Monday, 12 September 2011

Personal best :-)

Had myself a nice, quiet day - to reflect on a 1 year since Jane, my step-mum died.

And marked the occasion by - climbing the local hill for the first time in THREE whole years.

Mount Moiwa, overlooking Sapporo city, is actually only 531 m. high, so "mountain" it ain't. But it's the most popular local hike. I used to do this twice or three times a week before classes - swarming up it in 40-50 mins on a good day, cheerily saying "konichiwa!" to other climbers and on speaking terms with other regulars. Experiencing the seasons from Moiwa.
Of course I used to climb all sorts of hills and real mountains - it was one of my great loves - all over Hokkaido the muddy trails and volcanic rocks, the views, the silence - mountain climbing.
I climbed all over, but Mount Moiwa here in the city was the home ground

That was three years ago.
Then boyfriend's mother came to live with us, we prepared for her coming, we moved to a part of the city further away from Moiwa...and then I buggered up my knee cartiledge...and spent two years with much, much smaller walking goals: the subway station, the supermarket, the Home Care center, downtown shops, the park, the subway stairs....
My whole world got smaller, more domestic, hemmed in. I doubt I will ever climb a volcano again.

I was back on Moiwa. In a small way, but back.
Only 15 minutes up to the big tree where the squirrels play, followed by a very careful 15 minutes down.
But I did it.

And after that I took myself to a cute local cafe with a garden and ordered up a strawberry and cranberry cheesecake with coffee, and sat there with the newspapers...and relaxed.

And then I came home to Oyomesan life again - the burned pans in the kitchen where Okaasan had heated up rice and egg for her lunch, the laundry, the cat ripping at his bandage...and I picked flowers in the garden and put them in the flower vase that step-mum Jane always had in the entrance hall of her home - and I sat and read newspapers, watched TV and prepared an easy family dinner.

People say, and I think now it IS true: when your parents die you realize that now...from now on - this IS your life. You become a real adult somehow. Of course you are an adult from the moment you start work, pay taxes, get married, have kids etc etc - but the psychological "adult" starts when you are no longer someone's child. Every decision you make will be yours, for good and for bad.

I had 4 parents, two real and two step. Mum, Peter, Dad and Jane. Now they are all gone and somehow this 1st year anniversary of Jane's death leaves me sad of course, but kind of calm inside.

Onwards, onwards, onwards...............


  1. Welcome to the orphan's club, it didn't happen to me until this year and at 65 years of age I still felt like that!
    Congratulations on the hike, looks lovely.

  2. very true that... my "adulthood" started two years ago... when my own mother passed away...

  3. Excellent post! I enjoyed your insight about growing up. And congratulations on your hiking adventure! I went up Mt Moiwa once - by cable car, I confess - it was snowing heavily though. And there were some lovely cafes around there. I went to one called Cafe Blanc, and had the strongest coffee I've ever had in Japan. You'll have a great time in Australia too!
    -Kirsty (who lives in Saitama but not, thankfully, with her MIL...yet).

  4. I really loved this post. Beautifully written.....

  5. At least you got to have a coffee in beautiful peaceful surroundings. We have to savour those rare little moments. By the way, the Australian rules football grand final is really exciting. I hope my team will make it through! You will have a fun day I'm sure.

  6. Thankyou all for nice was good to spend the day quietly...last year I ended up going with Yujiro to watch Okaasan in the Culture School hula dance performance....but this year we kept quiet about THAT and she just stayed quietly at home...

  7. I hope my adulthood is still far away, but I'm happy that you got to spend your day as you wanted and I'm so pleased to see you back on Moiwa- even if was only some of the way up- you're getting back there. Wish I could have been there to celebrate with you.

  8. Hey !
    Very interesting post and beautiful photos ^^
    I do feel a lot like you regarding the "kid/adult" things.

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    Tokyo Room Finder Short Essay Contest is an online project to gather heart-warming experiences following the earthquake in Japan. We strongly believe that sharing those experiences will give people hope and revitalize Japan.
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