Thursday, 30 April 2009

Keys, keys, keys. (J)

The Golden Week holiday is starting in Japan now, so I am on half and then no work schedule...relaxing after months of stress and busyness.
I'm going to garden and try to fix the blackout curtains. Walk. Watch some movies. Relaaaxxx.

Tuesday a student gave me 2 movie tickets that she couldn't use. We telephoned Okaasan and told her there was rice in the rice cooker and fried tofu on the cooker - and went off to enjoy ourselves.

Came out and went to the car. The keys wouldn't open the car door.
????? Wrong car? ???? Not actually my keys! MY keys were in the other pocket.
I went through my whole working day in my mind trying to think where and how I would have someone else's keys in my bag/pocket. Even went back to the morning job to see if any students had reported lost keys.
No luck. Complete mystery.
Finally this morning one private student called to ask if I'd taken her HUSBAND'S keys from the top of the shoe box in their hallway on Monday! They'd hunted high and low for them of course.
Very embarrassing. Tonight I drove out to their home in the suburbs and returned the keys...and gave the husband some quality beers as an apology present.

Meanwhile...Okaasan also had a key drama.
Last night we had plans to go to a friend's house for a party. We checked the train and bus times. Yujiro prepared Okaasan's dinner, we actually met her at the subway station just returning from her daily shopping/walk. We told her about dinner and headed out on the subway.

10 minutes later she called us. She'd gone out without HER keys and now couldn't get in. So we had to turn back, catch a subway home again, walk to the house and let her in...and then we'd missed the bus to our friend's home area. So we had to take the car....

There must be something in the air. And it isn't just Swine Influenza.








Monday, 27 April 2009

Depressing thoughts. (J)

This weekend in Japan a 51 year old woman killed her parents because she was "tired" from looking after them.
On an online discussion forum about care of the elderly and social services in Japan I found this posting. Depressing!

One or both of them could have had dementia or been bed-ridden. In an emergency perhaps social services would have put them in a home, but in most cases the waiting list is long. They are scaling down the home helper program as well, my MIL, stage 4-5 Alzheimer's, just got 'demoted' two ranks to Youkaigo 1. Youkaigo my behind.....she needs 24-hour a day supervision.
She has no logical thought processes left, has a memory of 3-5 minutes which causes her to repeat actions ad infinitum, like taking pills every half hour or washing her hair 6 times in the shower. She gets up for the day at 3:30 am and stays up till 8 pm with no nap or break. Tries to call taxis in the middle of the night, will leave the house if someone is not watching. Because of lack of logic, if she's cold she'll light something on fire on the stove (chopsticks, paper) instead of turning up the heat. What help do we get in this situation?
A helper for 1 1/2 hours three times a week. 4.5 hours out of 119 hours she's awake weekly. She's in the hospital now, to get her diabetes stabilized (she eats hidden sweets on the sly that the has other people by for her so I don't know) but were she to come home we'd have no choice but to hire someone to either watch her in the wee hours or to look after her in the daytime, or I'll never get out the front door ever again.....the help levels vs. the severity of dementia/illness is almost laughable. If you have an elderly person at home who is not genki enough to go to day care, working is out of the question.
(Himajin, Japan Today website)

OH My God! Lilly bulbs are the least of our problems.







ああ、なんてこと! ユリ根なんて取るに足らない問題ね。

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Dinner, curtains...snow. (J)

Well, here is the dinner I made for Okaasan tonight.
Grilled eggplant with miso, miso soup, rice, salad and some of the cod in miso/soy sauce that she bought recently.
And across the table you can see MY dinner. Some of the eggplant and a large bowl of raw veggies. When Yujiro isn't cooking I like to try and get a veggie fix.

Yujiro is out tonight at a ski instructor party. So it was Girls' Night In. Talking about miso. And Yujiro drinking alcohol. And the Japanese pop star who was found last week drunk, naked and screaming in a Tokyo park...Korean food, Okaasan's Korean friend at

She didn't say "Oiishi"...but she didn't say "Bad" it was a success.
It still amazes me that here I am in Japan, cooking dinner for a Japanese Super Housewife and then sitting down to Japanese! Funny how life works out.

And outside this evening? It's snowing...and snowing....a last gasp before spring?





Lilly bulbs - finally used. Yatta! (J)

Those lilly bulbs (yurine) finally got used.
By Okaasan.

It was only the small packet of bulbs that have been lurking in the fridge for a few weeks, not the fresh bulbs which have been nestling in sawdust in a bag on the shelf - but still....we have a small success.

Yujiro had another go at Okaasan Friday morning about buying stuff which needs cooking and then never using it.

So, when I came home after work he said they'd been at the supermarket together to buy the ingredients for chawamushi. This is a little pot of savory egg custard with chicken, beans, fish paste and mushrooms inside. It's about the only thing any of my Japanese friends can think to DO with lilly bulbs.

About 6.15 Okaasan started cooking. Yujiro supervised the whole thing. I popped in and out to see the action. Endless soaking. chopping, straining, mixing, adding salt...
Okaasan really needs someone to stand by and supervise when she cooks. Her short term memory doesn't help her know what she has just done or the order of things. It's a constant series of little checking questions.

Yujiro is an absolute Saint! He manages somehow to remian calm at the endless little confusions.

I went out to pick up the order sushi and at 7.45 we finally sat down to dinner. The chawmushi was good. A little undercooked.
But good. Looked very professional. I almost resisted the temptation to add loads of salt to mine (and see how SHE likes it!), but I controlled the malicious urge and only added a bit of soy sauce.

So. That's good. Okaasan cooked in the new kitchen. Some lilly bulbs got used. And we learned how to make chawmushi, so next time one of us can make it.









Saturday, 25 April 2009

Spring fever...good and bad. (J)

Early morning we went to Nishioka Park to see the swamp plants bursting into spring green. Thankyou to Tamiko and Ritsuko for inspiring this - Tamiko's recent pictures of Nopporo Forest Park and Ritsuko's recent visit to Nishioka reminded me about this beautiful place.

Then we came home and I started fence making!
Well actually hole making and fence putting up. Amazingly luckily the elderly lady who lives across the road had a workman in to take down the winter wrapping on her garden bushes - and HE lent me his hole digging tool.

It made it so easy - and now I am the proud owner of a picket fence.

Okaasan spent the whole morning watching TV and hanging laundry...and telling me again that I could hang my laundry in a better style. This time I let her bully me into hanging my bathrobe differently...and I noticed she rehung some towels after I came inside. That's ok ...if it is so important to her, she can rearrange laundry. I don't care, but I don't like the whining if she thinks she isn't going to get her way and the handing out of unasked for advice.

I am such the opposite of her. Housework/cooking is something I do because I have to, in between the more interesting things of life. To her it is everything. Doing it correctly. She must despair of me as a woman.

In Japan it's this older/younger thing. Olders feel they should guide youngers.
Maybe I should advise HER about leaving bowls of wet laundry around so long that they go mouldy, or the food in the fridge that goes uneaten, or the clothes strewn around the sofa and floor...or maybe not. Grrr...

But all was basically well. I went to work. I came home. We ate savory pancakes. We chatted about stuff.

Tried to prod Okaasan on using the packet of lilly bulbs that have been sitting in the fridge for 4 weeks...but she seems so detached from food once she has bought it. She looked at the packet a few times, talked vaguely about making savory custard with the lilly bulbs..and then put them back in the fridge.
If I have time this weekend I'll try and get her to make/help me make the custard dish..but if not - I'll just throw away the bulbs. They look like they are going soft in the plastic bag. There are two more whole bulbs too...I am gonna plant those!

Okaasan seemed a bit tired. She claimed to have walked all the way from Minami Hiragishi to Tanuki Koji downtown! We don't think she actually did, maybe a subway and walk trip. is possible maybe...she is an amazingly active 78 year old.

The night was horrendous.
The cat seems to have gone crazy. He had me up and down from bed between 1 am and 3.30 am with yowling to be allowed out. Really loud. I finally slept on the sofa in my bathrobe.
I don't know what's wrong with him. Alczheimer's Disease maybe? Spring fever? Grrrr...













Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Going out on a date. (J)

Today we forgot all about house and moving...and cooking lunch for Okaasan and getting her to hula dance class...and treated ourselves to a date. YooHooo!

We drove out to Jozankei, a small hot spring resort village about 40 minutes away. It was a beautiful sunny day...we had lunch in a small soba restaurant, walked around the village, soaked out feet in the foot bath...and ended up getting a private hot spring room for two for just Y2,400 for 50 minutes in a little hotel off the main road.


Mind you...we did have to call Okaasan several times to remind her to eat lunch from something in the fridge...and remind her to get ready for hula dance class. And go.

But she did it all. We had a wonderful relaxing time. She enjoyed hula dance. The cat stayed home and slept.

And......I COOKED DINNER and it was "OOISHI!"

Tonight I heard about a Japanese woman who is doing a photo project about foreign wives of Japanese men...sounds interesting. I'm not a wife..but it might be fun to do....I'm going to find out more. She could photograph me ballancing miso soup on one hand and a salt shaker in the other....








Life goes on...(J)

Just in case this Blog appears to be a series of dramas and negative events...

We do sometimes actually all get along and have a nice time! Last night I got home from work via the sewing shop where I'd bought blackout material for the bedroom curtains.(It's already sunny here at 5 am...and it's only April. Next I have to blackout the cat's brain at 5 am so he doesn't shout for breakfast!!)
Yujiro cooked nikujagar (a kind of potato and beef stew), the three of us ate dinner round the kithen table and chatted about this and that: earthquakes, food in the war, famous people who were born in Hokkaido, Yubari city and that-woman-singer-who-was-born-there....

Ordinary life. We sat and chatted for an hour or so. We drank beer. Okaasan drank green tea. Then we went back upstairs to our rooms and she did the washing up. I may never have to wash up after dinner again...there IS an advantage to living with Okaasan....Everyone watched TV...Okaasan fell asleep on the carpet under the heated table blanket....we went to bed and put towels across the curtains to block the light. The cat was sick at 10.30 pm and I got up to give him a quick injection. This passes for nromal in our lives...

and today - Wednesday - is my day off. We are going to foregt about house and Okaasan and go out for the day. Just the two of us. We'll check by GPS to make sure Okaasan remembers to go to hula dance.





Monday, 20 April 2009

Scallop success. zzzzzzzz... (J)

The scallops were a success.
Not a roaring success. But dinner was a casual, polite "oishi" (delicious) and the conversation revolved around other things than my cooking. Thankgoodness for a package sauce. And added salt.

And I slept well. Woke up at 8.15 am. Gotta go work soon. Gotta fly!



Sunday, 19 April 2009

Quiet weekend. (J)

Still feeling tired. But ok.

Yesterday I worked until 6 pm. I came home and Yujiro cooked an amazing Chinese dinner using package foods. Later we drank a nice bottle of wine and watched American Idol.

Today I felt tired. But we did our early morning walk and then I got out to do the gardening. Trying to clear the second area at the front of the house. Hard physical work is very relaxing.

I set up the laundry poles and stands near Okaasan's window. She came out to check that the position was ok...and then helpfully told me that if I patted the sheets hard they wouldn't have creases in them! "Isn't it embarrassing that everyone can see the creases in the sheets?" she asked.
!!!!!It's this traditional thing in Japan that an older person feels happy to offer advice to a younger person. I'm nearly 50 years old. I've been washing sheets for a few years quite successfully on my own now. How I hang my sheets is my business....I can't imagine my parents telling Yujiro how to hang his sheets. But in Japan...

I smiled sweetly and said I had no embarrassment about my sheets at all. If she wanted to go and pat them down that was fine by me.

We had a tense little mix up over lunch plans unfortunately. I made a plan for lunch with a friend. (I do still have some...), but Yujiro thought I was home for lunch and started cooking. Then I moved the friend meeting time to 3.30 pm...and then he and I had a mix up over whether lunch was with Okaasan or not. A bit of couple stress and grimness. More tense conversations in the utility room. It's hard to have scenes as a couple when his mother is in the same room as you. Was life always so hard? I remember carefree seems so recent.

We ate together. I gardened some more. I went out to meet my friend for cake and coffee.

She came with me to shop for fish in Mitsukoshi. It's like the Harrods of Japan. I've bought some expensive scallops for dinner. AND a packet of sauce for them!! AhHA! Oyomesan cheats on the cooking. Yes. I'll add more salt and hope that it is acceptable.

I have no more energy left this weekend for any more dramas.









Friday, 17 April 2009

Casualty of stress. (J)

Today I lost a friend and I feel terrible.

I've cried a lot today. Put it all together for classes and students. Cried a lot in between.

The friend who tried to get me out for my birthday with onsen tickets - told me this morning that she felt very hurt by my constant refusal to fix a date for going out with her etc in March. And that she doesn't want to see me anymore.

She's refused to answer many phone calls over the past month. I sensed something very wrong. I went to her apartment at 8 am today and confronted her as she left for work.

We both cried. But she was clear. She feels hurt and thinks it's best we don't meet.

We've known each other for years. Camping, hiking, drinking, eating.
I've always hated people who drop their single friends once they get married or have kids. But in all the whirlwind of March and April - my trip to England for dad, Okaasan and Yujiro, the cat, the househunting...I failed to make time for this friend.

She's wrong to feel hurt. I'm wrong to have not found ONE day to meet her for my birthday in March.

If you are ever swept up in a life change situation like this be really careful not to fail to hang onto friends. I feel I've failed to organise my life. I let this whole Okaasan situation take my life over.

Bad day.
I came home and Yujiro took me out to dinner. We told Okaasan to order some food delivery. It was nice to have dinner out, just him and me.

But now I am going to bed. Tomorrow is a six hour teaching day. I need more energy.











Thursday, 16 April 2009

Okaasan did it too! (J)

While I am a Kitchen Queen...Okaasan is a Homecoming Queen.

She made it home safely from hula dancing to the new house. Yay!

After the usual fuss about getting out of the house on time to go, Yujiro made sure she got to the subway station. Then he came home and we did stuff around the house.

At 4 pm we happened to be at our old house again (stealing back more of my old garden!), so we parked the car across the park from the sports center and spied on Okaasan together.

We watched her leave the sports center with classmates, walk to Nakanoshima with them...and then we lost her. Where did she go? She ran across the road and disappeared! Eh?

No problem. She'd gone into the subway station and gone home. Great.

Maybe we are all getting better at our new lives.





ワタシたちはお義母さんがお仲間たちといっしょにスポーツセンターを出て、中ノ島に歩くのを見たわ・・・それから見失ったの。どこに行っちゃたの?お義母さんは走って道路を横切って姿を消したのよ! えぇーっ?



Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Dinner success!!!!!!! (J)

Tonight I made:

** rice with lotus root
** spicy chicken with mushrooms - all marinated in sake/soy sauce/mirin/ginger and garlic.
** miso soup

IT was all a success! They said delicious. I added extra salt to Okaasan's meat and apart from saying I'd given her too much meat (so she gave half to Yujiro), but she ate it and chatted about stuff with him. No salt! No complaining!

I am a kitchen star.




Public help - finally. (J)

This morning I reminded Yujiro that we should go to the local city office and start to find out about what services are available for a 76 year old lady and her family.

We sat down at the desk and got the info from the staff. All about the 5 rankings of care needs and doctor appraisal systems etc.

Yujiro seems to think it will be easy enough to get Okaasan along to a hospital for a check over. I have my doubts. This lady hasn't been willingly to a hospital for years. I wonder how he'll achieve it? Bag over the head and drug her?

But I feel relieved that we have at least found out about the available systems and he is now programmed in to do something about it. If I was a Japanese wife I could do all of this. But my Japanese level just isn't up to persuading Okaasan to go to a hospital and welcome a care manager type into the home for an assessment.

Before he starts work again he has to set things in motion. At the very least I think a few lunchtime meal deliveries would help Okaasan.

Mind you, we've just this lunchtime had the usual rigmarole about getting her ready and out of the house in time for her hula dance class. Yujiro was hunting through her purse for something that was missing...subway card? sports center ticket? I wonder if Toyohira ward care workers will remind Okaasan to do this kind of thing once Yujiro is working again? hmm..guess not.
It could be a new service for forgetful old people - a Reminder to DO Stuff Service!

P.S. I am a very very evil Oyome-san. I have had a brilliant idea about how to use the lilly bulbs that are lurking in a bag in the kitchen...bought 4 weeks ago and of course forgotten and unused.

I shall try planting them in the garden and see if they grow into a flower!







追伸 ワタシは実に本当に鬼嫁だわ。台所の袋に隠されていたユリ根の使い方についてアイデアがひらめいたの・・・4週間前に買われて、もちろん忘れられて使われなかったね。


Monday, 13 April 2009

Peaceful day. (J)

Sunday. Sunny day. A day at home relaxing. At last.
It was also exactly ONE year since Yujiro's terrible ski accident when he crashed into a tree and did a nasty compound fracture to his leg. 3 months in hospital. 10 months of rehabilitation, reinjury at Xmas to the same leg. A year ago today our lives changed.

So today a day of peace. Easter Sunday actually. But Easter isn't a festival in Japan.

I gardened for 3 hours, digging out bamboo grass roots and clearing the rubbish into TEN bags. He repaired kitchen chairs and watched sports programs on TV. Okaasan watched TV, pottered around and endlessly opned and closed the drawers of a chest we found for her.

I haven't had a relaxing Sunday at home for such a long time. It was wonderful. This house is so quiet on a Sunday. The cat came and joined me for a bit of gardening and enjoyed the sunshine too.

Okaasan apologised for not helping: "I like flowers, but I don't really like gardening"...I told her it was absolutely no problem !!!!! I LOVE gardening and it is my escape from a week of people and talking. I like my job. But in my time off I enjoy solitude.

Late afternoon I called an old friend who lives in Saitama. She used to be my roommate along time ago. There are 3 women who I call my "Japanese sisters", we were all room mates when I first came to Japan. Izumi is a public health nurse.
She gave me the third degree about Okaasan. It was JUST like a city office care worker interview! It was the kind of interview I want to get someone to come here and do with Yujiro and Okaasan. Now the moving frenzy is settling down it is time to get on his case about arranging that. I don't think there is much care necessary/will be accepted for/by Okaasan at the moment, but if the local care people at least have us on their books then it will all be easier when we DO need public help.

In the evening I took the cat to the vets for a big injection and we took Okaasan to a local izakiya for dinner. It was so-so. Sunday night and slow cooking and service. We came home to find that the cat had got through the baby gate and was walking around the kitchen looking confused and angry. So the big injection obviously revitalised him!

But a good Sunday. We all relaxed.









Sunday, 12 April 2009

Thank goodness for GPS.(J)

Saturday is a busy working day for me - but it gives me confidence and power.
I really enjoy meeting students at my small school and the Saturday schedule is a little tiring, but fun.
Cooking and the salt-saga seemed a long way away.

At lunchtime I called Yujiro to check on him and he sounded stronger. He'd also eaten some of the Oden and said he thought it was good: "I don't know what she is talking about." Yes. Well. Me too.

I got home about 5.30 pm. Relaxed with a beer. Checked email. Injected the cat. Checked a few websites about elderly people and salt...Alzheimer's and salt.
Around 7 pm I cooked fried tofu and vegetables. Threw in lots of soy sauce. Salt. Okaasan was still out shopping. So he and I sat and ate dinner quietly. I'm not going to wait dinner for Okaasan if she isn't home. I worked hard today and dinner is at 7 pm. I had phone calls to make and our favorite TV program starting at 9 pm.

By 8 pm Okaasan was still not home. Department stores here close late, but she is usually home by 7...7.30 pm.

Yujiro checked the GPS connection between his and Okaasan's cell phones. I craned my neck to look at the screen. It's amazing technology.

"Ebetsu? Ebetsu? She's in Ebetsu?" we chorused.
Wow. Oh my god. Etc.
Ebetsu is a town about 20 km from here on the train line south-west of Sapporo! What on earth was she doing there?

Yujiro started calling her. After some false starts he got her holding the cell phone correctly and able to have a conversation. Got her to ask station staff for help. Got her onto a train back to Sapporo. The GPS tracked her position and showed her return...Atsubetsu...Shiroishi...there was a bit of a delay at Sapporo Station when we thought she may have bought another JR ticket and gone back throgh the ticket gates...finally the shouted instructions to the cell phone brought her safely back to our local subway station.

It was 9.15 pm. She emerged from the subway crowd clutching some bread in a bag. Looking a bit tired. But giggling and make comments about: "Oh, I'm confused! How did that happen?"

We guess that she came out of Daimaru department store and instead of turning right and going downstairs to the subway, she maybe turned left into the station and bought a ticket and followed the crowds through the ticket gates and onto a train! Maybe the train ended at Ebetsu, or maybe she had the smarts to get off finally. We'll never really know.

Luckily (again)...Sapporo is basically a safe city. She is physically strong enough to do this kind of trip. Eventually she asks people. But..but....

We took her home, Yujiro heated up the tofu, rice and soup.
We retreated to our living room and finally started our Saturday night at home.

Okaasan fell asleep on her living room carpet with the TV blaring.

Thankgoodness for GPS!







“江別? 江別? 江別にいるって?”ワタシたちは口をそろえて言ったわ。








Friday, 10 April 2009

Japanese translations.

Tokiko, who is a wonderful lady in Hiragishi, has been busy translating this Blog into Japanese and her work has been checked over by Yukie in Yokohama.

I've uploaded the Japanese translations up until March 15th. The Japanese is after the English sections and postings with Japanese have this - (J) - in the title.

Thankyou Tokiko and Yukie!
I know that many of my current and past students, and some Japanese friends are reading this. So if the English is a little hard, please check out the Japanese version.

Cooking failure ...again..may as well drink.(J)

I came home from a busy day at work to find that Yujiro was feeling sick and going to bed.

So...we know what that means don't we?.....!!!!

Oyomesan is cooking! Yeah. Oh no. Time to run for the hills.

Okaasan rocked in at 7.30 pm, clutching a usual shopping bag of stuff - some packs of beans, some fried snacks, some jelly snacks...the kind of things old ladies see and buy.

Yujiro had planned to cook Oden. This is a kind of simmered pot of tofu, vegetables, boiled eggs, fish paste etc which is popular in winter and eaten with mustard.
So I checked on the Internet how to cook it. Usually we buy supermarket packs and you just throw the contents of the bag in a pot and heat it.
But there was no pre-cooked bag. Just the raw ingredients.
So I put together all the stuff as the recipes said...seaweed, dried fish flakes, soy sauce, cooking sake, sake, salt...drained off the seaweed and fish flakes - added in the tofu, vegetables, all looked good.

But no.... Okaasan said: "No taste. Did you use salt? Not enough salt. No taste. It's not good. Japanese people like strong salt taste...etc etc". She started adding in soy sauce and salt to her food.

Bugger it. I refuse to add that much salt to something I am going to eat. This thing is eaten out of a communal pot in the center of the table, so you can't add extra salt secretly to one portion.
I smiled and made light jokey comments about the differences of cooking styles.

I will NOT let this get to me. I am actually quite a talented person, I am a good teacher, I write well, I ski well, I am creative, I have gardening talents, I can ride a horse, I can nurse sick animals, I'm a good driver...etc.
Not being able to cook food that this old lady likes is not a failure. If she wants better food she should cook it herself.

Anyway. We ate dinner.Then I distracted her away from my cooking by asking questions about the sake-making paste that she'd bought and got her to make amasake - a hot, alcoholic drink made from the left overs of the sake making process. So we sat in the kitchen and drank that and chatted about THAT. Not my cooking.

I dread what is going to happen when Yujiro starts work though. I will have to cook much more than I do now. And I fear that every single dinner will be a disappointment.
Yujiro should have fallen for a Japanese woman who had spent years cooking Japanese food. Then Okaasan wouldn't have to suffer the foreigner's tasteless efforts.




オヨメサンが料理するのよ! イェーイ。とんでもない。(お義母さん!)避難しなくちゃ!








Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Beginning to settle down.(J)

Sorry - I haven't blogged.
The weather has been great and as I've had a half teaching schedule I've been spending a lot of time outside - STARTING THE GARDEN! Yeah!!!

Gardening is so, so cathartic. It relaxes me more than I ever realized. Even with Okaasan coming to help/ is relaxing. (But I have learned that if I stay away from just outside the living room windows when she is home she won't come out and join me!).

Maybe it is the gardening. Or maybe it is just that finally the moving stress is beginning to recede. But I feel more relaxed and I feel that there IS some happy future in this situation for all of us. Finally. Since Okaasan came in December it's been mainly day after day of stress. Now I feel life opening up in front of me...and him.

So, a quick round up:

  1. He and I started morning walking again, exploring our new neighborhood.
  2. Okaasan and I spent a morning in the sunshine tackling 3 years of bamboo grass growth. People using the street and the old lady opposite stopped by to comment on our good work. Okaasan enjoyed the gardening, although I did have to watch that she kept on task and didn't stuff dead bamboo grass in the plastics trash bag. She only started that childish whining once - when I wouldn't prune a bushy thing as she wanted it. I walked away and a few minutes later talked about something else, and she appeared to have passed on and over the stressy situation. The garden looks huge! I am so happy. It's going to be a big challenge, but I come from a family of gardeners. It's gonna be fun. I don't think Okaasan actually knows much about plants and gardening...but she likes flowers.
Bobcat makes his garden debut.

3. Okaasan came home from a shopping outting at 7.30 pm. We'd started cooking dinner after deciding that we'd go ahead and eat without her. She walked in just as Yujiro was serving up 2 bowls of noodles. So, being the good son that he is ...he gave Okaasan HIS dinner, and started cooking another portion of noodles for himself. "Eh, Yujiro isn't eating anything?"she asked..."Yes, YOU are eating his...!" I remarked nastily....She really has NO concept of time. It annoys me like mad.

4. Yujiro escorted Okaasan to hula dancing as the class resumed today. We wanted to be sure she knew how to get there. She told him they were going to walk the 3 km to the sports center, so they left early. He came back later and commented that she didn't really seem so sure of the route.

Around 4 pm I had just finished "stealing" some of my plants from my old house garden (helped by my wonderful neighbors) and I decided to wait on the road near the sports center and spy on Okaasan from the safety of the car to see how she went home from Hula dancing....first she walked with classmates to half a kilometer to Nakanoshima. But then I guess the classmates went into their apartments and she cheerfully set off in the WRONG direction! She did stop and ask some women the way, but as it was starting to rain I finally broke cover and spun her a white lie about happening to see her as I was returning with a carload of plants...and scooped her up and took her home.

One night recently she came home from "shopping" and she looked so cold and tired I am sure she was walking lost for ages. It's sad, but there isn't much we can do...wants to go out, she enjoys walking. But I fear she often walks in circles.

5. I discussed with Yujiro that we should try and get Okaasan to look after herself for her mid-morning meal. He agreed. But then cooked for her twice. I kind of feel he has brought this dependency on himself by cooking almost every day for her since she came here in December. He is starting to job hunt now. When he and I are both working she'll have to fend for herself and I think we should be getting her in training!

6. We are eating all the stuff she buys. She goes out every day and comes back with stuff...apples, yogurt, rice balls, snacks...but she soon forgets when it is in in the fridge. So we eat it.
Nothing has been done about the lilly bulbs yet! They are lurking in the fridge,

7. Okaasan
is still falling asleep in front of the TV on the living room carpet. She wakes up a lot at night I think, but she forgets to heat her it isn't an attractive place to sleep. We don't know quite what to do.

8. He and I have had a few words about how much of our habits and life need to be extended to include Okaasan. He chatted to her about cheese fondue, she looked unconvinced (naturally, because she doesn't really like cheese...even though she eats pizza!). I felt sad because I have happy memories of US eating fondue. I don't want to share the experience! Then we talked about a local curry restaurant we want to try..."
she'll like that, she likes curry" he said..."well, she doesn't need to come, WE can go and eat curry, she doesn't need to come with us all the time! I wailed....

9. The ghost/spirit/whatever hasn't made any more appearences. Maybe we've scared her away!




気候もよくなってきて、仕事量も半分だったので、長い時間外で過ごしていたの・・・庭仕事のはじまりはじまり! イエーイ!!!




  1. 彼とワタシは朝のウォーキングを再開し、新しいご近所を探索しているの。
  2. お義母さんとワタシは朝日の中、3年かけて育った笹と格闘して過ごしたわ。この道をいつも通る人々やお向かいの老婦人が立ち止まり、ワタシたちの成し遂げた仕事にコメントしたのよ。お義母さんはガーデニングを楽しんでいたわ。お義母さんが仕事を続けて、枯れた笹をプラスティックのゴミ箱に入れないようにワタシが見なければならなかったとしてもね。ワタシがお義母さんの望みどおりに茂みを刈り込まなかったとき、お義母さんは一度子供っぽく愚痴を言い始めたの。ワタシは立ち去り、数分後、何か違うことについて話したの。それでお義母さんはストレスの状況をやり過ごし逃れたみたいだったわ。庭が大きく見えるわ。ワタシはとてもうれしいの。これは大きな挑戦になりそうだわ。でも、ワタシはガーデナー一家の出よ。たのしくなるわ。ワタシはお義母さんが植物やガーデニングに精通しているとは思わないわ・・・でもお義母さんはお花が好きなのよ。


  1. お義母さんが買い物のお出かけから7時30分に帰宅したわ。ワタシたちはお義母さん抜きで食べようと決めて、夕食を作り始めていたの。ユウがちょうど二人分の麺をよそい終わったときに、お義母さんは入ってきたわ。それで、彼のようにできた息子がすることは・・・ユウはお義母さんに自分の分をあげ、そして、彼自身のためにもうひとつ作り始めたの。「あら、ユウは食べていないじゃないの?」お義母さんは聞いたわ。「ええ、お義母さんが彼の分を召しあがって・・・」ワタシは不愉快な気持ちで一言いったの。本当にお義母さんは時間の観念がないのよ。それはめちゃくちゃにワタシを困らせているのよ。

  1. ユウはお義母さんをきょう再開のフラダンスに付き添って行ったわワタシたちはお義母さんがそこへの行き方をわかっていると確信したかったの。お義母さんは彼にスポーツセンターまでは3キロ歩くと言ったので、二人は早めに出かけたわ。彼はあとで帰ってきて、母は道をよく覚えてはいなかったようだ、って言っていたわ。




  1. ワタシはユウと、お義母さんが自分で午前中の食事の支度をするように仕向けるべきことについて話し合ったの。彼は賛成したわ。でも、それから2回お義母さんに作ってあげたのよ。12月にお義母さんがここにきてからほとんど毎日作ってあげたことがこんな依存関係を彼自身にもたらしたって感じてもいるのよ。彼は今、職を探し始めているわ。彼とワタシがどちらも働くとき、お義母さんは自分でどうにかしなければならなくなるし、ワタシはお義母さんを訓練しなきゃって思うのよね。

  1. ワタシたちはお義母さんが買うものすべてを食べているの。お義母さんは毎日出かけ、りんごやヨーグルト、おむすび、お菓子なんかを買って帰るの・・・でも冷蔵庫の中にあるのにすぐ忘れちゃうのよ。それでワタシたちが食べるの。ユリ根はまだだけど!冷蔵庫の中に身を潜めているわ。

  1. お義母さんは居間のカーペットの上のテレビの前でぐっすり眠っているわ。お義母さんは夜に何度も眼を覚ましていると思うの。でも自分の寝室を暖めるのを忘れるのよ・・・だからそこは眠りを誘われる場所ではないの。どうしたらいいか、さっぱりわからないわ。

  1. 彼とワタシは、お義母さんを加えるためにワタシたちの習慣や生活をどの程度広げる必要があるかについて少し話し合ったの。彼はお義母さんにチーズフォンデュのことを話したわ。お義母さんは納得していないみたいだったの。(もちろん、お義母さんは本当にチーズが好きじゃないのよ・・・ピザは食べてもね!)ワタシはピザを食べた二人の楽しい思い出があるから寂しさを感じるわ。その体験をわかちあいたいとは思わない!それからワタシたちは行ってみたい近所のカレー屋について話したの。“母は気に入るだろう。カレーが好きだし”彼は言ったわ。“うーん、お義母さんは行かなくてもいいのよ。二人でカレーを食べに行きましょう。お義母さんはいつも一緒に行かなくてもいい!ワタシは声を上げて泣いたの・・・

  1. あの幽霊だか精霊だかわからないものがもう現れなくなったの。たぶんワタシたちが追い払ったのよ!