He got a call from a restaurant downtown - Okaasan had been in there recently and eaten a meal...but hadn't had enough money to pay for it, so she'd promised to come back later with the money....and had never come back.
THIS is one of the (many) reasons it is good she is living with us now. Otherwise the Sapporo economy would nosedive as she left a trail of unpaid bills around town.
We usually only give her Y1,000 - Y2,000 for random shopping and snack buying. This is only about $10 and it is more than enough for the kind of snacks/magazines shopping she actually needs to do for herself. If we give her more all sorts of foodstuff gets bought and left in her room for days and starts to rot.
If she needs more money for bigger purchases (pants/flowery scarfs/tea pots) she asks for the money.
I'm constantly surprised that she accepts us doling out money to her like this - in fact she often asks me for the cash because Yujiro has told her that if he isn't around - she should ask me. She tends to forget the first part of that information and even if he and I are both there in the kitchen - she asks me! He gives me a stash of money to dole out to her...slowly.
The not-having-enough-money-to-pay situation may also explain why sometimes Okaasan comes home looking really unhappy and we wonder what happened while she was out. Sunday night was that I think - at 3 pm here she was all smiley and chatty - by 6.30 pm after a trip out, she was almost silent and complaining about her tooth pain...and not eating. Maybe she ate went to that restaurant, had the embarrassment of not being able to pay and then came home with a vaguely not-happy mood.
We don't know.
Anyway - Sapporo is such a kind city it is wonderful that restaurant owners will let old ladies pay later on meals eaten - and remember to keep the telephone number of the old lady customers! This restaurant is a branch of a chain that Okaasan used to use in Saitama and she often goes there - so they know her.
And finally: Culture Quiz.
Which doorstop object is a sign in Japan that here-be-gangsters?
a) The plastic sandal?
b) The ceramic cat with tattoos?