Thursday, September 13, 2012


Not Go-go-Power Rangers, but pretty much of the same vein.

Makoto has gotten a new love in life, it's name is Go-Busters!, yet another in a long line of super sentai shows that have been on the air in Japan for... well... the oldest actor who played one just showed up again in a  summer show and was obviously in his late 40's.

It's pretty formulaic, good vs evil. Transformations. Teammates and friendships. And of course, blowing stuff up and overly acted fight scenes. All as an excuse to sell toys, but for young boys...

The wise father that I am, I mostly avoid it. Sure it comes on Sunday mornings, but I'm generally chowing down on breakfast and can usually drown out whatever is going on with the TV. True, I usually pay attention when the end song comes on, but that's because both my boys proceed to line up in front of the TV and dance along with it, which is cute enough to incite a sugar attack in just about anyone.

But for all that Makoto likes Go-Busters, he doesn't have a lot of it. Beloved and I have more or less agreed that he doesn't need the plastic toys (Most of the show being designed to separate parents from their yen at the demand of their sons) and even though there has been non-stop howling about wanting this or that blaster/robot/action figure for birthday/Christmas from Makoto, his entire Go-Busters!' collection consists of a puzzle and two coloring books.

Though to be fair, I am planning on getting him some small figures for a Go-Busters! cake for his birthday.

Lacking toys though, Makoto has been on the lookout for anything Go-Busters! in the newspaper. He likes looking through the ads to find the Toys R Us (AKA, the begging catalog) or anything else that looks like it might be interesting, thus why last Thursday I came home to a hyper excited little boy who was waving an ad in my face, bouncing just shy of the ceiling, and screaming that GO-BUSTERS WAS COMING TO HIS CITY THIS SUNDAY SO COULD WE GO SEE HIM PLEASE DADDY????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Uh...., said the wise father, We'll see.

Yes, I DID like the show when I was a boy
Yes, this was probably unfair of me. Time was when my sister and I dragged our mother to a car show in Reno JUST so that we could see the General Lee and KITT from The Dukes of Hazard and Knight Rider respectively, and those were just cars. This would be... a guy in a suit. Obviously not the actor, but still, for a little boy...

The problem was that this wasn't at a store, it was at a model housing park. In fact, this was the same one that Beloved and I had visited (and visited, and visited) while deciding on the plans for our own house. It's not that it was bad, per se, it was more that the sales people were rather pushy at times. A number of times we would spend hours while the salesman attempted to get Beloved to buy a house from them. And when we declined, they would call, visit, or mail us 20,000 pamphlets. Pretty much it was a kind of high pressure tactic that made me reluctant to visit the park again.

The fact that Go-Busters! (Red Buster actually) would be visiting our city would probably have 'slipped' my mind and we would have scheduled something else for the day if Beloved had announced that she wanted to go see a movie. Now Beloved, if you remember, almost never takes a day off. Add in that I still hadn't gotten her anything for our anniversary due to her not providing a single hint as to anything she would like, and, well, I bullied my wife.

No, not THAT kind of tako.
Yes, I did. And I'm not ashamed to admit it. I bullied her completely and utterly. When she claimed to be too busy to look up the movie times, I did so, wrote them down, and left them for her on her computer. When she claimed that the boys would miss her, I deliberately dangled the idea of going to see Red Buster in front of Makoto in order to get him to tell her to take the day off. When she claimed lack of time to watch a movie and get back in time to make dinner, I proclaimed that Sunday would be taco night (And then had to spend a few minutes explaining to Makoto that I meant the Mexican food, not octopus, which is tako in Japanese). In the morning when she claimed to be possibly too busy due to household chores, the laundry was mysteriously hung, the kids' teeth brushed, and general clean up happened before breakfast was finished.

To seal the deal, I loudly told the boys we were off to the Lego Store to look at new blocks for their growing collection, go food shopping for the tacos (Still not octopuses), and meet Red Buster. And, oh, since YOU have nothing to do, having a lack of chores, kids, and husband to look after, nor do you have a dinner to cook tonight, AND I just shoved 5,000 yen down your pants just in time for you to get to the theater; you can certainly take yourself out of the house and go enjoy yourself.

Thus was the bullying done. Yes, I added to a rampant problem in Japan, but it was for a good cause, right?

But, alas, it also locked me into taking the boys to the housing park to see Red Buster.

So the next plan was how to avoid having to go into the model houses. My plan was just not to. If you don't go, the salespeople can't really do anything. When we arrived at the park, there were a number of Go-Busters! bounce houses and games for the boys to enjoy (Well, somewhat enjoy. Hikaru was big enough to go in, but small enough that he couldn't really stand and spent a lot of time crying for Daddy or 'Kakoto' to come and save him. The problem was that we arrived about 45 minutes before the show and we quickly ran out of toys. Even worse, Makoto found out that the park was also having a kind of raffle for a nice food basket. The trick was, to get a ticket for a chance, one had to visit three of the houses and get a stamp from each on a slip of paper.

Now Makoto just heard the word 'stamp' and, protesting father aside, charged into the first house waving said slip of paper. The salesman, hearing the commotion, came out with a big grin to welcome in a family and froze... there, in front of him, was a foreigner. Even worse, this foreigner couldn't speak a word of Japanese!

Er, weeeeeeeeeeeell, he was pretending that he couldn't at least.

I think it confused him even more when said foreigner was accompanied by two adorable boys who DID speak Japanese, and in fact ask for stamps. The poor salesguy gave Makoto his stamp, handed me a pamphlet, and more or less was glad when we wandered out.

This got repeated two more times, with lots of comments about just how cute the two boys were when they would come into a house and then obvious panic when I'd come in without a Japanese spouse in tow. Though to be fair, the second house managed to shove a saleswoman who tried in English to ask me if I was planning to build a house. My answer in English obviously went right over her head though.

Still, we managed to get the stamps, some pamphlets, and a thing of eggs (Which was the prize we won at the raffle).

Then it was showtime... Because, well, The picture says more than I could ever.
Red Buster and the gang
The end of the day was pretty well low key. The boys slept on the way back home, both of them were, and still are, having a blast constructing various Lego cars out of the wheels pack that I bought, and Beloved enjoyed the tacos and loved her day off.

Not too bad... and of course Makoto and Hikaru will forever have a picture of the time that they met Red Buster himself.

I'm sure that will come in handy when I need to blackmail them for something or another when they're adults.

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