Sunday, 11 September 2011

Memories. September 11th.

The world remembers 9/11 today.

My 9/11 memory is waking up in Japan and hearing Yujiro say from the living room: "Come and look at the Tv, maybe you can't go to Hawaii next week, there are plane crashes in New York...look!".
And we watched, and watched and watched.
And 5 days later I climbed on a nearly empty plane from Nagoya to Hawaii. Dad and Jane's plane was one of the first Europe-U.S. planes to fly, and they managed to fly London to L.A. to Hawaii.
The three of us had a very surreal family holiday in Hawaii - deserted holiday resorts, while the aftermath of the horror of it all unfolded on the hotel TV.

This is also the day I heard a year ago that Jane, my step-mum had died peacefully at her home in the UK, after 2 years of dramas and sadness.
Jane, my step-mum.

I was sitting outside on the doorstep pulling weeds from the flowerbed - nursing my huge stomach with the multiplying ovaries and 2 days away from entering hospital - when Yujiro called me into the house to read the just arrived e mail from my step-aunt.....


So. Today is a day to do something nice. I should do weeding - which Jane would probably feel an appropriate activity in fact! - but maybe I'll go off and do something better...

Last night we had a successful Guests Coming to Dinner evening with Okaasan. She didn't climb out the living room window and head for the hills in terror at all.
This week's Couch Surfer is Tom, a 23 year old British university student who is about to do a year of study at a university in Sapporo. He's waiting for his university room to be available and staying in my English classroom for a week.
So he came to dinner with his Japanese uni friend Ayaka - so two nice, young, Japanese speaking people....I decided to risk it with Okaasan and invited them to come for Family Dinner.
Actually a success: Ayaka was a very polite young woman and OMG!!! - she came from Saitama!!! = so she and Okaasan had something in common :-)) Saitama! Train stations! Shop names! Oh joy.

Okaasan slipped into hostess-mode - chatting brightly ( a little repetition), fighting Ayaka away from the dish washing and making Japanese tea for everyone, and doing the dishes while the young people talked...she spent years hosting people like this and you can see what she once was - Yujiro's Dad was an accountant and then senior manager in some kind of company....and they hosted the staff to parties at their home (in the days when Japanese bosses paternally invited staff to abandon their own families and come watch his wife work hard).

So. That was a success. Okaasan enjoyed that visitors coming experience.

Other stuff?
Well, tired really.
I haven't had a full night's sleep all week.
Popo has made a big recovery with the infected wound. He is fighting to get the bandage off and I am seeing a lot of the young vet as we try to fashion enough bandages to cover the operation wound. Mid-week Popo switched from looking like a Sumo Cat to Egyptian Mummy mode.
The main problem? Night time. Of course we don't want the cats to be out at night and meet the stray-with-fangs again. So we are locking them inside.
Oh......the miowing! scratching...catterwauling.............feline whinging....YOWL!!! YOWL! 

TWO cats get up about 2 am or 3 am and try to open all the windows, fight with the gate at the bottom of the stairs, yowl mournfully, pace up and down the bedroom....yowl some more.
Yujiro sleeps through it all.
I don't. I hurl cushions, bottles of moisturiser from the bedside table, socks....
And finally at 5 am I get up.

I love the two cats. But. Once Tom has gone off to his university room next week I will probably go to my classroom and try and get a good night's sleep....I'm just about functioning every day...

At this rate I will get to Australia IN TWO WEEKS TIME!!!!! and sleep. Great Barrier Reef tour ??? Nah...just sleep.

And talking of which.....Australia that is.
My friend in Melbourne has just realized that my last day is Australian Football Finals day! She and husband are planning a barbie at home with a big screen TV and friends, MeatLoaf is the pre-game entertainment, and two teams I've never heard of, in a sport I have no idea about will be battling it out with a whole country going crazy...

I can't wait. Sounds like a wonderful last-day-in-Australia. A real cultural eye-opener :-)

Oh - but sorry, yes, nobody will be in any shape to take me to the airport early on the Sunday morning!!!!! Well, of course. No problem. I've booked myself an airport hotel, where drink footy fans will probably be rampaging up and down the corridors.

So the cats are only getting me in training for all of that....


  1. I can't believe its been 10 years, how the world has changed.
    I was standing in my PhD supervisors office reading an email from a former student in the lab working in New York telling us about the planes hitting the towers....then later sitting with a large group of other post grads from round the world in silence,,,
    I hope next week is full of lovely long nights sleeps, sounds like you need it...

  2. I was here in Japan and came back from work just to have MIL tell me that something was exploding in the US. I thought she was watching some bad (good?) action flick. Then of course thru satellite TV, watched everything going on thru CNN.... hard to believe it's been 10 years. Baby Bean was born in February, soon after...

  3. I was here in Japan too, just getting ready to get married. I worked my final shift before my break, went to an Udon restaurant in Otaru and they had their TV on. They kept giving me sad looks (must have thought I was American) but I couldn't really see the TV, thought it was showing a road or something.

    When I got to my apartment I heard the news in English and was quite shocked of course. One of my siblings tried to tell me to cancel my honeymoon, but we refused. We left Narita Sept 18, on the second day of international flights for Canada.

  4. Hi Helen

    This 9/11 memory was written by C.A., my American friend in Sapporo...

    it is very moving...

  5. Thanks for that. It was very moving.

    I thought I'd look up my blog entry for the day, if you're interested. My mind was on other things (obviously) and I didn't realise at the time how much our world was going to change from then on.
    Here's the URL for my Sept 11th entry.

  6. Helen,

    I read your blog for that day - it's strange hearing dramatic news thru the prism of a foreign language or TV isn't it...the full import doesn't really hit home.
    Years ago I was on holiday with my parents - maybe Rumania - and local TV was showing Margaret Thatcher and warships and somewhere that looked like Scotland...and we were very was the British/Argentinian war over the Falklands...