Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Registering at the ward office. (J)

Today we all got out early to the ward (city district) office to register as new residents of this area.

I had to go to a different counter to change over my documents as a foreigner. Yujiro and Okaasan filled in endless forms at other counter for Residency and Pension and Health Insurance. I kept Okaasan entertained with chat about the funny photographs on my driving license and foreigner card and we picked up an armful of leaflets about this area.
I kept repeating the words "Minami Hiragishi", hoping that this location will fix in her brain somehow as the new home area.
After a quick stopoff at the recycle shop we came home for an early lunch and Okaasan had a bath. Then I went to work and Yujiro unpacked more and arranged electrics and explored ways to make make one tap in the kitchen. He has revealed himself recently as a real handyman.

It's amazing that 1 week after moving we have settled into a routine of daily life.
I love the space. Even the kitchen table is so spacious now for 3 people and different plates.

Happy? Yes.
Finally, yes. I feel this may be a good start for all of us.
I'm still really tired and there are so many things that need doing, but we are here. And it is good. For now that is fine.










Sunday, 29 March 2009

Tie this woman DOWN! (J)

Okaasan is starting to explore the area...and getting lost!
We're not too worried because she is now taking the cell phone with her and even getting other people to show her how to use it.

Friday Yujiro got a call from Hiragishi police box to say that Okaasan had been brought there by someone because she was lost. She'd already walked from Minami Hiragishi back to the area we have just moved from - she wanted to see how far it would be if she walked to the hula dance class place! Then she started walking back...and got lost. She must have walked about 3...4 km.

Today we had a long day of cleaning at the old houses, moving all the locker stuff out, changing winter/summer tires, buying kerosene, pans etc...and while we were in the supermarket at 4 pm we got a call from Okaasan's cell phone. This time it was a helpful man downtown saying Okaasan had finished shopping and wasn't sure how to get home! Yujiro told him the subway station name and he wrote it down for her....50 minutes later she walked back through the door.

I admire her for all of this actually. She is physically very strong and she is active and even more importantly - she is inquisitive about her location. The weather is getting better now and Sapporo isn't a dangerous city - I hope she enjoys her explorations!

* Mind you I still don't admire her comments. Tonight I cooked dinner. Fish in a nice garlic/onion/mushroom/bay leaf/tomato sauce...and she picked through it silently and then asked for soy sauce or salt: "It's very thin, it doesn't have much taste". I'm too tired to care.








ねえ、ワタシやっぱりお義母さんの言ったことをほめられないわ。今晩、ワタシは夕食を作ったの。にんにくとたまねぎときのこと月桂樹の葉とトマトソースで煮た魚料理・・・お義母さんは黙ってそれをほじくり回し、それからしょうゆか塩がほしいって言ったの;“これずいぶん薄いわね。味がしないわ。” ワタシ、疲れすぎちゃって気にならないわ。

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Night cats...and mares. (J)

Thursday afternoon I walked Okaasan to the subway station and the shopping area and we wandered around the supermarket together - I yet again learned that a good housewife does not just choose ANY old cabbage...cut ones are bad, small ones are bad, anything with a mark on it is bad, one's with the wrong kind of green leaves are bad...

Also had a slightly bizarre exchange near the lunchbox section: "
Oh, this looks good, shall we buy it to eat when we move house?"...."Err, we moved house already...yesterday!"..."Did we? Oh yes!".

As that book on dementia explained: Carers may feel that they are in a different world with their family member.

Talking of a different world. And this is where the blog is gonna get weird.
I picked up Bob cat from the vets later in the afternoon and then we had the fun of him exploring our rooms upstairs, sniffing and staring at it all. Finally he settled down by the heater on his old blanket. He's an old, sick cat and he's moved so many times he seems to be satisfied as long as there are familiar smells around.

Nighttime was a different matter. He paced. And yowled and paced and yowled. I was up and down all night with him. Sometime just before dawn I had a terrible dream. A nightmare! Get this:

I dreamt that we were at the bottom of the stairs outside the kitchen door and we heard a young women laughing. We opened the door and saw Okaasan standing there by the utility room door, looking asleep or dead - and growing out of her neck was another head! It looked like a Japanese mask or doll - white skin, black slit eye sockets, old fashioned "China Doll" hair. Yujiro and I rushed to try and tear it OFF Okaasan and I remember putting my fingers between their heads and pulling hard to separate them!

Isn't that a horrible dream! I have no idea what it means. Apart from the obvious that I am very tired and stressed.

I believe/know I have a little ESP (and my mother had it more). But I don't feel anything particularly in this house. Certainly not a bad feeling. But I do believe that sometimes when people move into a long-time empty building their presence can activate the past. When I was a child my mum and step-dad had a similar experience.I kind of sensed a movement in the first floor Japanese room yesterday too.

The laughter in my dream wasn't malicious. More joking. But I also knew we had to separate the girl's head from Okaasan's body.

One student today said maybe I should get a priest to come and do an exorcism in the house.

I don't think that is necessary. But I think the girl needs to know that it isn't Okaasan's "time" yet and that we can all share this space.

I told you this was gonna be a weird blog!




さらに、お弁当売り場の近くで、ちょっと思いがけないやりとりがあったの。“これいいんじゃない? 引越しのときこれを買って食べましょうか?” “えーっと、もう引越しは済みましたよ・・・昨日!“ “終わったですって? ああ、そうだったわね!”





夜は違ったの。ボブは行ったり来たり。悲しげな声で鳴いては行ったり来たり、また、悲しげに鳴く。ワタシは彼についてあっちこち。ちょうど夜明け前、ワタシは怖い夢を見たの。悪夢よ! こんな:

ワタシたちは階段下の一階の台所のドアの外にいて、若い女性が笑うのを聞いたの。ワタシたちがドアを開けると、洗面所のドアのそばにお義母さんが立っているのが見えたの。眠っているか死んでいるかのようだったわ。そして伸びた首にはもう一つ顔がついてた! それは日本のお面か人形のように見えたわ・・・白い肌、黒い切れ長の眼のくぼみ、古めかしい中国の人形の髪型。ユウとワタシは急いでそれをお義母さんから引き離そうとしたの。覚えてるわ。ワタシの指がその頭にあってそれを引き離すのがたいへんだったこと。

なんて気持ち悪い夢でしょう! 何を暗示しているのかわからないわ。ワタシがかなり疲れていてストレスを感じている、という事実のほかにはね。

ワタシは自分に少し霊感があるのを信じてるし知っているの。(もっと母のほうが持っていたわ)でも、この家に特別な何かを感じてはいないの。悪い感じは全くないわ。でもワタシは信じているの 人が長いこと空いていた建物に引っ越すと、彼らの存在が過去を動かすことがある、って信じているの。ワタシが幼いとき、母と義父が似たような体験をしているわ。ワタシは昨日も一階の和室で動きを感じた気がするのよ。





Thursday, 26 March 2009

Moving day - Highlights..lowlights. (J)

Woke up at 5.30 am. Sunny!
  1. At 7 am drove carload of Okaasan's stuff to the house and hunted through bags to find her glasses and sewing scissors.
  2. 7.30 am dropped the car key down the crack between the front door and the door step. Shit.
  3. Telephoned Yujiro to come by taxi and bring his car keys and drive me home...
  4. 8 am we checked Okaasan at the English school - all well, she's watching TV and looking at her new sewing machine and the loong curtains.
  5. 9 am the movers arrive. Friend Mike arrives to help move. The 5 of us carry and walk and load stuff for an hour. Old house looks dirty and empty. Sad house.
  6. Pick up sofa that Mike is giving us.
  1. Moved everything INTO the new house. SPACE! SPACE! SPACE!
  2. "Oh god. How did I go from a carefree English teacher to a middle aged woman living in a house with a Japanese guy and his mother and all this stuff?!!!" me to Mike. A deeply reflective moment as the boxes pile up.
  3. Drop Mike home. Back to the English school. Yujiro finds some of my handcream to give Okaasan. She calms down. He threads her sewing machine. We have lunch at a local family-style restaurant. Happy chat.
  1. Back to the house: 2 hours of furious activity: I set up Okaasan's rooms and kitchen. Yujiro gets the computer and office arranged. Internet is super fast! I do a jig in the living room.
  2. Back to the English school. Okaasan is in a sad panic about how and where to cut the curtains to make them shorter. She IS almost a professional level sewer, but the endless little judgements and decisions necessary for a sewing project seem sadly beyond her. In frustration I nastily snatch the curtain from her, put it down on the carpet and cut it myself. It isn't straight and she is moaning in unhappiness. We decide to bundle her and the unfinished curtains up and move onto something more positive - taking her HOME!
  3. Okaasan arrives at the new home. Amazement at the space and size! We 3 stand in the kitchen and toast our future with 2 cocoas and a beer.
  1. 9 pm I try to move enough boxes so that we can make up our beds. I make up Okaasan's futon in her tatami room.
  2. Couple time. A lavender bubble bath for two. RELAAAAAX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For the first time in Japan I have a "proper" bath. Yujiro has his first bath since December, until now he couldn't bend his knee enough to fit in our old bath.
  3. "Oyasuminasai"...Okaasan is dozing under the heated table in front of the TV, I chat to her a little after my bath. Then we all, thankfully sleep.


引越しの日- ハイライト・・ロウライト

五時半起き いいお天気!

      1.7;00  お義母さんの荷物を積んで家へ。メガネと裁ちばさみを見つけるのにいくつものバッグをくまなく探した。

2.7;30  車の鍵を玄関ドアとドアステップの間の溝に落としちゃった。最悪!

      3.      ユウに彼の車の鍵を持ってタクシーで来て、ワタシを家に連れて行ってくれるように電話をした。

      4.8;00  英語学校にいるお義母さんを確認した・・・何一つ問題なし。お義母さんはテレビを見たり、新しいミシンや長いカーテンをながめたりしていた。

      5.9;00  引越し屋さん到着。友人のマイクが引越しの手伝いに来てくれる。ワタシたち5人は一時間ほど荷物を持ち、歩き、積み込む。古い家はみすぼらしくからっぽになる。さびしい家。

      6.      マイクがくれるソファを載せる。

  1. 全部新しい家に運び込んだわ。広い!広い!広い!
  2. “ああ、神様。のんきな英語教師が日本人の男性とその母親とこの荷物すべてと共に暮らす中年女性にどうやってなったんでしょうね?”ってマイクに言ったわ。箱が積み上げられていく中の深い思索の瞬間。
  3. マイクを送る。英語学校に行く。ユウはお義母さんにあげるワタシのハンドクリームを見つける。お義母さんは落ち着いている。彼はお義母さんのミシンに糸を通す。ワタシたちは近くのファミリーレストランで昼食をとる。楽しいおしゃべり。

  1. 家に戻る;どたばたの二時間;お義母さんの部屋と台所を整える。ユウはパソコンと仕事場を整頓。インターネットの早いこと早いこと!ワタシは居間で小躍りする。
  2. 英語学校に戻る。お義母さんはひどいパニックに陥っている。カーテンをどこでどうやって切って短くしようかって。お義母さんはほとんどプロレベルの腕をもっているの。なのに、縫い物を仕上げるにはたくさんの細々したことを判断して決めていかなければならなくて、それが悲しいことにお義母さんには無理みたい。いらいらしてワタシは意地悪くお義母さんからカーテンを取り上げ、カーペットに置いて自分で切る。まっすぐではなくてお義母さんは悲しそうに嘆いている。ワタシたちはお義母さんと縫い終わっていないカーテンをいっしょにして、より前向きな行動をとる・・・すなわちお義母さんを家に連れて行くこと。
  3. お義母さんが新居に着く。広くて大きいことに感激!ワタシたちは3人してキッチンに立ち、二人はココアで一人はビールで自分たちのこれからに乾杯。

    1.9;00 ベッドを整えられるように必要な箱を動かそうとする。お義母さんの畳の部屋にふ       とんを敷く。

    2. 二人の時間。二人のためのラベンダーの泡風呂。ゆったり気分!!!!!日本に来て初めてちゃんとしたお風呂に入る。ユウは12月から初めてのお風呂。今まで古い家のお風呂に入るには十分にひざを曲げられなかったの



Here we are! (J)

Here we are - in the new house and celebrating with cocoa, Sapporo Classicbeer, Toriton sushi and KFC chicken.

Yesterday was such a long long long day - but I'll blog more about it later.

I've got a class this morning, so no time now.
But, we ARE here, Okaasan is amazed at the space (so are we!), the bath takes two people at the same time, the Internet connection is faster, the TVs look smaller in big rooms....

AND. It's great!








Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Long...long...long day...(J)

Looooong day.
And the moving day isn't until tomorrow!
The computer didn't get packed up yet, because Japan beat Korea in the World Baseball Classic - so Yujiro spent most of the day stuck to the TV and feeding Okaasan lunch.

I was working all day, 3 big classes - with students all excited about the baseball game and people gathering round television screens with strangers in public places.

At 5.30 pm I got back to my English classroom. Already pretty tired. Okaasan was settled in with the TV and her new sewing machine. BUT! She hadn't got her glasses and she hadn't brought the sewing scissors to cut the curtains. Of course by now they were probably in a box somewhere that Yujiro was busy packing in her apartment.

So. She and I sat and watched TV and drank tea. At 6.30 Yujiro came in and we went to a nice local restaurant to eat dinner and toast our move. We ordered food.
Then Okaasan came back from the toilet and confessed that she'd had suffered from incontinence...and wanted to go immediately to the nearby store and buy new underwear! And change into it...

So....while Yujiro sat with the food arriving at the table Okaasan and I put on our coats again and boots, and headed over the road to the store. Bought the underwear, changed into it, got bags from the shop staff for the soiled clothes ...and 25 minutes later got back to the table and started dinner...again.

Aghh...life with an elderly lady who refuses advice about being incontinent. We HAVE to tackle this situation soon. Get a care worker in to start getting Okaasan primed more about health and aging care.

So. We ate dinner. They drank alcohol. But I was driving. Then we made sure Okaasan was ok at the English school with bedding/heating/lights etc...and came home. Yujiro had drunk a bit too much...baseball happiness and moving stress...I was stone cold sober. Grrrr.....

I've just spent an hour or so finishing up the packing in Okaasan's apartment. Only 3 months ago we were setting up this apartment. I remember so well at the beginning of this blog worrying about curtains and kitchen things. Now we are taking it all apart and may not use it again....

Oh - and the Leader of the Opposition in Japan tearfully said he wouldn't be resigning in the latest political scandal - his live press conference was on Tv while I was scooping up the last of Okaasan's bits and pieces and taking down curtain rails.

Now it's 11 pm. I should go to bed. Tomorrow the moving vans and a strong friend are here at 9 am. Moving day will begin.








すでにすっかり疲れていたわ。お義母さんはテレビと新しいミシンといっしょにそこにいたわ。でもね! お義母さんはメガネとカーテンを切る裁ちばさみを持ってきていなかったの。もちろん今はもうそれらはたぶん箱の中。ユウが急いで荷造りしていたお義母さんのアパートのどこかのね。









Last blog before THE move. (J)

This computer is going to be packed away in a box this morning - so this is the last blog from here.

All going well.

I have two days of busy work Monday and Tuesday. And Yujiro has two days of exciting baseball on Tv as Japan get near to winning the World Baseball Classic.

But somehow we are moving too!

We think Okaasan is putting clothes in boxes. Yujiro will go and help her this afternoon. After work last night I set up my English classroom for her - futon, TV, green tea, sewing machine etc. The plan is that we'll all meet there at the end of this afternoon and have dinner locally and then Okaasan will stay one night and we'll come home for a last few hours of packing before the trucks arrive at 9 am Wednesday.

Last night I had to go to the new house at 9pm. Just as I was finishing work Yujiro called to say that the nighttime low might be minus 5 and that he was worried about the water pipes in an uninhabited house. So I went to the house, found the electricity breaker in the dark and switched the heating onto low.
Strange to think that house will be our home 72 hours from now!

I will miss THIS house and garden and neighborhood . I lived around here since before I met Yujiro. Bye-bye single girl area.

So. A move to a new home. I can't believe still that I am going to live with my guy AND his mother. In Japan. In a Japanese house. Exciting, but quite scary. Sharing a kitchen and bathroom...err..having a love life in the same building as HIS mother...working out all those personal space issues...cooking Lilly bulbs...

See you on "the other side".












Sunday, 22 March 2009

Okaasan prepares to move...again.(J)

Today Okaasan really seemed to connect to the fact that we are about to move.

We showed her the curtains that we'd like her to shorten and told her that the table at my English school is nice and big for sewing curtains. "Wednesday would be a good day for doing curtains" we told her...I'm not sure if she has actually connected to our saying that she'll stay Tuesday night at my English classroom. I kind of wonder if Yujiro should sleep there with her?

To our surprise she also asked to have some b
oxes to start packing her things. Great! We thought maybe we would have to do it all. But she has actually made a start of putting clothes away.
A few days ago we tried to interest her in going shopping for the Greeting presents that it is traditional to give to new neighbors in Japan. But she didn't seem interested. So it's great that she IS connecting to the move and is prepared to pack some things.

It's tough on her. She did this in December too. I feel sorry for her having to do it again. But in the long term it is fo
r the best. Where she is going to be so much better and more comfortable. I can really imagine her pottering around the 3 rooms: bedroom, living and kitchen - cooking Lilly bulbs and strewing drying clothes on every available surface.

And so we are ready for Wednesday. He and I took one carload of stuff to the house today and tried a few furniture position changes. But there isn't much more we can do. The kitchen and the bedroom are clear of everything we won't need in the next few days. I've ironed my work clothes until Thursday. I've prepared all my lessons until Thursday.

Tonight is the last night for old Bob cat to be here in this house. He'll go to the vets for 3 nights tomorrow. Poor little bugger. He doesn't know WHAT is about to happen. But he senses it is something. He was quite clingy today and even jumped up to sit on Okaasan's lap before dinner. She let out a terrible wail. She really is scared of him. Let's hope the baby gate will work and keep them safely apart.

Bob, the most handsome cat in the world...taken last Easter with a chocolate chick and eggs.

Anyway. I'm off to watch American Idol on TV. It's our complete addiction.












Good day all round. (J)

Some days good things all seem to come along in a bunch.

  1. I took Okaasan to the Jasmarc Plaza Hotel hot springs - and we enjoyed ladies time amid the steam and hot water.
  2. The phone company came and fixed up the phone lines.
  3. Yujiro bought an electric cooker on an Internet auction for only $200.
  4. Okaasan's sewing machine was delievered again and paid for - so SHE can shorten the long, long curtains that Akiko gave us. It will give her a nice thing to do for the new home on Wednesday while we are moving furniture.
  5. The sports center said Okaasan can join the next season of Hula Dancing.
  6. and..
  7. My step-mother sent me SIX chocolate Easter eggs.
  8. and...
  9. Adam Lambert blew us away on the TV show American Idol with his eyes and his singing.



  1. ジャスマックプラザホテルの温泉にお義母さんを連れて行った・・・ワタシたちは蒸気とお湯の中で女たちの時間を楽しんだの。
  2. 電話会社が来て、電話線が繋がった。
  3. ユウが、インターネットオークションで電磁調理器をたったの20ドルで買った。
  4. お義母さんのミシンが再配達されて支払いをした・・・それでお義母さんはアキコさんがくれた長い長いカーテンの丈つめができるわ。ワタシたちが家具を移動している水曜日、お義母さんに新しい家のための素晴らしい仕事をしてもらえるわ。
  5. スポーツセンターが、次期のフラダンスにお義母さんが参加できるって言ってきた。
  6. それから・・・
  7. ワタシの継母がチョコレートのイースターエッグを六個送ってきた
  8. それから・・・
  9. テレビ番組「アメリカン・アイドル」でアダム・ランバートがその瞳と歌でワタシたちを魅了した。

Friday, 20 March 2009

Moving begins...a home starts to grow.(J)

Couldn't get near the computer last night - Yujiro is doing battle on Internet auction sites trying to buy an electric cooking range.

Operation Furniture was a success. We left home at 7 am. I dropped Yujiro at the house do to a list of handyman stuff and picked up Darcy-Australian-macho-man at 7.30 am. We were at Tomoko's parents' home just before 8 am.

The truck man was already loading furniture. It all fitted in the truck - and Tomoko had even found
Chawa-mushi bowls in her parents' kitchen. THESE are the bowls for the Japanese steamed savory custard that uses ----- YURINE/lilly bulbs!

We got back to the house at 9 am and unloaded stuff. Noriko and Heather arrived to help clean the place and we all set to wiping down, vacuuming and cleaning windows and light fittings.

The houses isn't dirty really. But a year of emptiness needed to be washed away. Thank you guys! Only Heather managed to stay on until a Thank You Sushi Lunch in Toriton - but thank you everyone!!! (The house may never be this clean again...)

We came home pretty tired late afternoon. But the house is begining to feel like a home now because of the furniture. I still can't believe how nice it is! I found out today that we have a heated toilet seat!!!! Small things..happiness.

We'd left Okaasan to herself today and she'd ordered in pizza. We cooked dinner - but when we called her, she was sleeping and woke up thinking it was morning already....and didn't want dinner. So we ate quietly together and talked about packing...

Later on TV I rewatched the movie "Iris", with Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent painfully wonderful as the writer Iris Murdoch and her husband John. It's about dementia and the decline of mind and self. I wondered if this will be our situation a year or two from now? I wonder how long Okaasan will coast along as she is doing now?

That onsen ticket that a friend gave me - I decided to use it WITH Okaasan later today after work. The hotel is very near and it would be a little outing for her and for me. I'd rather have gone with my friend - because this feels more like an Oyome-san duty - but...it's a nice thing to do for Okaasan and I will enjoy the onsen in between making sure she is safe with steps/hot water taps/pools and unfamiliar systems...

* P.S. We just discovered, Okaasan has been busy on Television Shopping! She bought a sewing machine...but when the delivery came she didn't have the money for it, and of course she doesn't have the company contact information. So we hope they might try to redeliver.












追伸 ワタシたちは発見したの。お義母さんがテレビショッピングに夢中だってこと! お義母さんはミシンを買ったの。でも、配達のときお義母さんは支払いのお金を持ってなかったの。そしてもちろん会社の連絡先の情報も持ってなかったわ。再配達してくれたらいいのになあ。

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Boots...aghhhhhhhh!!!!!! (J)

My day off today.

We did various house moving things: buying a baby gate for the cat, picking up a bookcase and some curtains from kind donors.

Lunchtime was a major baseball game between Japan and Korea on TV. Yujiro managed to watch it in between serving Okaasan lunch (which she came late to because she'd been out shopping unexpectedly).

The baseball was still on at 2 pm, so I took Okaasan to the sports center. She does know the way in fact. But the spring snow is soft and the path across the park is a little dangerous, so I held her hand and guided her.

After the class there was quite a lot of confusion because it turned out that everyone in the class had signed up for the next session - apart from Okaasan. She hadn't understood to do that. She has to call tomorrow and hope to get in as a late applicant.

And there was a classmate asking whether anyone had taken her boots by mistake after the event in the hotel last week. Everyone looked accusingly at Okaasan. But she was definitely wearing HER own boots. I said: "It's not her...this time!".

We came home. 2 minutes later Okaasan came out of her apartment clutching some unfamiliar boots. Are theses the missing boots? I didn't know of course. Okaasan didn't know. I took them back to the sports center with big apologies.

But Yujiro thinks the boots OKaasan found in her shoe box may be her boots afterall...I didn't know she has 2 pairs.

AGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Confusion all round. It's so easy to get drawn into all of this...the confusing world of Okaasan....











あーぁ!!!!!!!! 何もかもわけわかんない。


Monday, 16 March 2009

How to shock an Okaasan. (J)

Yesterday after our successful trip to the house: we dug out the front door steps and found a huge shed - we came home and sat chatting with a beer and snacks.

For the first time since we decided THIS house I feel excited about the move again. I actually think our life can be better in this new home. Our life and Okaasan's life. It is such a warm, sunny place. And lots of space.

But. Yujiro got up the courage to tell me that I must be very careful about thing I do which he says would shock Okaasan! Living separately as we do now she doesn't see or know. But when we are living together....

And what shocking things do I do? Dear reader, are you ready for this?

* I must not throw the cat's uneaten cat food or anything else down the toilet bowl and then rinse the plate with the toilet bowl water! (even though of course I then take the cat plate/pan to the kitchen and wash it with hot water and washing liquid.)

* I must not use the same plates for cat food and human food. (I don't think I do this, but he says I do sometimes...)

He says she would be horrified to see this. Japanese people don't ever take a kitchen plate anywhere near the toilet...

Well. OK. I can try NOT to do these things. I get it....
As long as Okaasan also gets it that criticising my or his cooking after we've made food for her is equally a big NO NO. In MY culture that is rude.

But the good news: Yujiro agrees with me that getting Okaasan out of our way on Moving Day would be a good idea!!! Maybe he is secretly reading this Blog?
And his good idea is that the night before we take her to my English classroom and set up futon and TV and hot water pot there and let her stay there one night. Then we can come back and pack up her apartment and clothes and move it all. And then go and get her the next day when it is all moved.
Excellent. I can live with that.






それでは、ワタシがしているショッキングなことって何でしょう? 読者の皆さん、準備はいい?

  • ワタシはネコの食べ残しのエサやその他のものをトイレの便器に捨ててはいけない。それからその皿をトイレの便器の水ですすいではならない!(もっとももちろんワタシはネコの皿や鍋を台所に持っていき、温水と液体洗剤で洗っているわ)

  • ワタシはネコのエサと人間の食べ物に同じ皿を使ってはいけない。(こんなことをするとは考えないけど、彼はワタシが時々してるって言うのよ)



でも、いいニュースもあるの; ユウは、引越しの日にお義母さんをどこかに連れ出すのはいい考えだって賛成してるの!!!もしかして、彼、このブログをこっそり読んでたりして?



Sunday, 15 March 2009

Countdown to moving. (J)

Today I found the front door steps.....and we also found a HUGE shed!

Sunday morning.
Yujiro's just gone next door to supervise Okaasan's bath. Soon this will be so much easier to do. The bath in the new house is nice and low and easy for her to understand. She won't need supervising.

We are on countdown now until moving.

Today: more boxes to fill and lists to make. Things to buy: gate to stop the cat getting downstairs, electric cooker, curtains. Things to arrange: utilities, why does the hot water system leak, cat's stay at vets.

March 20: Furniture from Tomoko and friends are coming to help clean at the house.
March 23: Cat to the vets to stay for 3 nights. Move goldfish...carefully.
March 25: Big furniture moving....and Okaasan. Sleep at the house?
Before March 31: Old houses cleaning.

We talk to Okaasan about the new house. We haven't managed to show her inside it yet. Maybe it's better to do that once it is looking better inside with furniture...

Spring is trying to come here...but then it is cold and snowy again. Tv in Japan is beginning to show plum blossom and sunshine down south, I think Okaasan is a little frustrated that winter seems to be going on and on here. She gets out walking when the weather is good.

On moving day I wish someone would take Okaasan out for the day. Yujiro doesn't think it is necessary. But I think it would be so much better for her to be AWAY while we are stressing with moving furntiture and trucks and stuff...I think she will find it stressful. She'll make US more stressed.

I wonder if I can push the boundaries of frienship with some Japanese friend and find someone who will take Okaasan out shopping/lunch/onsen...whatever....

Meanwhile I realized that I have been pushing away friends too much. One very good friend kept sending me e mails about going out for my birthday. I couldn't think WHEN to go. And I felt guilty about going out too much when Yujiro is basically stuck at home cooking for Okaasan. So I kept putting off my friend and saying..."next month maybe".

Last night the friend came and left a birthday present at the door: it was two tickets for an onsen! She bought them and wanted to go with me. But the deadline is the end of March. So now she's given them to me and said:"maybe you can go with Yujiro..."
NO!!! I feel so bad. SHE planned it all and got the tickets and I kept pushing her away...

I will call her today and arrange a girls' night out for onsen. Moving house and Okaasan should not take away MY life and MY friends.

PS. It's back! Yuri-ne....Lilly Bulbs. I found a bag of them the other day in Okaasan's kitchen. This time I'm gonna do nothing. 10 days from now she'll have access to a working kitchen. She can amaze us with how she cooks them.







きょう; さらに多くの箱詰めとリスト作り  

買うもの; ネコが1階に行かないようにする柵、電磁調理器、カーテン  

        手配すること; 電気・水道など 温水設備から水漏れしているのはどうしてかしら ネコを獣医に預けること

        3月20日;   トモコさんのところから家具を運ぶ。それから友人たちが来て家の掃除を手伝ってくれる。

3月23日;   ネコを3晩獣医に預ける。金魚の移動・・・慎重に。

3月25日;   大型家具の引越し・・・それからお義母さんも。家で寝られるかしら?

3月31日まで; 古い家の掃除







なんてこと! ワタシとっても悪い気がしたわ。彼女が計画し、チケットを手にいれ、そして、ワタシが彼女を追いやった・・・


追伸  帰ってきたのよ!ユリ根・・・百合の球根が。お義母さんの台所でユリ根の入れ物を見つけたの。今回ワタシは何もしないわよ。10日後お義母さんは台所で仕事ができるようになるの。お義母さんはそれをどうやって料理するかで、ワタシたちをびっくりさせることができるのよ。


Friday, 13 March 2009

Small things make me happy...(J)

A quick blog here...because I have to go to work...and Yujiro keeps walking into the computer room.

Yesterday was nice.

Small things make me happy. There were little presents from students, hand drawn cards, smelly candles, chocolates...flowers...a large box of chocolates from Yujiro...flowers from Dad and Jane.

But actually you know: the best present was that in the morning while I was rushing and trying to get out of the house and go to work - Yujiro offered to take the cat to the vets for his injection! That's love!
First he got Okaasan organised for hula dance event. Then he took her to the hotel. Then he came home and got the cat and took HIM to the vets. Then he ate lunch. Then he picked Okaasan up from the hula dance event and brought her home...then he prepared dinner....

That was the best present. That he did all of that and helped my day.

Meanwhile: at lunchtime I had 2 spare hours. I took myself to a quiet Starbucks in town and had a coffee and sandwich. And then I went to a foot massage salon and had 30 minutes of footcare and massage. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO nice.

Sometimes small is beautiful!






でも、本当のところ、知ってるでしょう?;一番のプレゼントは、朝、ワタシが仕事に行くのに大急ぎで家を出ようとしている間に、ユウがネコを注射のために獣医のところに連れて行く、って言ってくれたことなの! これこそ、愛よ!






Thursday, 12 March 2009

Older. And Tireder. (J)

Today is my birthday.
48? oh my god.

I think so.
It's cold and snowy. And the cat was sick on the living room carpet at 5 am.

BUT! It will get better as the day goes on. I'm sure. And tomorow we are going to an International Commercial Festival that I enjoy every year.

Yesterday I drove 3 carloads of stuff to the house and carried them in. And I cleaned our "office" room at home. 4 years-worth of dust under this computer table...and so many safety pins and paper clips! Where do they come from?
Yujiro cooked lunch for Okaasan and got her ready for Hula dancing. Then took her Hula dancing. He also started making arangements for changing over the utilities. Booking another moving van for furniture. Making pickles (HE is becoming a Japanese housewife!!!).

In the evening we took Okaasan to our local pancake restaurant. She drank half a little bottle of sake and chatted a little about hula. Her leg is almost better now, but when she got out of the car she dropped a glove and leaned down to get it - almost toppling over. I caught her luckily. But it was a scary moment.

Today Yujiro will take her to the hula class event in the hotel etc. He is such a good son to her. Really - his older brother is escaping all this mother-help so much.

I hope once we have moved to the house and got Okaasan settled. Hopefully she'll be able to cook her own lunch with the new electric cooker etc. I hope then that Yujiro starts work and gets back to his OWN life again. He's an excellent housewife. But he needs to escape domesticity.




48ですって? まあ大変。



でも! 日が経つにつれてよくなっていくだろうって、そう確信してるの。そして明日は、ワタシが毎年楽しんでいるインターナショナルコマーシャルフェスティバルに行くのよ。






Wednesday, 11 March 2009

"And today's word everyone is:Haggard!" (J)

Since I came back from England many students have said that my face is "slimmer"..."thinner".

While of course preening a bit and thinking it may be a compliment I kind of knew it wasn't true, because I've eaten loads in the UK...meat, cheese, Easter eggs....

Yesterday morning's students got out the dictionaries and found the exact word they really mean: haggard.

Yes. Well, that's probably more accurate.

I'm tired. Very tired at the moment. There never seems to be any empty time in life.

Yesterday was a busy working day, 3 big community center classes - and I had to to do extra time in the last class after complaints about the substitute teacher while I was in the UK. It was only an extra 20 minutes of teaching time..but factored in with other things it meant an extra half hour of public "Amanda-sensei" time and I was knackered by 4.30 pm.

Then I drove nearby to meet an old student at her parents' house. Her father died and her mum is in care, so she has the mammoth task of clearing out the house...a life time of possessions and furniture.
We toured the house while I decided which furniture WE could use at our house...it was strange to be looking through a stranger's things like that, strange but necessary. That couple's life is closing...our "family" life is just starting...

Wonderfully I found a kitchen table and chairs, a kitchen cabinet, a wardrobe, a coffee table, a clothes rack...etc...we arranged a day when I'll get a removal van to go and pick it all up.
Tomoko looked relieved that she is getting rid of some of the furniture, I was very relieved to find some things for the house. It was a win-win situation.I promise we'll sit down in a garden this summer and have a relaxing beer together Tomoko!!!

Today is my day off. No jetlag to make me sleep until lunchtime. I'm going to pack and move several carloads of stuff today. I have to sort out and throw away a lot of video cassettes. DVDs are making videos obsolete. Okaasan has hula dancing and Yujiro will escort her to the sports center and do some rehabilitation on his leg.

Two weeks until we move!












Sunday, 8 March 2009

Got the keys..now we have to dig our way in! (J)

Today we got the keys to the house - and then we started digging through all the snow to find the parking area and make it wide enough for a car or a truck of furniture.

It was warm in Sapporo today and we were GREATLY helped by an American woman called Rebecca, she is Couch Surfing with us at the moment - actually staying at my English classroom. And for some strange reason, after too many beers in Susukino last night, she offered to come help us clear snow at the house...

So we dug....

and dug...

and found the parking area and found some grass. And then after 3 hours we called it a day and went to the nearby ROYCE chocolate shop and bought chocolate to take home and celebrate with over tea and coffee.

Okaasan is fine. She went out today and walked downtown in the sunshine. She came in for dinner tonight and she was chatty and bright.

I want to start making notes about her conversation areas (primary themes): because in the book I've read about dementia these are the "green" topics that she obviously feels happy with. But, by the time we sit down to dinner I am usually quite tired and after she's gone it's hard to get the energy to make notes about the topics she has chatted about.
Tonight she touched happily on: family names, cooking, eating oysters...maybe I should make a note here.

By the way: Yujiro thinks he's discovered the fish that Okaasan is happy to eat. Sardines....he is cooking them very slowly in a pan and so far she isn't complaining about them.