I vaguely thought she was focusing more on washing underpants or her body - and forgetting her hair. Or that she was putting water on her hair and no shampoo.
The tiring family trip to the hot spring recently gave me a slightly better idea as I watched Okaasan befuddled by the shampoo/body soap plastic bottles with their push tops and nozzle dispensers.
Her confusion wasn't just WHICH was which, after all both bottles had Japanese writing on them. But the mechanism of the bottles appeared to be the problem.
We are used to Okaasan's daily confusions around the home: the central tap with lever swings to the left/right for hot/cold water; the electric kettle that she thinks every day is a constantly-hot water pot etc She sometimes uses the microwave...but forgets that she's put stuff in it...despite the "ping" telling her it's finished.
In our bathroom we have a blue plastic bottle, which we fill with shampoo. It has a push top and a nozzle. And quite a bit of English writing on it. But it does say "Shampoo" in Japanese.
Yujiro solved the riddle a week ago. He realised Okaasan didn't know that the hand soap bottle by the bathroom sink WAS soap. Or how to use it. He showed her. She couldn't get the idea of pushing the top down and holding her hand under the dispenser.
We realised she hasn't been washing her hair lately because as far as she could see: there wasn't any shampoo in the bathroom.
What form did shampoo take years and years ago in Japan? What form of container would Okaasan expect? I asked some of my older students: they said ordinary soap. Parents washed kids' hair with the same soap as for bodies...maybe.
Okaasan has a hiar salon appointment this week - I thought maybe we could get her to buy shampoo at the salon and maybe connect with that in future. Would that work? A squeeze tube maybe?
Yujiro solved it all today: he dug out our store of hotel and magazine sample shampoo sachets. You know - the stuff we all steal from hotels and in drugstores.
Bingo! Okaasan realised the sachet was shampoo - maybe because she used to travel to hotels a lot all over the world and must have used sachets many times in the past.
Wonder what else around the home will be confusing for her?
* haven't done anything about the possible stomach polyp yet. Too busy. Talking to people to find out about which hospital to go - somewhere that they will knock me senseless before they stuff tubes down my throat.
* But other health news is good : the knee and leg muscle rehabilitation has been a success. Much stronger now after weekly rehab/physio trips (it's called rehabili in Japan!). I am back to before condition or better. Just in time, as my friend has come back with her baby from a 3 week trip to her parents' home. I can be adoring aunty again.
* and cats....major jealousy/bullying going on between Chichi and Popo. Tonight they finally sat down near eachother. The plastic collar scares Chichi and he stayed out 2 nights, while we had to close all the windows and doors to keep his injured brother in.
Oh...and...and...Obama won again!!! YEAH!!!!! Loved the BBC poll which found that around the world...only Pakistan would support a Romney win. Thank goodness Americans voted for the right guy.