Friday, April 10, 2015

The handover meeting. My last official day as vice prez/fuku kaicho for the Kids Club/Kodomo Kai...

Sunday, March 29th at 10am was *the* handover meeting from the 2014/2015 members (us) to the 2015/2016 members. Also, a notice was given in the kids kairanban (information booklet) different from the adults kairanban booklet. The kids one, only goes to houses with elementary age kids in our housing community. Anyway about 2 weeks before March 29th the kids kairanban went around. Letting all parents of elementary school age know. #1, the term/year are over,  the people running the kids club are switching and if any of you would like to attend said meeting you are most welcome. Also it reminded everyone with a elementary aged kid to also pay their yearly dues on March 29th, the total for the year would be 700 yen. The reason I bring this up, in the first place is at the end of each kids kairanban message it says...sincerely and then lists the 7 people in the PTA. Our names were OFF and new names were on! I was so thrilled when I received that kairanban (information booklet) and my name was NOT on there anymore! So it was 2 weeks before, reading that, when I realized...wow, it is finally coming to an end. Also keep in mind, the kids were on Spring break. We were set to leave to Guam Monday March 30th, so the next day. Our bags were packed. And I just had 1 last thing to do before we left for Guam. Which was handing the gauntlet so to speak to the next set of PTA. So, I made sure Sunday, March 29th, I showered that morning, did my hair, makeup. I was dressed. And I was ready! I walked down to the building near the tennis courts. And I walked inside. 2 new members of the kids club were collecting fees for the yearly dues, they head bowed me and greeted me and I did the same (head bowed and greeted), they know I was fukukaicho and I know one is Branden's classmates mom and her youngest daughter is a 6th grader this year, we have known each other for ages, the other one, her youngest child is in Noah's class, so there is a connection between us as I pay them, meaning we all know exactly who each other is, in fact I didn't even need to give them my child's name, they knew already hahaha. Noah is in elementary school, so I opened my wallet and paid the ladies 700 yen for Noah's yearly dues. I then took off my shoes and went inside the main part of the building. The last years term members and the new members were gathering. My fellow fukukaicho was inside and said, we will sit here. 2 tables facing each other exactly like in this picture. Old prez was on one end of the table, new prez was on the opposite side of the table. And us 2 Vice prez people were facing our replacements. And the secretary from last year was facing her replacement and so on. 
The new members, our replacements served us senpai ladies coffee. These ladies were very kind. And in fact, I thought..."hmm we should have done this to our senpais last year" : ( We should have done this. Oh well. It is, what it is. Anyway, so we waited to see if anyone wanted to observe the handover. We knew nobody would want to and it is honestly best if we do this sort of stuff without looky-loos wanting to attend the meeting. So when the clock struck 10am and nobody entered the room, we closed the door. And began the handover. Us members from last year just wanted it OVER. And the new members, knew there was just no getting out of it, so they just wanted to get it started. The new heads each stood up and introduced themselves to us. You could tell some were nervous. I completely understood, because I hate public speaking too (when all eyes are on you) We last year members, didn't say who we were. They had been getting the kids kairanban all this past year with our names and next to each name it says...kaicho(prez) or fukukaicho (VP) so basically everyone knows. No need to say it again. The new prez, at the end of the long table, went through her paperwork and asked the old prez. A few questions about running things. When should they meet, how many times a month. Our prez, said at least twice a month but on months were there is an event, probably every week is best. And she added that the prez and 2 VPs need to meet, more often privately, because they have other things needing to go over, such as party games to set up. Prizes to buy, for said events. Basically the prez and 2 VPs will be run ragged most. She took notes. The new members listened. More questions were asked. And then we just went back and forth. Any questions for the new secretary, to ask the secretary from last year. So we just went back and forth. 
The new VPs asked us last year VPs. Any advice? That honestly was a tough one. How to answer that, hmm. On 1 hand, if it were my friend, or cousin, I would say...much like the sign when they were about to head to the Wicked Witch's castle on the Wizard of Oz....I'd give my real life friend or relative the advice of "I'd turn back if I were you!!!" "Avoid it if you can, and good luck if you can't avoid it." However...this is Japan. The country of Gambatte and Gaman. And in truth, my term is over. So no need to stir the pot and make the new members have nightmares and panic attacks before it has even began. Do you know what I mean. I appreciate you reading this blog...going through the entire last year with me, going through all this fukukaicho craziness. And knowing somehow I wasn't going through it alone, all by myself helped. So thank you. : ) But now back to the question asked of me that day. Let's be sensible, there is no need to cause hysteria. I know what's acceptable to say here and what's not. I know I shouldn't say anything negative about the kids club. Because the kids do enjoy it. And believe me...I know how these ladies weren't really all too "gung ho" about being picked in the first place. So if we think about this rationally. It is best to not say anything too terribly bad, no need to cause a panic in that room, obviously. If I were to say for example..."yes it sucked, don't do it." That would cause everyone to freak out, that morning. Perhaps they wouldn't want the job after all. I can't just throw that wrench in there, like that. So, I do my best. And give the most diplomatic answer I can. The safest answer, I can think of. So, they asked us....the new 2 fukukaicho turn to us and ask..."any advice?" We both turn to each other and I let the Jinbei boy's mom answer first. She answers with a very diplomatic answer. And then she turns to me for my answer. I have all my year/fellow members and the new members all eyes on me for my answer. And while I didn't lie. I just spoke the truth, albeit a very sanitized version. And I said. "best thing for fukukaicho to do is, support the kaicho because she is doing the hardest job, and support the other ladies too, because they are also doing very important jobs like the accountant and secretary are responsible for making the papers and notices in all the kids kairanbans. So, my best advice is... try to support the whole team best you can. It will be hard work, but we got through it and I have no doubt....that you will get through it too." I think I gave an honest and yet diplomatic answer, safe yes, but I'm not really here to cause trouble, I just wanted the "handover" to go as easy as possible. And I gave a safe answer. I didn't step on any toes. I don't need to be the one to deflate their balloon. They will find out soon enough...how stressful the job is. And you know what though...to be fair, maybe they won't find it so stressful. Maybe these ladies will be rockin' and rollin' right through every challenge they face. Maybe it won't be so hard for them. We are all different, we all have different personalities. So while it was grueling for me, maybe they won't find it so bad. Does that make sense, do you know what I mean. So, yeah, no need for me to muddy the waters. So again, I just gave the safest answer possible. No need to go out in flames and with a bad reputation...saying..."oh it was horrible..nothing but absolute pain and misery. I cried 500 tears daily." LOL, know what I mean (and for the record I did not cry any tears over this at all) What I mean to say is this....Look, it's over. The meeting was simply.... passing the gauntlet to them. And I am sure they can figure out for themselves...if it's going to be hard....they most certainly don't need me, to tell them that. This way I leave on a good and positive note. So, we question and answered back and forth. Because they knew as soon as we left, we were gone. So any last questions for us. Anyone, anyone, Bueller, Bueller. They asked. And then it was done. We last years 7 members stood and we bowed and we all said...good luck for this year. And we left! And they began their planning of the "welcoming the new ichinensei"...kids club meeting for the party taking place in April. We exited and slipped off our slippers and put back on our shoes. And we last years members all waved good bye to one another. And that was that. How long did the meeting last? Honestly somewhere between 15-20 minutes tops. It went by super quickly. I walked back home...I felt like I was bouncing home, walking on air...truly walking on air...I was so happy. Absolute pure happy as can be, type happiness. I Line messaged Noboru on my walk home...I said...I am done! And gave a sunshine face pic. And I also skype messaged my dad and I said...I am done and gave him a happy dance pic. I went home. The kids were like...wow that was fast. And I asked the kids..."who's fukukaicho this year?" They said..."who?" I said...NOT ME!!! Hahaha : ). And I turned the music on in the kitchen and I danced around for 2 songs. Just pure joy. This year, I have no title and I don't want or need one, I am just a simple normal citizen this year. They can make all the rules. I'll just follow them. : ) I hope to never have to do anything like that again. But yep...it is done, it is over with. woot woot! Who's vice prez, this year? Not, me! : ) I'm just... a SAHM, face in the crowd, normal standard audience member. Phew. And relief! : )