Friday, 27 May 2011

A timely reminder

Welcome to Okaasan Land - where shopping receipts, magazines, supermarket flyers, half-eaten food, bits of tissue, packs of instant coffee, mouldy vegetables, underwear, hula dance plastic flowers, cosmetic samples and much much more... go to hide.

There's the clock! Nicely set in its new position just a few eye-moves up from the Tv screen and near the calender pages that are always consulted to check what month we are in now.

In the foreground is the sofa. It has a blue cover. But that is buried beneath all the clothes that are permanently kept all jumbled up on top. It's only been cleared twice in the past 2 years...both times when we had a BBQ party and Okaasan worried that a child guest would come into her room and watch TV.

Between the sofa and that black/white furry carpet thing is where Okaasan sits for hours and hours. The furry thing is the kotatsu cover - the kotatsu table actually has an electric heating system and the furry table cloth keeps the heat inside. Okaasan usually sleeps on the floor with half her body under the furry cloth. We gave her a futon and a bedroom next door - but she has never used it - the futon is permanently covered with underwear and T-shirts.
Here in her main room beyond the kotatsu and the TV is a no-man's land of newspapers and food packets and magazines and stuff doing a good job of covering up the space between the sofa and the trash boxes.

I come into Okaasan Land about once a week to clean a little. I take out stuff from the bottom of the piles so that the top looks the same. I throw out mouldy stuff and dirty underwear. I move some magazines onto the bookcase near the door. I hunt for any important letters that maybe Yujiro should see. I vacumn when I am absolutely sure she is away downtown and won't suddenly reappear.
Okaasan never cleans. She folds up newspapers for recycling. She puts trash in the two boxes. I've offered her the vacumn cleaner many times, but she always says "I'll do it later"...and doesn't. I think she's vacumed maybe twice since we moved here?
She leaves the rest  from day to day, week to week, month to month..and actually year to year....there are clothes on the sofa and floor that have been there since 2009. 
And no - that isn't a joke.

Why? Why does a once-Super Housewife live like this? Don't know. I think in her mind she is always just taking a break from housework by sitting for a bit in front of the TV. Only her "bit" is actually a whole day. I think she thinks she is constantly in the middle of doing things.
Her home in Saitama was far worse apparently, because nobody cleaned for years. She slept on a pile of old clothes on a bed. Newspapers were everywhere. And mouldy food.

Anyway - now she at least clearly knows what time it is. There is the clock. 
Another small step of helping her connect with the world around her.  I hope.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Clocking in...and out.

I've bought Okaasan a clock for her room.
WHY didn't we do this before?
We're bloody stupid.

A chance conversationn with her the other day made me realise that when she sits watching TV she can't see the time easily.
Yes - it's on the TV screen, but she usually has the screen setting that pushes it out of sight into the corner.
Yes - she has a watch on the table - but there are mountains of rubbish there too and it is hardly ever visable under receipts and old orange peel.
Yes - she has a cell phone, but that is in its cradle across the room.

We...well I  mainly ...endlessly whinge about her sense of time being so bad. But she isn't helped by not actually having a clock in the room.
At the moment I've put it on a hook on the side wall, but I think it would be better near the Tv so it is in her line of sight. It is only a cheapo clock so there is no chime...but I could easily fit a little beeper behind it to go off at 12 o'clock (lunchtime!) and 3 pm (time to go out for a walk!) etc.
A beeping sound would break her focus on the TV for a moment and make her look at the clock.
Why did I wait so long to do this???

Summer blues again?

No-show at Hula dance yesterday.
Don't know why.
And Okaasan looked kind of down and stressed when she came back from a late afternoon walk to the shops.
SO down and tired that I even made her a cup of instant coffee and sat there in the kitchen chatting about weather and cats and dinner she was withdrawn and didn't talk much, we worked hard to brighten her up and get a few smiles and laughs.

But I maybe the hula dance class performance stress reappearing again. That they are learning a new dance for the show in June and she can't remember the new steps, so the class is a stress and so she doesn't go...and so....and so...she'll savage the Oyomesan's ankles very soon.
That's what I fear!

Coincidentally I was looking back thru this blog to last June and July trying to see when my roses blossomed last year (planning an English Garden Tea Party for students this year) - and I noticed that Okaasan wasn't a happy camper early last summer...lots of coming home late, confusions, suspicions etc.
Could it be the hula pressure building again?

This morning Yujiro got Okaasan up and bathed and ready for the 9 am dentist trip took her ages and ages...but they just about got out the door.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Avoiding cooking....

Butterbur done.

Not going to include a picture: it looks just the same as it did on Friday. Just now it has a fishy/soy sauce taste.

Getting Okaasan to DO it was like getting a reluctant child to finish a rashly started school project. I enthused about the butterbur and got her up off the carpet and away from the TV and into the kitchen.
I put out the seaweed, the fish flakes and the soy sauce on the table along with the printed out recipe and left her to it...peering at the recipe and clasping a large bag of sugar.

Absolutely determined NOT to help her. My stress levels don't need it. I lost two ovaries to stress last summer and I'm hanging on to my other body parts! The New Year cooking thing taught me to never, ever, EVER stand in the kitchen and cook with Okaasan again.
If she bought butterbur - she's gonna have to cook it.

I retreated to the front step to transplant seedlings. I've had seed trays in Okaasan's room (out of cats' way) for a month now and lots of tiny green leaves have appeared. So thrilling! All taken from a blue, bell-like plant in the garden last autumn.
So, while Okaasan struggled with peeling the butterbur yet again and drowning them in flavoring, Yujiro made computer charts  for optimum velotaxi business...and I transplanted seeds on the doorstep in the rain with the cats.
Each to his own.
I really don't have the patience or interest to spend so much time on cooking something like this butterbur. It isn't so delicious that it's worth all this time. The same could be said for seeds and seedlings of course - why bother? just go and buy the plants at the gardening center!

But I enjoy the gardening and the seeds. I'm afraid I can't get excited about hours and hours of peeling wild celery/rhubarb and seasoning it. 

Anyway. It's done. Enough butterbur for days. Hope she doesn't buy any more. ;-))
We all had lunch together and in the evening we left sushi for Okaasan and went out for a date with eachother to another cheap coupon meal was a former highclass bar in Susukino now doing food...and I got to touch a baseball signed by Darvish....

...and ended the day hilariously by literally picking a drunk old man off the pavement and walking him home...he was a sweet old drunk who said he'd had a  fight with his wife and got drunk to spite her. He was a bit vague on where he lived, but after 25 minutes and a trip to the police station we finally delivered him to the door of a posh retirement complex and ran away giggleing in the night as he staggered into the entrance hall.

May 21. World didn't end here. Still have butterbur to eat.

*  I'm currently rereading one of my books about dementia...noticing things that Okaasan now does/doesn't do more than a year ago...will write more later about that.

Friday, 20 May 2011


Butterbur! Cooked! By Okaasan!

She says it isn't done yet. Needs drowning in the soy sauce/cooking sake/sugar sauce that all Japanese food gets put in.

Disappointed. I tasted some of this nice fresh green butterbur last night secretly and it tastes ok. Kind of like celery.
I wish we could leave it like this and put soy sauce on the table so everyone could help themselves. But'll all be drowned in the Japanese seasoning.

Anyway - this morning we did manage to get Okaasan up and ready and out for the 9 am dentist appointment. But she really needs constantly reminding and motivating. Yujiro got her all up and moving around choosing clothes - he came upstairs to have breakfast - and went back 15 minutes later to find her sitting back in front of the TV again with no clothes chosen.
By the time he was in his outside clothes and I was jangling car keys in the kitchen Okaasan got it together that she was going out SOON! and got dressed and ready to go.

Finally...just flower garden is coming out into spring and the tomato and cucumber seedlings are in. The green pepper plant might not be reborn into its third summer...and the cats keep trying to dig up potatoes. But hey! Spring!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A butterbur in progress...

Okaasan started cooking the butterbur.
But got stuck.
Can't remember what comes next.
And said: "My cooking book is in the house in Saitama...I forgot, I don't know. Maybe there is a recipe on the Internet?"

Anything left in the house in Saitama is a slightly dangerous topic, because that was all over 2 years ago now and older son is living there...he's probably thrown out loads of stuff.

Anyway. I was glad she made a start in cutting and washing and rinsing the butterbur. I found the Japanese-language version of the recipe, printed it out nice and big for her and have left it for today.

Today was actually meant to be Dentist III. But Yujiro, who had planned to take Okaasan on his way to work, started getting her ready too late and had to reschedule the appointment for tomorrow. Anyway, she had a bath and THAT is always a good thing.

* The Power of Blogging -I read a blog by a New Zealand woman who lives in Kyushu...never met her...but feel I know her through her wonderful, crazy blog "GaijinWife"....recently her mother in NZ was sick....and I've been checking her blog every day.
I just read - her mum has died. So sad. Such a shock. She is a popular blogger and there are 77 comments of messages to her today with this news. 77!!
This blogging thing is so interesting, how people connect with strangers and feel their pain.
Sleep well Gaijin Wife's mum - we all knew about you through your daughter's blog and we laughed and smiled and cried along with her.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

To butterbur or not to butterbur?

This is Butterbur.

It's like a wild rhubarb - grows everywhere at this time of year in Japan.

And Okaasan bought some yesterday and came home with it.

Look at the size of this thing! That's a dessert spoon, not a teaspoon.

We've decided to leave it on the table today and hope she cooks it herself. If not - I've found a recipe for Simmered Butterbur...or I might just sneak it out of the house and give it a student who likes cooking.

As with many edible wild plants, it needs boiling and washing and scraping and boiling and rinsing many times to actually make it edible. And then drowning in soy sauce and cooking sake to give it some taste.

so....pleeeease Okaasan - please cook the damned thing yourself!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Going strong.

Okaasan did two days of hula.
Sunday practice AND regular Monday class.
Amazing at her age really.
She is in excellent physical form.
Hope I am like that when I am her age.

Yesterday was super-windy again. Yujiro called Okaasan to suggest staying home. But she forgot or ignored his advice and went off to hula as normal.
In the evening she looked very tired and kind of sat at the dinner table while conversation flowed around her, but still - 2 days of hula is good going.

* Meanwhile I am obviously losing it. Yesterday I went to put coffee in a mug, and was looking for a houseplant to pour the remains of drinking water over. On my way to the houseplants I stopped off at the cat toilet box, opened the soiled litter bin to scoop in some poop...and threw the water in the box instead.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hair-dryer in the fridge - dinner in the laundry basket can only be a matter of time until it all unravels.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Getting Okaasan OUT.

Had to get Okaasan dressed and OUT today.

Her hula class was meeting at someone's apartment complex community center for a practice for their upcoming performance day. As I've mentioned before, this isn't just a group of ladies who get together and enjoy hula dancing once a week - they consider themselves a team of semi-professionals who are endlessly getting ready for front of other classes from the same community center.
All taken very seriously. Very Japanese this: doing a hobby very seriously.

As is Getting Okaasan Ready to Go Out. a serious job.
It's a job with many stages.

9 am I reminded her/ told her that there WAS such an outing today.
9.30 am I started running her bath and told her about it all over again.
10.15 to 11 am I prepped a bit of food on the table for her and helped her locate the right hula dress and beads - although I completely forgot the imitation flower headpiece.
11 am I reminded Okaasan that we were due to leave at 12 o'clock by car.
Her usual Monday hula is at 1 pm with a house departure by 12.30...this is all half an hour earlier.
11.15-30 Okaasan ate bits of food.
11.45 am Okaasan is sitting in front of the TV with her hair in rollers. Still in pajamas.
I put on my coat and get my handbag to give her the visual clues to GOING OUT = SOON!
11.55 am I am reminding her again that the event starts at 12.30 downtown.
Maybe time to get dressed?
12  I get the dress and beads into a bag and into the car.
Okaasan finally gets dressed. Gets the curlers out of her hair.
Then we have 5 minutes of which handbag and keys and subways cards and purse.
Get two more curlers out of her hair.
Oh...and which scarf should she take...

Finally: 12.10 I get her out of the front door.
Drive her downtown and deliver her to the hula dance practice by 12.30 pm.

Oyome-san duties completed.

I came home to spend a quiet afternoon. And did a quick clean of her room - swept up armfuls (literally two armfuls) of underwear and little pink cotton vests and put them all in the washing machine - she just leaves them piled up on the sofa and the smell of stale clothes in mounting.
I left enough on her sofa so she doesn't think too much has been disturbed.
I hung some on the clothes hangers back in her room and the rest upstairs in our apartment to dry. Took out old newspapers. Emptied the trash boxes.

Tonight Yujiro and I are meeting an old student and her husband for more cheap food/drink on one of his Groupon discount ticket offers.
I've ordered sushi for Okaasan's dinner and will leave it out for her.

How on earth would Okaasan get out and go to these events without us? It would all be very very confused.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Family outing to spring

Ahhh...sweet...another year together....another cherry blossom season.

We just came back from Family Duty trip to the park and a local restaurant for lunch.

Cloudy and sunny day, pretty chilly - but just about ok if you kept walking.

And we did. Left the car outside a friend's apartment near the park and walked Okaasan ALL over the park looking at cherry blossoms, cute dogs, flowers and a heron on the lake.
We kept walking her into places that we knew had good toilets - the Literature Museum and the Concert Hall...but of course it was only when we got to the Chinese restaurant with its hole-in-the-ground-toilets that Okaasan felt the need.

Anyway, good lunch and a nice walk and chat about it all.

We did good.

*   Just a funny postscript to the Dentist II Visit.
On Thursday after dentist and then work I got home a few hours later and met Okaasan in the kitchen looking troubled.
"Look! Something is wrong! The fake tooth has already fallen out and maybe I've swallowed it again! Look" she said baring her teeth at me.

"No! No! It's ok! The dentist didn't FIT the fake tooth today!! He only repaired other teeth around it and measured etc. Maybe the fitting is NEXT week! It's ok!!"

And then we had the same conversation about 4 more times in the next hour....eventually Yujiro came home and he joined in the reassurance. Poor Okaasan! She knew she'd been to the dentist and knew it was in connection with the lost tooth...but was a bit hazy on what had actually happened.
We are thinking that we should get the dentist to hurry up and fit the fake tooth on the next visit or two, because at the moment Okaasan is still positive about Going to the Dentist. But if she starts to resist and he is still fiddling around with tooth cavities and cleaning...the main event may never get done at all. Japanese dentists are absolutely genius at stretching out treatment over weeks. are some Japanese northern spring pictures....with dramatic black clouds looming.
This is Nakajima Park in Sapporo.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Mission Dentist II

Dentist, Part II.

We planned it carefully. Got Okaasan all geed up to have a bath and come down town to meet me in her favorite coffee shop at lunchtime, so that I could take her to the clinic nearby.
I finished morning class just before 12 and got to the coffee shop - bursting at the seams with young office workers on lunchbreaks. And Okaasan came from home and met me as planned. But didn't eat or drink anything.

It was a beautiful day : the first real spring day in Sapporo. Crowds were out in Odori Park having picnics among the flower beds. We ambled gently through the park naming every single flower (I notice that like small children Okaasan seemingly has a need to check and name things around her) and got up to the clinic with time to spare.
I gave Okaasan over to the loving, sweet care of the dental nurses and Tsukuda-sensei. They are SO sweet to her and she laps up that kind of attention.
50 minutes later she emerged looking a bit tired and flushed - and hungry, since she hadn't eaten at all today (following the mantra that "you shouldn't eat before the dentist").

The dentist says he is going to try and make a false tooth for the front gap, but as the surrounding teeth and bone is not so strong, he isn't sure how it'll go. Anyway - I am so happy she is GOING to a dentist and having attention. We made the next appointment. He said her blood pressure is normal but her heart rate is quite high...nerves I guess.

But. Done! Success!

I took her straight across the road to Grand Hotel. Starbucks Coffee? No, just sandwiches. Hotel Coffee Shop? hmmm, no...just Western food. 4th floor Japanese Restaurant? Oh YES! The cheapest set lunch was sold out - so Okaasan and I sat in the quiet splendor of the Grand Hotel Japanese restaurant and she ate a Y2,300 lunch set and I ate chocolate cake.
We chatted and looked at the garden. The waiting staff bowed and scraped. It was all so gentle and nice. Yujiro doesn't do this kind of restaurant - he's a bar food and noodles kind of guy.
But is just REALLY nice to have lunch in a good place. I am sure Okaasan loved it, she hasn't been to this kind of place for ages. The attention from the staff is excellent and Okaasan could pick her way through all the beautifully presented, traditional food and explain it all to me.

Afterwards we walked back down to the park and the shopping area and she decided to stay downtown. I made my work excuses and retreated back here to my classroom.

Big success. Dentist and Okaasan/Oyomesan Bonding Time.
Life doesn't have to be all dirty laundry surprises and missed mealtimes.


Monday, 9 May 2011

Mother's Day...failure.

Nice little Mother's Day thing planned here last night and it failed.
Okaasan came home so late that we weren't feeling all sweet and kind to the mother-in-our-life.

This going out late and coming home late - it's the thing Okaasan does that pisses me off the most.
Having dinner together at 7 pm is the main Family Time/Communication Time we do every day because in the morning we eat breakfast upstairs and go to work and we usually leave Okaasan food on the kitchen table for her brunch-alone.

Yesterday Yujiro was working. I was home in the morning and then set Okaasan's lunch on the table and headed out to a Japanese dance show with an old student. And no - taking Okaasan to the dance show wasn't an option because the ex-student is a senior herself and I can't look after two old ladies!

I came home at 5 pm. Cleaned up Okaasan's lunch stuff in the kitchen, she almost never does it, just eats and leaves bowls and plates and dirty tissues on the table and kitchen counter.

Yujiro came home at 5.30 pm with a Mother's Day flower arrangement to present at dinner time.

At 5.45 pm - after a whole afternoon spent sitting in front of the Tv - Okaasan decided to go out.

At 6.15 pm I start making dinner. No Okaasan. At 7.30 pm we eat dinner without her.
Okaasan comes back about 8.10 pm just as we are finishing.

And then Yujiro - who sometimes is SUCH a stupid guy - starts talking to her about a flower headpiece she must take to hula dance class tomorrow - starts talking to her about this AS she is walking through the kitchen and entering her room with her hat and coat still on!
So then her mind switches to that topic and not dinner and she starts scuttling around her room in a panic about which flower, which color and why etc....

WHY didn't he wait until later to talk about that? Why? Does he have noodles for brains?
So they are getting themselves in a stressed conversation about hula flowers, I am reheating dinner....Okaasan comes to the table and then goes off AGAIN to look for the flower.
And I say: "No! No! Okaasan, please come and eat your feed while it's hot! Please look for the flower later!!"
In my stress I mix up the words for food and feed - the word for human food and the word for the stuff animals eat. It sounds pretty strange and rude. Yujiro is choking with shock. Okaasan is confused, but comes back to the table.

I've had enough and exit the kitchen. It's almost 8.30 pm by now.
Yujiro calls me back downstairs a few minutes later when he gives Okaasan the flower arrangement, supposedly from us. And I retreat to sanity again upstairs.

Grrrrrr.......these moments I hate. Her going out late and coming home late stretches the whole cooking-dinner-washing up-chatting time into hours......our own evening time is eaten up and we feel forced to sit in the kitchen more when she DOES come home just to give her a bit of human inter-action for the day.
Many dementia experts say that this sun-downing is common - that dementia sufferers get more active/anxious at the end of the day - Yujiro says Okaasan is following her old routine in Saitama of going out late afternoon in the evening cool for shopping and dinner in the local noodle restaurant.
Whatever it is. It's frustrating. She misses the best weather of the day. She often comes home late for 7 pm dinner.
When it's only her and me I don't do it. I'm tougher - in my book if you come home after dinner time you'll get reheated food on the table, but you don't get Cosy Family Time. Not logical I know, she doesn't know WHAT time it is...what she is doing....but...but..I ain't gonna do it. that out of my system now. Maybe. Sorry, needed a good venting.


Sunday, 8 May 2011

Mother's Day

This is my mother, Eve.
Today is Mother's day in Japan and the US (in the UK, confusingly, it usually March or April).

My mum died in 1996 of myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells. I'd just arrived in Sapporo to start work at a cult-like English school and one June morning my step-mother and father called to tell me that mum had died in hospital after 2 years of illness.
She had fallen down while walking a few years before, then later doctors found a big part of her skull and hip bone was soft and spongy...and her bones and blood got worse and worse.

Mum was a writer, editor and graphic designer. She wrote handicraft books and edited the sewing section of a woman's magazine.
She was an awesome cook and gardener, loved cats and wine and mystery novels and Scrabble. She was one classy dresser, and never went out without make-up and carefully co-ordinated clothes.
Mum was bossy and emotional, laughing and argumentative. Married twice, and one daughter.

Now I live with HIS mother, to me she is just an old lady we have to care for - but I TRY to remember that for him she is mum...not always a source of trouble, but also lots of positive shared-memory things. I try. Not always very successful. :-))

*** My current "mother"....Yesterday was one unexpected sharing moment with Okaasan; she actually TOLD me she was having toilet problems! Very surprising.
I walked into the kitchen and found her making tea and looking a bit distressed. She told me she had constipation and was getting tired sitting in the toilet. I made her filter coffee and told her (truthfully) that I've had this problem all my life. So I gave her two cups of filter coffee and hoped that did the trick - it always does for me.

I wondered too about the diet we give her, are there actually enough vegetables and fruit? Maybe too often in our meal times "vegetable" means salad, because it is easy. But a few bits of lettuce and stuff isn't a lot of roughage and Okaasan doesn't eat so much anyway. She eats rice, soup and the tofu/fish part with pickles.
Sometimes she buys apples ( only green are deemed good enough to eat), but she often forgets them after a day or two and I end up eating them instead.

Anyway - as luck would have it, I was shopping yesterday at the cheap and great vegetable shop so I bought up a load of stuff and did roast veggies with garlic and rosemary for dinner, with turnip leaves as a side dish etc - so we ALL got a good shot of veggies yesterday.

But interesting that Okaasan told me about her toilet problems. It was a good personal topic sharing-moment and made me wonder whether I CAN broach the topic of diaper pads with her?


Friday, 6 May 2011

Quiet time........

End of Golden Week holiday - NOT golden this year in Hokkaido, but actually a whole week for me.

Time spent quietly at home doing stuff I kept putting off: wash the rubber plant, clean the toilet, input the April accounts on the computer, make the classroom signboard, finish the book I have been reading for 3 months, watch TV, clean garden, relieve Yujiro's cooking duties etc etc
Saw two movies. Had a few quiet meals out on my own with a good book.
Walked in the local park watching it all come to life.
Joined a Japanese friend and her English students at a Let's Cook and Speak English party at a community center: me as the Visiting Real English Speaker for them to practice on. A fun night, although standing in the kitchen and walking there and back made my leg muscles swell. Have to be careful with that.

Fed Okaasan. Dentist. We took her to the good noodle place near the station for a trip out.
I cleaned her room while she was out. No toilet accidents since Monday. Maybe.
I'd cleared out enough stuff from the carpet between the table and the Tv so she rediscovered the May calender page and stood looking at it for ages - finally came into the kitchen to ask: "I wrote here Dentist. Did I go? When is this?"

All in all, nice normal.
Back to work today. And then a WEEEEKEND!!!!!!

*** This has no connection to anything, but I just HAVE to share this from a friend/student's blog....a restaurant in Naganuma, near Sapporo that is serving HUGE tempura. HUGE!!!!
Click on the words below to go to her blog.

Gigantic Tempura Rice Bowls!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Let's dentist!!!

Dentist. Done.

There's a promotion video on CNN at the moment for a program about Alzheimer's - with someone saying "They look like your parents, but you are looking after them like your child..." and that's what yesterday felt like - taking a little girl to the dentist.

But MOST luckily I didn't have to do it alone as the weather was terrible and Yujiro had no work. So we made a family outing of it: Let's Dentist!! (this is an in-Japan joke, with the Japanese habit of putting nouns with "Let's" to create oddities such as "Let's tennis!").

Anyway. In the morning I suggested to Okaasan that she have a bath before going out, she wasn't too enthusiastic and actually surprised when I mentioned that she usually has a bath once a week before her last bath WAS a week ago.
Really? A week ago? Me?
So odd this. In her mind she's had a bath sometime recently. It must be odd that people tell you that what you are thinking is not so at all. I know I had a shower yesterday...but if someone told me I hadn't...what would I think?

I did family lunch and then we got ready to go out in the spring storm. Drove downtown. I dropped Okaasan and Yujiro off at the dentists and went to park the car.

Also I went to pick up yet another flower-pattern shawl thing that Okaasan bought a few days ago and asked the shop to keep for her - when she dies I am going to inherit lots and lots of these red/pink flower shawls. She sees one - she buys it.
And yet again it was a PING! moment: Okaasan's memory surprisingly in complete working order. "Where is the shop where you bought this shawl? "
"Oh, it's just when you go thru the doors of the underground shopping street, second on the left...."
And it was. Second on the left. She remembered completely ok. Such a small point really, but still noticeable to us.

Yujiro and I sat in the dentist's waiting room while our child Okaasan was in the dentists' chair. Then the dentist came out to say: a small part of the fallen tooth root was still there, but maybe can't be got out and the teeth each side of it are so weak that he doubts a bridge would work, maybe cementing a fake tooth to them would be possible.
All of that might happen next week....if we can get Okaasan to come again.
The dentist and Yujiro talked about it, then the dentist went back to talk to Okaasan about it. Lots of chat followed. 
Finally she emerged all smiley and bowing to the dental nurses etc - no basic problems which is good. If she  doesn't want a fake tooth fitted that's fine - I reckon at the age of 80 you can decide against nasty dental treatment if you don't want it.

So we emerged into the spring typhoon and took Okaasan to a Tully's for coffee and chat. Then home.

So. All went well. Not sure whether she'll want to go again next week...but for now it is enough.

Next? Time to tackle the toilet accidents. Let's Diapers!

***  and just to end on an "Awwww" moment.....we have finally finished remodelling my English classroom signboard. Yujiro de-rusted and repainted it. Ordered up special magnet sheets and traced them, and cut them...and.....finished!!!

Chichi thinks the green matches his eyes.