Sunday, 13 February 2011

Message...half received.

Okaasan increasingly grabs at a word in a conversation..and comes out with a different understanding.

The other night Yujiro's idle dinner table chat about "talking of strange souvenirs" got the instant response from her of: "are you going on a trip? what are you going to buy?" which left us both mystified.

It's like us foreigners when our language skills are very ropey grabbing on the one word we DO understand in a flow of incomprehensible and trying to wrangle meaning from it.

Okaasan does quite a bit of wrangling.

Yesterday morning I set out her lunch in the kitchen and gave her some chat. Snow Festival etc etc. Yes, she thought about going today, such nice weather etc etc
Bingo! Realized that if I gave her enough money and set her in the right direction - she'd eat down in the park again at the food stalls and I wouldn't have to do dinner.
I had a Couch Surfing party and Snow Festival...Ice Festival...karaoke night-out ahead. So perfect.

Okaasan too thought it was a good idea: festival food again. I gave her Y2,000 and happily set off to work.

I got home at 5.15 pm - ready to feed cats and convince them I still cared, before a quick turn around and back downtown for a 6 pm meeting with Camille, my Couch Surfing guest this weekend.

Okaasan was still home. Sinking feeling in the entrance hall.
"Ahh! Amanda! I'm waiting for you! Shall we go soon?"

She thought we were going TOGETHER! Was waiting for me to come home.
Somehow between this morning and this afternoon: the elements of Snow Festival/Go/Eat/Enjoy had got all jumbled up and come out as: My dear, caring Oyomesan will come home from work and take me down the festival again for dinner!


Then followed 10-15 minutes of sorting it out.
A)  Go out now in the dark and cold and eat in the festival?
B)  Stay home in the warm while Oyomesan whips up some leftovers?

I started doing B). Then Okaasan said she'd prefer to do A). Then she came out into the kitchen and noticed the preparations for B) and thought that looked good. And then A) again.

Useless big brother in Saitama is probably just settling down with his second cup of sake right about now and snoozing by the TV.

Finally A). Maybe.
Anyone else noticed that dementia seems to remove the Choosing Skill from the brain?
Two options for Okaasan is very hard work. Three options is even worse. A menu of 20 options is mind-blowing.

So. Maybe A).
I got the cats back inside from their ice-explorations. Put away most of the food preparations and fled. Left Okaasan still hunting round her room for socks that matched. Just fled.

GREAT evening out with Couch Surfers from all over the world in a cheapo restaurant overlooking the Susukino ice festival, a walk in Odori Park before the lights were switched off, hours of noisy karaoke, taxi back to the classroom with Camille...set her up ok there...and another taxi home.

Found the remains of the leftovers on the kitchen table and some dirty plates.
Was it B) afterall?
Who knows! Okaasan doesn't.
She's just happily told me that she had a good time in the Snow Festival last night...

Oh. And Yujiro's ski school or someone buggered up the schedule and he isn't back tonight...maybe Tuesday instead.

Think I need another classic movie.
Doctor Zchivago! Omar Sharif (who was born in Egypt) YES!


  1. How frustrating! You seem to have an endless stream of Couch Surfers, where do they all come form?

  2. Well, Snow Festival week is THE week for visiting Hokkaido and so every year that is the busiest time for Couch Surfers.

    In the Couch Surfing system you don't have to agree to host everyone who contacts you - and with all this Okaasan stuff plus work I can't do so much now. But about once a month it is fun to meet people who are travelling - I came to Japan originally as a backpacker in ...0h my...1991?????...and so I dream that one day I will travel freely again like that.
    But such interesting people - the French lady this weekend has worked on organic farms around Japan via the WWOOF website, and it was very interesting to hear her observations about aging farmers.