Sunday, 18 December 2011

Tis the season to be merry!!!!!

I DID it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I am SO pleased and smug and over-joyed with myself. I am wonderful.

Skied today and did the '72 Sapporo Olympic Women's Giant Slalom course (easy side) at Teine Highland.


Got Okaasan to help me load about 40 pairs of smelly underpants into a general laundry basket and come with me to the washing machine and put them in it.


I think I need a celebration. Oh, I have it. I'm drinking coffee with cooking brandy. At 3 pm. 

The skiing makes me SO happy. I feel glimmers of my former life returning. We went up to Teine Highland, a big ski area up above Sapporo city and did a few easy courses slowly. Then got to the bottom and thought: can do more, my knee is ok. Went up to the top and came down the big main course. This.

SUCH a great feeling. We came down the easy side, turning, turning slowly...but I felt connected to the ski area again...not piddling around on the family course as I did last year. And the knee felt fine. :=) I so, so miss getting out and away from the house and city to DO this. Two years of injury and the year before that we didn't ski much because Yuiro was recovering and Okaasan had just arrived.

AND. Okaasan's underpants. Which will shortly be launching their own blog. And book tour.

I came home all elated from the skiing and seized the day - or the moment - or in this case, the underpants.

Marched cheerfully into Okaasan's room with my laundry basket half-filled.
"Okaasan! Have you got any laundry for the machine?".
There was fumbling around and stalling, and excuses - I do it on a sunny day (yeah right), I prefer to do it by hand (yeah right)...there isn't much to do (yeah right)...I don't do laundry when there is an "R" in the month (maybe true...)...but I followed her into the Japanese-style room where she has two laundry baskets and stood over her - well hopefully beside her encouragingly - while she peered into the smelly depths and started picking out pants after pants and putting them into my basket....yippeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"It's hard to do all that laundry by hand isn't it? The machine is easy! Let me help you! In Hokkaido in winter it's hard isn't it! etc etc"
Then swept away to the laundry machine, with Okaasan trotting behind, and showed her how to put the powder in and switch it on.
Victory! A deep and satisfying victory.
Until now I've basically been too nervous of her reaction to do this. Too afraid of all the excuses. Easier to take the sneak-in-and-grab-it-in-her-absence route.

But. Time has come. I remember an old student of mine, whose mother suffers from dementia. He said that his wife was able to get his mother to do much more than he. "I think she's a little scared of my wife, because she has that hospital professional air about her - even though she's a dietician and not a geriatric nurse". He thought that his wife, as not direct family and with a no-nonsense approach got the old lady to do more in the area of personal hygiene etc.

I've always thought that if I get up enough confidence with Okaasan and vault over the language barrier, I can maybe get her to do things. Just sweep her along with it all.
And today I did it. Maybe by tonight she'll be giving me the scary treatment at dinner. But for now.....VICTORY!
About half the underpants from this week.....

And yesterday: we did another Very Boring Family Outing to a shopping mall. Walked about aimlessly, had a silent lunch ( we are one of those families you see eating out together and not talking) and then a bit more wandering for exercise...and then home. can see I am on a high here. Better cut back on the brandy....yesterday I made a traditional English Christmas cake stuffed full of fruits and brandy....from a not-so-traditional recipe off the BBC....I THINK it's turned out ok. This is actually for a class on Tuesday, for the class party, but the extra bits I cooked for us taste maybe I can recommend this easy Christmas cake recipe!


  1. Congratulations for both victories!

    The ski slope looked awesome and terrifying. You obviously are very, very good on the slopes. I would have ended up sliding to the bottom on my bum, with my skis pointing at my head.

    The laundry bit was a super duper victory. I totally get your pain. I feel your pain down to my toes. It has been almost a week since my dementia suffering FIL visited and I am still cleaning up stuff hidden in nooks and crannies in the guest bedroom. I have not plucked up the courage to enter the guest bathroom yet. Perhaps fortified with some of your coffee and cooking brandy I can enter armed with cleaning bushes and bleach.

    Is Christmas as big of a shopping frenzy in Japan? The mall in the pictures looks almost civilised and empty.

  2. Hi there in New York!
    Oh - and I feel YOUR did FIL cope in a unfamiliar place? I have thoughts about us going with Okaasan to a hotel sometime for a night...but I wonder how she would cope in a strange buuilding/room/routine etc.
    At least Okaasan is putting the dirty laundry IN laundry baskets in her room (apart from one or two yuk occasions), the clean stuff is strewn around her two rooms...
    Christmas in Japan is a frenzy - these mall pox were taken at 11 am cos we went early to get into the restaurant. The department stores ARE a frenzy...I don't go there unless a chopstick is pointed at my head!

  3. What a great post. Has just about propelled me off my chair and away from my non brandy laced coffee (but then it is only 9:45am) to attack the washing pile on the couch. Awesome about the skiing. Must have felt great to get back into it. Hope the knee is still OK today. Will you be getting okaasan to sign underpants at the book launch?

  4. I love Teine Highland. I went there two weekends ago and was so surprised at how much powder there was at so early in the season. I was literally swimming in the trees! My favourite place to go by far, and so close to Sapporo.

  5. Gaijinwife - Okaasan's underpants will be signing T-shirts at their own book launch.