Sunday, 16 December 2012

Weekend of changed plans...


Hmmm....if Japan allowed foreigners to vote if you've lived here 20 years and paid taxes to support the country - this is the bunch of people I could have chosen from today.

Hmmm....spoiled for choice really. An alien in a suit doing a fairly good job of being humanoid, three men in suits with glasses and a woman who likes pink.

Today I reached new heights of Oyomesan duty by taking Okaasan to exercise her democratic right and vote at the local elementray school.
In the mornng she and I agreed that it was snowy and not a good idea to go. By lunchtime the sunshine was out and she was chomping at the bit - incongrously recently, she puts on her hat and T-shirt, and is still wearing her pajama bottoms in the kitchen. It's quite a sight.

I was home for the day. Another snow storm this morning. Had to put off the sking...again. A little disappointed, but actually - time at home was good too after last week.

So I cleared snow all morning. And celebrated by crafting a snow monster cat in the garden.
 At night he'll have a candle in his big mouth...his eyebrows are dried lavender. Maybe at night he'll sneak round the corner to the neighbor's monster.
Cooked lunch for Okaasan and ate it with her. She was actually pretty lucid and we chatted about food and names and her husband who never cooked.
After lunch, we wrapped up and set out together to the voting station. Only 10 mins walk from the house, but took us about 25 mins. Okaasan VERY slow and cautious, shuffling along. I took her hand and guided her. Her eyesight is good, but she said that she can't make out the snow surface and its bumps.
"Yujiro will be angry if I fall down and break something" she said several times.
I was thinking: "he'll be angry with ME too, if you fall down and break something, on my watch".

Not allowed to photograph IN the hall...cos???
Finally got to the school. I gave Okaasan her voting card ftom the safety of my handbag and watched her shuffle off across the school gym hall to tables, desks, boxes and cubby holes.  Okaasan took ages. In Japan you have to write the name of the candidate yourself, I wondered if she knew who it was....

Helpful cartoons about the voting process.

After voting, I'd hoped to take Okaasan to the supermarket and maybe put her on a subway downtown. Or take her home.
She had different ideas. Plans to go to Macdonalds and drink coffee.
I actually had shopping and cooking to do for the local teachers' association xmas pot luck party, so I sent her off alone with repeated instructions to come home by taxi. The pavements on the main roads are okayish, the side roads a nightmare...but of course going by bus from your doorstep to a nice big day service center once a week to exercise inside somehow doesn't seem like a good idea.....
"I can walk on snowy streets, and I WILL!"

I rushed home to cook. Washed and ironed some of Okaasan's shirts and added to her clothes rail two more long sleeved pink shirts I bought for her recently. She has very few long-sleeved shirts. Her response recently to me cutting out the ripped lining of her fave old cardigan (she thinks she did it herself) had given me the courage to intervene more about adding new, essential clothes to her rail.
Recently I've added black trousers, and now two shirts - the trousers she just wears and never commented on where they came from. I'm hoping the shirts too.
Going shopping with Okaasan is a HUGE hassle, because she chooses what she likes...not what she needs in cold snowy Sapporo. If I can stealth shop for her it'll be easier.

Using the GPS I kept an eye on her. I could see when she left Macdonalds and tried to walk up the main street home.
Luckily the Friend coming to the teachers' party with me lives nearby, so we managed to cordinate her coming to me in a taxi with also bringing Okaasan home in a taxi.
Then I left dinner for Okaasan and escaped to this...
YUM! That's what I call a xmas dinner !!!

And so, another weekend. Saturday was ok - I worked in the morning at a seminar for local tourism. Then lunched with some friends, and then home to do student Christmas cards...and clear more snow. And at 6 pm one cat came home flecked with blood from another had to go to the vets in a taxi...luckily no stitches this time. But he's in a plastic collar AGAIN. Had to cancel my going out to party plans to stay home and check he didn't get stuck in a narrow place...

I've recovered some of my energy from the madness of Friday. I think.
Onwards into another week. One more full week to go...and then a few days...almost holidays...
Dear Son will be home mid-week. It will be good to be two again.
Tomorrow is just an ordinary Monday for Okaasan now. The day service was cancelled. The manager man called Yujiro Friday night. So, I'll just leave Okaasan lunch as usual and let her veg out by the Tv all day.
Seeing her walk on the snowy streets today showed me yet again, she just CAN'T go out walking easily from here. Even on a sunny day with slightly wet snow. It took all her focus to stay upright and safe.




  1. I am just soooo glad election is over. I can't stand the loud speakers going off at 8am everyday. Don't tell realize most white collars have already left their homes. Go camp out at the train stations instead and babies are still asleep?

  2. I am going to read your blog very carefully from now on. The decision was just made yesterday, to build MIL a suite added on to our house and have her live with us. After the death of my fatherinlaw, it is becoming increasingly obvious that she can no longer live alone. I might soon change the tone of my blog :)

  3. Hi - Another Kiran - good luck!!! One thing to get set up right away in the shared living space is that she is happy with you going into her space, and that you can access it even when she is out. The ideal is that you do all sorts of home necessary stuff together - let's do it/help - but the reality is often you can do it quicker and more efficiently, while you don't touch the very personal space items - things around the room are ok...I hardly move anything on Okaasan's table, but the clothes and stuff all over the room I try to keep under control. Oh - good LUCK!!!

  4. I too am relieved the election is over. It looks so dangerous for old people walking where you live. I hope Okaasan will be safe. I hope this week goes well for you.