, and then suddenly started writing about her, because it had been building up for a while. I can’t understand someone’s desire to mother another adult. It’s maddening to be constantly told how to live your life, when you’re supporting yourself and have the right to freedom and non-judgement!

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