Tuesdays with Mamasan

10543643_10153063427649698_3810753554257586100_nI have, since I can remember, loathed Tuesdays. In high school I actually formulated a theory about the days of the week in two parts. First that Monday was actually a good day because you could start fresh, see your friends and tell each other or gossip about the weekend. Tuesday, however, well that all depended. If Monday turned out awful, Tuesday was just a reminder of all the awful that you STILL had to get through until Friday afternoon. On the other side of the coin, say you had a great Monday. Aced a test, got asked out by a cute boy, whatever, Tuesday then became like what we in the theatre call “The Curse of Second Night” which for all you non-theatre people is basically one of 4,982 superstitions you must acquire in order to be allowed near a stage and this one basically says that the night after Opening Night will ALWAYS SUCK. Something on the set will break or someone will forget a line or worse. I have seen Second Night take down so many professionals, trained with Master’s Degrees, even scholarly epic types, EVEN ALAN RICKMAN! I was in the audience on the dreaded Second Night of his performance in Private Lives in London and a glass broke on stage and as he was barefoot he cut himself and let’s just say there were some ad-libbed obscenities that I am not sure were Noel Coward approved. In my own experience I have gotten a concussion, broken my several of my metatarsals twice, once by a rocking chair rolling over them in Quilters and once during my tenure at The American Academy of Music and Dramatic Art where I was doing Irish Step Dance in Dancing at Lughnasa I have broken toes, ribs, ankles, you name it. ALL on Second Night. Oh I got that concussion from being accidentally hit in the head with a broom handle. Yeah, I am telling you. It’s always inevitably just a shit night and we all struggle through it to the end, all white knuckles and sour stomachs and when it is over you feel the most incredible feeling of relief.

Looks like someone showed Alan Rickman a Tuesday.
Looks like someone showed Alan Rickman a Tuesday.

This is how I feel about Tuesdays.

Inevitably they suck.

For me, in the role I am currently playing as wife, writer, and expat, Tuesdays mean Mamasan Day. Essentially it is the day when I get to be scrutinized and judged for my entire lifestyle and existence by Mamasan (my housekeeper, Toyoko) and her housemaid, Katsumi. Now I have employed them for the last six years. Fuck, that sounds very “Upstairs Downstairs.” But don’t be fooled by what seems all hoity-toity. These women run my life every Tuesday with special events including finding my knickers in the sofa and saying things like “Maybe you like a party too much,” to glorious moments when I actually forget to hide the recycling and they call me “wine brain,” which I think gets a little lost in translate, but I get the message. I get taught Japanese words that get me into trouble and I generally seem to be alive mainly to entertain them. They bang around the house with their dueling vacuums, talking loudly to each other and knocking into things (I think deliberately) and then tell ME to turn down the tv because it is too loud.

Katsumi-san and Mamasan with myself in the middle, getting a little toasted on Jason's buttered rum last Christmas.
Katsumi-san and Mamasan with myself in the middle, getting a little toasted on Jason’s buttered rum last Christmas.

Yes, yes I know, these are would considered #firstworldproblems, but there is more to today’s story. You see I can handle Mamasan Day. We have developed a sort of dance, One that, yes, includes two middle aged Okinawan women torturing me, but at least I have a fair amount of rhythm in this dance, which those of you who ever were on stage with me or worse, went to AMDA with me, would know that it is the only dance, or rhythm for that matter that I am actually decent at. They do certain rooms first and I move about from room to room with my laptop. We all do our jobs. Mine is to stay out of the way.

Yet being from a mostly middle class, non-maid having upbringing and to add to it the fact that middle aged Okinawan mamasans are scary as fuck, I have a pre-Mamasan Day ritual of getting up earlier than usual and running around collecting the recyclables, stashing them in closets or on my roof, picking up whatever cat bodily evacuation I have missed because honestly I don’t go to the other wing of the house that often. Oh god that last bit was SO “Downton Abbey.” Don’t worry friends, I’m bashing my own face in at the moment so no need to buy tickets to Japan to do it for me. Suffice to say, I PRECLEAN for my cleaning ladies.

Anyway, this is a normal Tuesday. Might I add that I strangely seem to drink more on Mondays than I do on any other day of the week? Still trying to figure what that is all about. SO generally there is a nice, precious little hangover attached to my Tuesday morning ritual of fear and self loathing and tidying and being ridiculed. TODAY, however, has been especially, cloyingly vicious. Today’s Tuesday is the bully who makes you eat your lunch in the bathroom. Today’s Tuesday is the religious fanatic that tells you, relentlessly, every day that you are going hell. Today’s Tuesday is Hitler and Mussolini and a little bit of Pol Pot sprinkled on top, just for good measure.

Now my neighborhood used to just be this nice quiet dead end street full of Yakuza and prostitutes. It was not particularly friendly but it was QUIET. Except during Obon Festival. Then we party HARD in Kitanakagusuku. However, other than that, it is a nice, respectable retired gangster village. But then suddenly one of Japan’s BIGGEST MALLS EVER was erected about a 20 minute walk from my house. Doesn’t change my street….or so I thought. Nope, it seems EVERYONE is remodeling, tearing things down, pouring concrete, DRILLING AND JACK HAMMERING at all hours of the day and night. Making Kitanaka “great again?” Fuck me gently with a chainsaw! There are very few things I loathe more than the sound of construction. But I have steeled myself…until today.

So much pain.
So much pain.

My landlord decided to have a few repairs of his own. Without telling me. What more can I say but IT’S A TUESDAY! So at the moment there is drilling so loud my ass if vibrating, not to mention the three other construction sites, along with the fact that I have a sick husband, two vacuums doing battle along with the voices attached to said vacuums, terrified cats and a throbbing angry headache. And It happens to be, at this moment 124 degrees outside with 91 percent humidity. This Tuesday is like the Second Night that the kid playing the younger brother in Peter Pan got accidentally bashed and stuck in his flying wires on the side of the set and a wire tech dropped a 50 lb weight that managed to miss killing me but skimmed my shoulder just enough to knock me on my ass and accidentally scream, interrupting the show and making everyone’s lives miserable for a minute.

I fuckin’ hate Tuesday.



  1. Maybe one of my favorites yet. I can relate. I have always cleaned my own house, but as I have no desire to clean 3/4 of a house I don’t dwell in, and said Fiancée’s father insists on a cleaning service to keep with all of that insistent AZ dust, I play the same game of cat and mouse that you speak of. Or I find a local pub to lay low in for a few hours whilst I complain to underpaid bartenders about how hard it is to escape the cleaning company. I can also relate to the “pre-clean” you speak of. I am so OCD about people seeing our house dirty (not to mention the bottle-riddled recycling can in my kitchen I have to empty), that I spend an hour just making sure it isn’t too dirty for them to clean. I feel you sister. Coincidentally enough…our company always comes on Tuesdays as well. Fuck Tuesdays…

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