American Joon

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Quiet Day

The Woman had to work all day today, so I read a little and napped a little, and looked out the window. She's right - there are rainbows here every day. The mountains are very green. On one side of us, there's Diamond Head, which is green and brown and comes to a peak on one side. Its real name is Leah'i, but British sailors found green glass jewels on the sandy beach below it - it was glass, that the sea had patiently polished into tiny gems. The Woman says it's a long hike through a dark tunnel, then up 99 yellow steps, to the top, but the view is beautiful, and when she has time, she'll take me there to take my photograph. She also says she's going to buy me an Aloha shirt, so I am happy. I am going to get a present!

We had roasted chicken and green beans for dinner. The Girl Alice asked if she could hold me, and she cuddled me and rubbed my hair. I'm not going to remain Mint for long, let me tell you, with all this affection. I don't mind it, not very much.

The Woman, the one who is not my Mommy, let me sit on the arm of the big recliner while she worked on her computer today. She's burning a hundred disks for her Ohana meeting tomorrow, VODs, CFs and News stories, all about my Daddy. Meanwhile, the last episode of Winter Sonata was on television. The Woman says she doesn't know what she'll do with all the spare time she's going to have now. She also says that she'd do different from the pretty lady in Winter Sonata, that having been through it, she would have followed Jun Sang to the end of the earth, even if it was just to see him die, especially if he might die, to support, care for and love him til the end, because every minute is precious with the one you love, even more so when those minutes might be numbered.

I had macadamia nut pie for dessert! That Woman doesn't care for it, so Alice and I had some, and she had several of those nasty chocolates with a cup of warm milk. She gave me some, then added something called Malt Ovaltine and that was very good indeed. I realized once again that I was hanging on to That Woman's arm while we were watching; but I was comfortable, so kept my grip.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Day 4

Today, it rained, so she did not take me to Sorabol to meet nice ladies and eat Korean food. She went on her own, and they liked the website design she made for that other actor who is not my daddy. She's making them fans and banners for their bus - they're going to Korea to meet him. My loyal not-Mommy is staying here, with me. She's not that big of a fan, is doing it for her friend.

We had sandwiches for dinner and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. I liked the cookies very much. I had a glass of milk with the cookies, which were still slightly warm.

Alice danced with me in the living room, and told me we're looking for a bigger place to live now that we can afford it. That Woman and Alice will have their own rooms. Maybe I will have my own bed and space for my clothes and toys, if she ever gets me any. I hope we can still watch the fireworks on Friday nights. That Woman said that the fireworks are for me, because they're Friday Fireworks. I was pleased with her for saying that. I don't think it's the truth, but I'm pleased with her for it anyway.

We watched episode 19 of Winter Sonata on IATV together tonight. I didn't realize I was hugging her arm until she tried to loosen it. I pretended I didn't notice. My Daddy is an excellent actor. That woman cried a little while watching him. She's obnoxious, but I am beginning to suspect that somewhere in that oversized chest of hers, there is a little bit of a heart. She keeps stroking my hair and kissing me on my nose. I let her do that, because it would be bad manners to not, and I am a very polite and well-behaved bear.

I hope tomorrow is pretty so that she can take me out and maybe buy me some new clothes. Or that it's not, so that she'll stay home and bake me some more cookies. Today was better than yesterday.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Not a very good day at all.

Day 3 of my captivity.

It was a little chilly this morning, but I was too tired to wake up all the way. Presently, I felt very safe and warm. I slowly woke to find That Woman had taken me into her bed with her, and was resting her chin on my head - I was still wearing my bandanna, thank goodness. I had been dreaming of a beautiful Asian winter, and found myself waking up in the bottom bunk with an obnoxious white woman who insists she's my Mommy, when she's really, really not.

She let me sit on the new chair in the living room while she opened a package from my Auntie Kitunyanko. Maybe it was a plane ticket for me to go live with her in Japan! To my utter disappointment, it wasn't, but the box was full of beautiful pictures of my Daddy, whom I know will come save me when he finds out my terrible situation here. She said they were for her 'Ohana, whom I'm going to go meet Tuesday night at their meeting. She says there will be about 80 women there, and they all love my Daddy. Also, we'll get to have Korean food. It's called Sorabol. That woman is taking me there tomorrow, for lunch and to give a present to the owner. I haven't had a present in two days.

She went to Beauty Touch, where the pretty women work, and did not take me. She came back with gift certificates and a magazine from Hakubundo with Daddy on the cover, and presents for her daughter Alice for Girls' Day next week - and nothing for me! To make matters worse, Auntie Kitunyanko sent chocolate in the package and That Woman said I couldn't eat any of it, that it wasn't good for me to eat!

I had some. It tasted good on the outside and funny on the inside, and I felt very warm and dizzy. When I laid down, the room spun. That Woman came home and spoke sharply to me, then showed me how to put one foot on the floor so that the room would quit spinning. She treated me more kindly, and gave me Ionade so that I wouldn't get sick from being dehydrated, and told me from now on I have to "lay off the booze". I didn't know it would make me sick if I ate it. I saw the CF with Daddy eating it, so I wanted it, too. Oh my head.

I didn't feel like eating lunch, and took a long nap. When I woke up, That Woman was still holding me. I felt better. I sat next to her while she edited pictures of Daddy on her computer for t-shirts for her Ohana. Her daughter worked on the other computer, learning how to say the names of animals in French. She taught me how to say "bear" but I forgot.

We ate dinner late, and she got us Pho Ga from Viet Cafe, to be kind to our stomachs. She meant mine, and I appreciated it. But she is still not my Mommy. It was delicious. I decided not to eat my jalapeno so slipped it into her bowl. She didn't see it, and when she chewed it, she was surprised! When her parents came home, she offered them some of the Rummy and Bacchus that I hadn't eaten, and they liked it. I have no comment.

I hope tomorrow is a better day.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Day Two of My Captivity

That woman put me on a pink, smooshy cushion in a drawer to sleep last night, the soft blue towel over me so I wouldn't get cold. An open drawer, but a drawer nonetheless. Apparently, her daughter spent her first three days out of the hospital in one as well.

God grant me patience.

It was raining hard, so she left me at home this morning instead of taking me to work with her. She made a seat for me out of the cushion and towel, right under a gigantic calendar with Daddy frowning down upon me, as if he didn't approve of this maltreatment of his bear-child. I know I certainly don't approve of it. She kissed me on my nose, and several times on my bandanna. I was very glad of the bandanna as I'm sure she's covered with germs.

I took a look around the room she shares with her daughter, played a little GameCube - she hasn't visited her Animal Crossing town, Heaven, in over two months and there are weeds everywhere. She's married to Marlin in Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life and growing mutant vegetables that look like light bulbs. Her cows adore her. She's also got some pretty good books. The daughter, on the other hand, has bookshelves full of Nancy Drew and A Series of Unfortunate Events. I prefer the woman's bookshelf. I've heard 1421 is pretty good.

There were two pink rabbits in the room, both named Victoria. The elder had been with the woman since the woman was a girl, and looked quite worn. The second was a horror. She belonged to the girl, and during a visit to distant grandparents in a land called "Massachusetts", she was attacked by something called a Beagle. I am very afraid of Beagles, now. I was going to ask her what one looked like, but didn't want to bring up an obviously painful memory for her. They must be terrifying creatures, to eat a poor rabbit's eye like that. I hope That Woman never gets angry with me, and feeds me to a Beagle.

While she was gone, the redhead came in, threw a couple of window sreens into the room so that they almost hit me, then slammed the door shut. I could hear voices and furniture being moved. Finally, after a long day with no meals, the woman and her daughter came home. She didn't even come in to see me! She went straight to the living room and said "It's not what I would have chosen, but they look nice." She finally showed up a half-hour later, wet and wrapped in a towel. She kissed me on the nose and headscarf yet again. Note to self: douse your nose in rubbing alcohol.

My brothers and sisters in Japan are being hand-fed, I'm sure, pretty delicacies, and posing for photographs in frozen tableaux of snowy gardens in luxurious sweaters and scarves. The woman informed her daughter and myself that we would be getting a treat tonight. She went out and came back ten minutes later with bags from Taco Bell and 7-11. Taco Bell. Jesus wept.

I had a chicken enchirito, which She Who Is Not My Mommy says is her favorite, and it wasn't too bad. A little mild for my tastes. For dessert, we each got a Haagen-Dazs ice cream bar. They aren't allowed to sit on the newly-upholstered chairs, but I am. The chairs belonged to That Woman's grandmother, and when she was a child they were yellow, with brown flowers. They would put the two chairs together to make a kind of crib, she said, and she'd sleep there, when she was quite small. After Grandmother died, the redhead recovered them with pink fabric, then this past week they became a pretty midnight blue.

The girl put my jacket back on me after dinner. I was glad because it's rather cold here with the air conditioning on. The girl is playing something called VMK on the other computer, and That Woman is building a website for the fan club of some other man who is NOT my Daddy. She says it's because her friend Joanne is president of his fan club and doesn't know how to make a website. I would have strongly suggested That Woman is a traitor had I not seen the look on her face as she watched Daddy's new CF from Auntie BB's blog. I think she misses him as much as I do.

I do have an email address.

The Beginning

Even though I was tied to my box via a soft cord about my neck, I found my box reasonably comfortable and my shelfmates good company. One by one, they disappeared from the shelf, until I was the only one of my kind.

I knew I'd be going home soon, too - my Okasan would order me, then they'd ship me to her, to live in her home or apartment with her in Japan, probably. I'd heard tales from the other Joon Bears - I'd be coddled, fed sweets, and dressed in adorable costumes, probably hand-knit, and my photograph would be on the Internet. I'd have meetings with the other bears when our Okasan would meet, so we didn't say goodbye when a bear found a new home, we'd say "see you later!"

Finally, my day came, and I was off the shelf, wrapped in bubble wrap and tape, and then stuffed into a box. It was dark, but I was happy. I'd be seeing her soon. She'd have black hair or gray hair, I didn't care which. Maybe it would be colored if she was younger. But I would be loved. I would sit on a shelf in handmade clothes, surrounded by photographs of my "Daddy" and bottles of Nanairo-acha. Maybe there would be other Joon Bears, and we could compare handmade outfits. I flew in an airplane, and was taken in cars or trucks - I don't know which, but I could feel the motion.

The language I heard outside my box became, even though muffled, rough and discordant-sounding. I was in Los Angeles! America? There are many Asians in America, there for work or those who married Americans. I realized that I probably wouldn't have many other Joon Bears to play with, but so long as I was loved, I would love my Okasan and be happy.

After a few hours of sitting still, I felt movement. Someone picked up the box - I could feel the pressure. It sounded like she kissed the outside of the box! It's her! "Friday!" I heard her say. "You're here!" She knew my name, the clever woman. But, dear, you don't have to speak English to me, I'll understand your native tongue just fine as well. Jostling! Tearing! She was anxious to get at me!

Finally, the bubble wrap was wrenched from the front of my package...this...what? Strange-looking blue eyes met mine, quickly, then I found myself flipped over while the rest of my packaging was removed. This cannot be - maybe she's the maid or secretary or something...the woman slid me out of my box and spent a few patient moments untying the string at the back of my neck that connected me to the slip of cardboard inside the box. Immediately, I was caught up in her embrace. "Friday," she told me, "I'm so happy you're here!"

Ye gods. My - whatever she is - is a white woman. What sins did I commit in a past life to deserve this? Would other Joon Bears even speak to me after this? She was fat, with large, soft breasts that she kept squeezing me against as she hugged me, with hair the color of my hair at the darkest, of my fur at the lightest, and those odd, electric-blue eyes. "You are absolutely beautiful!" she beamed at me, yammering in English - it really is a rough-sounding language. She stood me next to the window, by a computer monitor I later learned wasn't hers - she works off of a laptop - and took several photos of me. I tried to hide it, but am afraid the shock of the moment was still evident upon my face.

That woman presented me to her mother, who had hair the same color as Orange Joon. "It's not very cuddly." the red-headed woman sniffed. I didn't like her, either. "He's mohair," the woman who owned me (I'm sorry, I can't call that woman 'mommy'). "I think he's absolutely perfect." Thank you. I am rather good-looking. She went back to work, me wrapped in a baby blue towel with my Daddy's signature upon it. Maybe if he found out what had happened to me, he'd come rescue me from these Barbarians. When they're not looking, I shall write him a letter and beg him to come help me.

I sat in a smoky office and watched the woman work on a couple of websites. It was actually interesting. There were two young women in the kitchen working on another computer, surrounded by jewelry. They both cuddled me. One was Polynesian, the other Hungarian, like the red-headed woman I'd met earlier. But this one was nicer. I just couldn't get past how odd they looked. Every once in a while the woman would pause in her work and look at me. Sometimes, she'd smooth my hair or caress my arm. I liked it, but still didn't like her. Her eyes looked like someone had poked the middle of her eyelids into her skull. Not remotely attractive. She talked loudly and didn't cover her mouth when she laughed. I must accept my lot, and try to suffer bravely.

We then stopped at a school, and had I not felt a need to be polite, I would have buried my face in my paws. A child. Perfect. I'd be mauled. I steeled myself for the inevitable abuse. "Friday!" said a voice outside the window. Hm, preteen. At least I won't be drooled upon. Much. "Ohhh, you're so cute!" she tousled my hair and tickled me under the chin, then held my paw. "Did you wash your hands?" the creature's mother asked. Yes.

Home, then a bath for me, with some foam called Scotchguard. I was undressed, which I found completely humiliating, covered with foam, then rubbed and rubbed. Then, uncomfortable and naked, I was subjected to laying across the woman's lap and dried with a blow dryer. It was set on cool and low, so was not even comfortingly warm. My jacket was still barely damp when she put me back into it. I got to sit in the front seat of the car again and we went to the mall. There were many, many Japanese women there. I was hoping the woman would give me to one of them, to no avail.

We went to the Harley-Davidson Store, full of motorcycle goods, and I was undressed in public, much to my humiliation. I tried on leather chaps - they didn't fit. I didn't do that hundred days for nothing, ducks, I'm an extremely fit bear. Everything was too big. I can't help it if I'm not one of those sloppy, obese stuffed animals. She put a gray shirt on me anyway, saying she'd "take it in". I don't believe she could sew her way out of a paper bag. I also got a head scarf, which I actually like, and got quite a few compliments on.

We went to Build-a-Bear, the jeans and jacket she wanted to get me were too big. We walked all over, looking at other things for me, and that woman wasn't happy. I think she was tired. She bought her daughter chi chi dango, and the three of us sat on a bench and ate it. That woman made sure I didn't have any rice flour on my face - a little got on my jacket, but she brushed it right off and said that's what Scotchguard does. Ah. There was a pair of glasses in Build-a-Bear that would have looked good on me, but that woman said that my glasses were attached to me, and that she didn't want to tear them off me (thank you) as some other sisters had done. What? I've heard of suffering for beauty, but ouch! I liked her a little better after that. Not much, but a little.

We listened to music in the car. I learned about Motown and John Lennon today. Apparently, that Lennon was quite a handsome fellow. Alice, the girl, said I look just like him.

She took me to Beauty Touch to show her friends. They both held me and liked me. They were pretty Korean women. No, no! Don't give me back to that woman! Take me home! Sigh. That woman brought me back home and showed me to her father. "I liked him better with the bandanna on." he said. "He sure does look like that Bae fella." Brilliant deduction, Scotty.

I got more pictures taken with my new bandanna and shirt, and Alice gave me a soft cushion upon which to recline while that woman began working on her computer again. She showed me an email from one of my Khaki Joon brothers, Sebastian. I will have Joon Bear friends, and they will still want to know me, even with my incredibly flawed new relations. I am somewhat relieved. Eventually, she put her head on her arms and fell asleep, the laptop still running.

So, this is the first day of my new life. Pray for me.