Chiyo

[Chiyo] It’s the Year of the Tiger.

2022 is the Year of the Tiger. I happen to have a cousin who actually is a tiger. This was us when we were kids:

A picture of Chiyo the cat and Tomiko the tiger when they were children.

Tomiko is good at a lot of things. She is a fierce leader at the company she works for. She is a go-getter and the pride and joy of my aunt and uncle. Ever since we were little, we were always compared by our relatives.

I always resented her for being the superior feline. (=🝦 ༝ 🝦=) I would dread every family gathering during the Lunar New Year because it became an annual ritual to put me side by side with Tomiko, where ultimately I paled in comparison to her. (╯°□°)╯( ┻━┻

But then… in the end I still like her a lot. Because she never basks in the glory of winning this “competition”. She would shrug it off and say, “What’s the point of this?” And then she would ask me to go and play outdoors with her (where I have to say, we were both equal in our energy to play!).

This year I met up with her again, and now that we are all grown up and we can’t have large gatherings like we did in the past, nobody bothered to compare us anymore. Instead, I had a really lovely New Year meetup with Tomiko as we caught up with each other and wondered why we didn’t do this more often. (´ ᴗ`✿)

Maybe Lunar New Year celebrations aren’t so bad after all.

A selfie illustration of Chiyo the cat and Tomiko the tiger.
Chiyo

[Chiyo] Insensitive people.

Do you have a friend who is a cat lover who gushes about how cute cats are all day and how they want to cuddle with them all day? Well, DON’T. If you love cats, take them seriously and treat them with respect. Just the other day I had an acquaintance come over and he was just awful.

Before I tell you the whole story, I would like to say that all my life I’ve encountered people who tell me how cute I am as a compliment – it is anything but a compliment when the implication is that I don’t get taken seriously or shown any respect when I’m “cute”!!! (๑・`▱´・๑)

Okay, so just the other day, I invited Junpei and our colleague (whom I’ll just call A-san here) to my house for tea. I tidied, by the way, so I took a photo:

Everything was fine and dandy, until A-san noticed I had an electronic keyboard in the corner of the room.

“Oh Chiyo-chan, I didn’t know you play the keyboard! Could you play something for us?” He asked.

Just so you know, I’d only just started learning how to play it recently, so I’m no Mozart. But how could you turn down a guest, right? It seemed rude. So I told him very honestly that I was an amateur and to pardon me for my poor playing.

Then I began to play a piece I was recently practising and it was Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect”. I really liked this song because they often play it at weddings. (˵¯͒〰¯͒˵) It started out fine, then on the way to the chorus, I started to slip up and hit the wrong keys. A-san loudly noted this at once. He laughed jovially and said things like:

“Oh Chiyo-chan, I’m not sure the song goes like this.”

“The bride is tripping down the aisle now, haha!”

He went on and on. And on. And on. I was so angry. I am so angry. I was going to throw my keyboard at him in rage. (Am I the bad guy here?!)

I think I might have left some claw marks on the keys.

Then Junpei very calmly said, “Here, A-san, have some cookies.” And he stuffed A-san’s mouth so quickly that A-san couldn’t even laugh or say another word.

What a waste of a good cookie.

Then he looked at me and said, “I thought that was a very beautiful effort for having started learning the keyboard for only a month.” And he clapped for me and took me away from my rage.

When A-san finally spluttered back to words, Junpei promptly said it was time to leave and got up so efficiently and matter-of-factly that A-san could not protest.

What would I do without Junpei?!

Anyway, Junpei loves to collect quotes. So it was no surprise when he texted me this quote after he had left:

Who…is that?

Yeah. I’m not going to invite A-san to my home ever again.

Moku-tan

[Moku-tan] Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody! I know you’re supposed to wake up all refreshed and start on a clean slate for the new year but when you’re an owner of an eatery it always feels more like you’re trying to clean up the mess from the previous year. I guess it’s my fault because instead of cleaning up properly after the last customer left my shop with celebratory ice cream, I hurriedly closed my shop so that I could also bring my celebratory ice cream to my friends’ New Year’s Eve party.

We had a Christmas gathering at Chiyo’s last week, so yesterday we went to Junpei’s apartment instead. I really like how he decorated it.

I nearly fell asleep on the beanbag.

We were having soda and chips (courtesy of Goma-kun!) and ice cream and the countdown was on TV. We didn’t plan any activities in particular. Everyone was chilling, then all of a sudden Chiyo banged her soda glass down and asked everyone what their new year resolutions were.

I panicked. Every year, I avoid making new year resolutions because I find that I get disappointed when I ultimately don’t follow through when the new year rolls around. I prefer to take baby steps throughout the year, you see…

Anyway, everybody had their turn and now they were all staring at me. I laughed nervously and said I hadn’t thought of any new year resolutions. Chiyo proceeded to bang her paw on the table and repeated, now more fiercely, “What are your new year resolutions?!” (At this point I wondered if Goma-kun had brought us beer by mistake because Chiyo was so riled up.)

This cat is on fireeeeeeee!

Under her intense glare, I started to answer in a high-pitched voice that I always wanted to sell handmade items.

“GOOD!” she shouted. “SELL THEM!”

And that is how I ended up with a new little corner in my shop before I headed home last night.

Please come and buy something from my shop!

…did I mention that yesterday a kid reached for the jar of rainbow sprinkles and shouted, “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” while tossing the sprinkles all over the shop? (His mother was horrified and tried to sweep it all up and she kept apologising. But the little boy looked so happy, I couldn’t help but understand his joy, too…) Yeah, I think I’d better run to the store now before the ants take over the place.

Here’s a group photo of us from yesterday!

Happy New Year, everybody. 🙂

Get the Charcoal Sorbet Year-end Party Sticker from my store!

Junpei

[Junpei] Merry Christmas.

Hello, my name is Junpei. It is Christmas today. I celebrated it with my most cherished friends. We went to Chiyo’s house this year, sat on the rooftop and enjoyed the sounds of different Christmas songs floating out of the neighbors’ windows.

We used to go to so many parties at this time of the year and we would panic over the last few presents we forgot to buy. We haven’t been able to go to any parties the past two years. At first, it was strange and almost sad that the mood was different. But this year, I found that it allowed me to reflect on what was most important – and that was to be grateful for the friends you have and for the relationships you hold.

My friends know that I love to collect quotes, so I’m sharing a very apt one below.

Merry Christmas everyone! May the new year hold better adventures for us all.