Sunday, 30 December 2012

Oyomesan's New Year Survival Guide

So, you are home a deux for New Year with your demented mother-in-law.

What's a woman to do?

First you need:

A whole LOT of New Year food ingredients from the supermarket.
Plus: recent cooking lessons in the art of creating traditional Japanese dishes.
Note - you should also buy some New Year flowers for the mother-in-law to show off her once-upon-a-time high level ikebana skills.
But for now she's lost her special flower scissors...and she's forgotten about it.
And then. You will need:

A very cute blue rented car - to get you to the above supermarket, to various ski resorts, out with Friend and Baby, and to ferry Okaasan around and for you to basically escape.

And then, you will need:

Lots of Christmas delicious stuff under the rubber plant...chocolates, cakes, a mini-Christmas Pud, a bottle of sparkling wine, marshmallows in the shape of snowmen....

And then you are set.

Cute Cats - check.
Word games on the computer - check.
Tv - check.
Skis at the ready in the hall - check.
Business accounts since November to input to the computer. Bugger.
Two narration jobs the first working week back in January. Bugger.
New classes to prep. Bugger.

And you are ready.....for a New Year holiday without the other half and left alone with his mother.

Can't believe it really! He's always been around - late - but around, to advice on what food goes with what food and when it is served. New Year is a big deal in Japan. I've had enough years to practice, Now I have to give Okaasan a Happy New Year......

Today I stayed home and was a perfect Oyomesan. I hardly spend whole days at home. So...

I got her prepped up for a bath in the morning, went shopping for all the food haul, gave her lunch and chat about flower arranging, washed up the lunch things; got Okaasan ready to go out (it's getting harder and harder for her to do this); took her to the station, waved her off, cleaned her room, washed her underwear, threw out papers and a rotting pear and old sushi box; made the chicken and veggies stewed thing I learned from the cooking teacher, tracked Okaasan on the GPS and picked her up at 5.30 pm by car from the station, cooked dinner, gave it to her.....and broke open some chocolate coins with a beer and the rerun of the London Olympics on Tv....

All in a day's Oyomesan work.

Umani - chicken and veggies all stewed with soy sauce and sugar...

* Okaasan is definately getting worse at prepping to go out. The endless checking and rechecking for keys/phone/subway card/umbrella/bag/shopping bag/scarf.
She was setting out in a T-shirt and a cardigan, until I got her into a long sleeved heat-tech shirt and a coat...and then she later came home...without the shopping bag. So another umbrella and a pair of gloves has been lost... She never used to be so bad at getting dressed and getting her stuff together. Now, it's a really hard task for her.

Haahhhh..... and so tomorrow is the end of 2012......another year of Oyomesanning.

Friend with Baby said the other day that she has an awful vision of the future: that Dear Son will be paralysed or dead in a ski accident and I will be left looking after Okaasan alone.
No way. It isn't going to happen.
I think - hope - I am getting better at caring for this old lady, making sure her days are familiar and safe.
But no - if he isn't around, I'll be phoning the Useless Older Brother in Saitama and the Uncle to say: "She's on an airplane to you soon, you should prepare a living situation for her."

Aghhhh.....winter holidays 2012-13.....Okaasan and Me.



  1. Peeps!!!! My American Couch Surfer gave them to me for Christmas - along with instructions how to explode them in a microwave...ever tried that? I was going to melt them in hot milk...