Sunday, 9 January 2011

Done another day.

Stayed home today and rearranged my nest.

Uni Spaghetti - aka Heather - is leaving Japan soon (boo hoo) and today she toured Sapporo delivering stuff from her apartment to friends.

I got her oven/microwave combination machine AND two bookcases. But I had to rearrange things a bit here to make room for them.
The oven just about fits on top of the fridge. I haven't HAD an oven for 17-8 years...all my time in Japan actually. Here microwaves are more common. I've actually forgotten how to use an oven!

The goldfish had to move from the top of the fridge to the window shelf of the toilet - the room is very warm because we keep it heated for Okaasan and I just hope he isn't too shocked about all he'll see from his new vantage point.
Mind you, goldfish are meant to have very short memories - so he'll just swim around a bit and forget it. Him and Okaasan....short-term memory problems. He's got colored pebbles scattered all over the place and she has socks and pants.

And arranged the bookcases. All ready for when Tokyo Port customs people release my boxes from England and all THAT stuff arrives here, maybe in about 10 days from now. All my photo albums...teddy bears...memories....

In the meantime they are good cat storage places.

I fed Okaasan lunch and sat and chatted to her. The food was easy because it was just last night's dinner replated and refreshed. She rambled on and on about Ishihara Yujiro the Japanese movie star. I'd mentioned that Yujiro was working at a ski resort near Otaru and that predictably set her off on the familiar tracks of conversation : Otaru - Ishihara Yujiro Museum - Ishihara Yujiro lived in Otaru as a child - later he lived in Tokyo - his house was near my cooking school - I told my husband and he insisted on coming to look at the star's house - it was just near my cooking school - I told my husband and he came to see the house - Ishihara Yujiro is very famous - his house was just near my cooking school -....etc etc etc

It was a beautiful afternoon after another 15 cm of snowfall. I got out and cleared snow around the house and started making a snowcat or igloo in the garden. The cats dashed around a bit in the sunshine and snow.

I told Okaasan about 3 pm that it was a nice day and she should go out. She finally GOT out at 4.30 pm, when the nice day had packed up and gone home.

Then she stayed out till 7.30 pm. I'd just about finished dinner by the time she came back. She thought maybe she'd been downtown. Wasn't sure whether it was by subway or on foot. Wasn't sure if she'd bought anything.

THIS aspect of dementia is so strange: this complete blank about something you've just done. Okaasan thought she'd been to Odori, thought she'd been by subway...wasn't sure at all. In fact she asked ME what she'd bought!!!

This morning she was asking me repeatedly: did I go out yesterday? Where did I go?

And it's interesting, but kind of sad, that she has no problems asking Yujiro and I these pretty odd questions. Asking us to confirm what has happened in her own life. I can't imagine what it is like to somehow KNOW you can't remember so much stuff. She has notes all over her table, and she is constantly asking us about things she may...or may not have done.

I sat with her while she started eating dinner, and then eventually used the Phone Call From England excuse and escaped. I was in the kitchen from 6.30 to 8 pm, that is quite enough kitchen time for this Oyomesan.

Watched one of those programs on Tv tonight about foreigners living in Japan - with the presenters finding all sorts of people out in the sticks. One Indian woman was living in the middle of nowhere with a much older Japanese guy AND his 90 year old mother.
I wonder if she had to spend 5 hours cutting up bits of seaweed and veggies for Osechi too?
There are a lot of us about. Foreigners making a life in Japan. With its shrinking population Japan so needs us if only the stupid old right-wingers in the government would get their fatheads around the topic and improve working conditions for people who have to slog it out in Japanese factories and farms.

Anyway. Time for a bath. My body knows it did snow clearing today....



  1. I often wonder how they feel / think too. The guy at our home is always going on about how he forgets, he SHOULD remember how his wife died, he SHOULD remember why he is in the home, but he just simply has no recollection. It's not only sad, but I can imagine scary and frustrating at times!
    Like the shelves btw...and the cat in them!

  2. It's amazing that okaasan gets out by herself at all. A little scary when she is so forgetful. I think one and a half hours sorting her dinner and talking to her is plenty. You still got a couple of days until Y gets back?
    Good luck with the oven. We've got a double one too and while it's not huge I can still roast a chicken or lamb :)

  3. I don't know how you do it Oyome-san, I really don't! I get the urge to escape when talking to Ryota's Grandma by myself and she's still sharp as a tack!
    Still, must be hard for Okaasan not remembering if she's been out or not, can't imagine the feeing.

  4. oh! i was gonna comment last night but then got distracted. i is easily distracted!!

    anyway, love your kitty. the shelf is just perfect for kitty!!

  5. Yes, it's strange how with so many confusing things...going out and coming home to the same place is basically ok for Okaasan.
    It seems to be some deep instinct. Like Homing Pigeons. When Okaasan first arrived in Sapporo, and then 3 months later we moved...she was confused and got lost several times. Kind people and policemen got her home.
    But now she is ok....