for the delay, I would have written last night but I was entranced by the cricket and the 'will we won't we win'-ness of it all. Unfortunately all i could do was follow it on cricinfo and their excellent live updates service as this was the only place I could find it. I know the BBC aren't allowed to do radio broadcasts from overseas tests, which just pisses me off, but I'd have thought a radio station in South Africa might have picked up the coverage, but no, there's nothing for us poor plebs who don't live in the UK to listen to. What especially f*cks me off is that radio 4 or five live do broadcast over the internet, but only to those with an ISP (or maybe DNS, I don't know) in the UK. What the f*ck is the internet for, unless for people who don't have access to UK radio?
As you can quite imagine, this annoys me just a little. I even emailed the ICC in an attempt to find out the reasons why, but they did not deign to reply to me, the tossers.
But what a game and what performances by Trescothick and Hoggard. Goodness me but it was nailbiting stuff, even if you only get news refreshed every 70 seconds. Well done chaps, excellent work all round.
The guru went for another check-up and scan today and all showed up ok. The Doc had said that we would be allowed to know the gender today, if they could tell from the scan, but unfortunately they could not (still looks like a fuzzy grey blob to me, hope it looks different when it comes out...). A little annoying is that the doc knows. It was confirmed by a test they did about a month ago, but you have to sign a piece of paper acknowledging the doc won't tell you at that stage, I guess as it is still within the legal abortion time limit and they don't want, rightly, couples choosing this option because of the baby's gender. But now, you'd have thought, the doc would relent a little as we are past that date, but no, rules are rules, don't you know, so wait until the scan shows you.
Still all a bit abstract for me, this pregnancy thing. Obviously the guru is getting bigger and I see the scan shots after every check-up, but it still doesn't quite seem to be real or connected yet. The other night I felt Fuu (as he/she/it is known at the moment (which is Japanese for 'wind', as this is what the first movements the guru felt might have been (and sounds better than naming a foetus 'indigestion'))) kicking for the first time myself, which freaked me out and pleased me no end at the same time, which is a strange feeling. I remember golf-playing-brother saying that the emotions didn't really kick in until Charlie was born, and I can see very much what he means.
Also, i think, parenthood in Japan seems to be left to the womenfolk as the men are too busy out hunting mammoths, or something. Don't really know why I think that, on reflection, perhaps I'm falling into the foreigner trap that views Japanese men as workaholic automatons (spelling?) whose free time consists of golf, pachinko, hostess bars and sleeping, which I am sure is doing a great disservice to a lot of fathers. But having said that, paternity leave is unheard of in Japan (so, interestingly, is compassionate leave) in that there is nothing enshrined in legisation to say that you are allowed to take time off work for either. Indeed my boss, whose wife gave birth in August last year, was phoned on the day by his (Japanese, female) boss and asked questions about budgets before it was suggested that he might be available the following day (which, to make matters even more absurd, was a Saturday) for a meeting! He naturally gave the idea very short shrift (which I think is a fantastic expression and not used nearly enough these days) and still kept his job, which was nice going.
Also, I have no idea what prospective fathers go through in the UK in terms of 'training' or 'parenting classes' or whatnot, but here again dads-to-be get a couple of 2 hour workshops on, as far as I can tell, how to bath babies (in the sink?) and...er...not sure what else we get, how to brush their teeth, perhaps, I do't know. Anyway, doesn't seem to be a lot, whilst again the mums-to-be seem to be off to something every other week - well, the guru seems to be pretty active and busy, and that's about as far as my knowledge goes. But, and I'm really looking forward to this, at one of these workshops I get to wear a 'pregnancy pack', which a 3kg strap-on that is meant to recreate the sensation of weight that women have to put up with and therefore make us menfolk sympathise more with our wives' plight. This is cool as I get to sympathise, nod sagely and then take it off after 10 minutes whilst the guru will have another 3 months. Doesn't seem fair, somehow.
As I'm no doubt you've been worried, I can confirm that all our teachers returned safe and sound from their holidays in Thailand and the Indian ocean. I think this was more down to luck than anything else, and a few teachers saw things that didn't want to, but overall everyone was uninjured and unharmed, thank goodness.