Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Slothing on...

THIS is how much chocolate I can contemplate eating over the Christmas holidays!

One friend helpfully gave me a gadget called a Choc-O-Meter, which helps you work out how much you have to move your body to be able to eat more chocolate....

Slothing continues. I have half-classes this week and so I have late starts and early finishes.

Yujiro and I have reversed our housewife modes: he goes out to work early and I take care of the shopping/cooking/cleaning/Okaasan duties.

Out the front door...needs a little clearing after another 20-30 cm!

Dad's dog statue.

I can't imagine living with Okaasan and NOT doing it as a double-act with Yujiro. That would be some horrendous blog to be sure. Imagine if he went off early to the office every day and left me - working or not - with his mother day after day after day...and all the stuff that has to be done????? OMG!!!

There was a feature on Japanese Tv this morning about Men-who-Help-in-the-House. There is even a trendy word for it: Ike-dan. So stupid. If you live in a home as an adult you should do the things to make daily life work, whether you are male or female.
Yujiro gets this concept - always has - and now living with Okaasan as a giant blob of do-nothingness in our midst...it is essential that he and I balance eachother out with the housewifeing.

Okaasan doesn't do much in the house. She washes dishes (sometimes) if we ask her to do it immediatley after eating. She washes a few underpants. We do everything else. I wonder how SHE feels about that? She can hear/see us in the kitchen but hardly ever offers to help or does anything herself. This is fine by me, because it's easier without her, but it is strange that she has just given up on all the house activties of life and just sits and sits and sits by the TV.

So this week, he has the car and I am at home - shoveling snow and shopping and cooking...and eating chocolate.

This morning was "How about a bath?" time for Okaasan. If we say nothing I think she would never have a bath. We get her to have a bath about once a week. So, I started the bath running and then told her about it...three times...and now she is in there. Then I'll make her lunch and set off for my afternoon class and the gym.

Japanese New Year is approaching. This year OF COURSE I am NOT going shopping or cooking with Okaasan - because I read my own blog and remember the horror of last year.

I've ordered special food and I made an easy traditional dish with a supermarket packet set. Okaasan has bought one bag of seaweed and fish - I noticed it in the fridge - but I am hoping she won't go and get any more...and then need helping to cook it.
There will be enough that she will feel it IS New Year, but there are shops and freezers to help us through the holidays....

Chichi and Popo discover cat treats from England in the Xmas presies.


  1. a choco-metre. God what a horrendous invention. I hope you put it under the kotatsu to melt while you scoffed chocolate without a thought. Looks freezing up there but I guess you are used to it? We only had a slight fluttering of snow - but enough to make me get the snow tires put on yesterday.
    ike-dan. How ridiculous. The thought that a man who helps around the house is 'ike'. Can we be ike-himes or ike-putting up with lots of shit chans ?

    Getting things in for New Years sounds like a good plan. Maybe I'll get online and see if any places will still take orders. I really can't be faffed cooking three meals a day for seven days.


  2. Personally, I think you are a saint for all that you do with okaasan given how she just sort of fell into your lives and you had no previous emotional connection to her. While you have talked before about Japanese daughters-in-law and how you think they'd do better than you (something I don't necessarily believe, but will accept as a possibility) in the same situation, I think it's important to realize that most Japanese families have had a long relationship in which they have benefited from associations with in-laws and slowly built a relationship while the in-law was still healthy. It seems from your blog that you didn't know okaasan at all before. You pretty much took in a sick stranger and started looking after her. You had no debt to her. You didn't know her. You didn't like her. You had no positive history to draw upon. It's amazing what you have done and continue to do, especially as she degrades further and contributes nothing to the household (not her fault, mind you, but very hard on you).

    It's a wonder you don't sit around all day everyday eating chocolate and staying in your upstairs apartment just to escape. I hope you'll look back on this year and applaud all of your efforts and recognize how kind and generous you are being. You are not, as your sidebar says, a "selfish" foreigner.

  3. ahhh. Orchid-san...thankYOU!

    I try....I try. Mainly because I have my mother's voice in my head saying: "get a grip and get on with it"...my mother was nothing if not realitically critical :-) A necessary Capricorn realism to my Pieces emotionalism.

    Yes, I didn't know Okaasan at all before she arrived to live with us. I think I'd met her politely 3 times and done a few phone conversations...and then suddenly here she is waiting for lunch and dinner and needing help with personal laundry, shopping, dressing advice and money.
    It was a huge jump in a relationship.

    I think if I met Okaasan in one of my classes, or at a party - I would like her. She is a feisty, funny lady who has travelled the world and thinks outside the Japanese-view box of life. For an hour or two of social chat/meeting she would be fine.
    But yes, having someone move into your life, with mental health issues is a BIG stretch of compassion. A stretch I try to make, and don't always....avoidance of it all by heading out to lunch and making excuses for why I can't be with her...

    but....try ...try...try...:-)