Sunday, 20 October 2013

Winter Coat Shopping

Oh. I hate shopping.
Walking round a department store looking at stuff.
Hate shopping.
Specially with Okaasan.

But. We had to do it. Shortly after 9 am we were in the car and off downtown as a family to go hunt down a winter coat for Okaasan. She was so chatty in the car to me, I think she thought it was the day service car and driver - so she chatted away about her husband and his golf playing. Kind of unusual to chat so much to me!

Got to the store too early and had to wait 15 minutes for the doors to open, get to the 5th floor and Okaasan suddenly says she wants to drink a coffee, so she and I sit down while Dear Son goes and buys can...and THEN she needs the toilet, so he takes her off for that and I sit deleting old messages on my mobile phone.

Finally. At 10.30 am?
We are ready to start shopping. Wandering round the designer shops of the store. Trying to get Okaasan interested in a coat. 
This? no. This? no This? no.....
Trying to get her to say what she wants: a red or pinkish half length coat, wool?, with a certain collar, and slightly shaped at the waist etc etc etc. Okaasan has a very hunched back. I think it's why the 5 years ago coat split at arm seam.

Aghhhhhh. That'll be my hell, if I'm not a good person in this life. I'll be doomed eternally to following Okaasan round a department store of coats.

At one point she doubled back and started retracing her steps.
"You've looked there already!" I gasp.
"No, no, this is how you shop - you go and look again and see if you missed anything...!"

"No, no - I don't need a thick coat because the car always comes for me for day care. I don't walk outside. .....Sapporo isn't so cold...."


But. Miracles.
After 30 mins of wandering I spotted a reddish coat and a friendly saleswoman. We got Okaasan into  that shop to try it on and finally Dear Son and I sat at the counter while the whole sales routine chat started. Went on for another 30 minutes.
But the best saleswoman. So, so patient....trying endless variations and suggestions.
There was a warm red cardigan too, which was also on my Must Buy list, because Okaasan only has thin little cardigans and shirts suitable for the Tokyo area in winter.

Then Dear Son glanced at the price tags....
Y150,000 for the coat! That's over $1,000. And the cashmere cardigan? Y100,000......
Oh My God.
But. Okaasan was slowly edging towards agreeing to buy the things. And we certainly didn't want to grow any older by going to yet another

I spirited her away to the toilets and a seat near the escalator while Dear Son paid (and said "no" to the vastly expensive scarf that the saleswoman was also promoting to Okaasan)...and we went off to lunch. Exhausted.

After lunch Dear Son went to get the coat and cardigan and I took Okaasan to the nearest toilets. I waited for her outside on some seats. After a few minutes she came and collapsed on the next seat.
"Tired. My legs are tired. I need to sit down......(five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten)....are there any toilets near here? I need a toilet?"
"You just went in there - look - 30 seconds ago you came back from there...didn't you go?"
"I don't know. Did I?"
"I don't know, I took you to the door..."


But. Mission a success. If she wears the coat that is. We sure hope so.

It's a huge amount of money. My monthly salary is about Y250, Y250,000 on a coat and a cardigan is a crazy amount. It's an air ticket to Brazil to see the soccer world cup.

"I don't think I've paid that much money over the past 20 years for ALL my clothes!" Dear Son muttered to me as we waited for Okaasan and another toilet stop.
He's loaned money to Useless Older Sibling in the past year, and it hasn't been paid back yet....I guess we'll be borrowing some of my money....

"Can I have the cashmere cardigan when she dies?" I mutter back.

We head home for well-earned beers, TV watching and family duty done.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing. How exhausting for you all but so glad that you found a coat she likes and that she had a good experiance with the clerk. Make sure you save the bag that the coat came in, in case you have to premote it to her. (so lovely, so elegant, so expensive..) Nancy in tokyo

  2. Good idea! And yes, she likes it...them. Yesterday she went out for a late afternoon walk and wore both of them :-) And walked too far and had to be brought home by car again. ;-(

  3. "Can I have the cashmere cardigan when she dies?"

    How can you white people be so cruel? You do what is your responsibility to, and props to that, but then you destroy it with sch callousness and hard-heartedness, even abuse, of the elderly....It's little wonder white nurses are the utterly worst and treat patients so poorly.

    Why *are* you whites just so bloody cruel?

    1. "WE" whites aren't cruel...bloody or otherwise...we have a sense of humor about the trials of life and write about it with irony. What you seem to think of as callousness in my blog is humor. Irony. Comedy. I think it is interesting that you don't understand that, because your English seems high level with use of the phrase "and props to that". The worst person in this old lady's life is the oldest son, a "yellow" person in your out-of-date thinking - he doesn't care for her, telephone her, come and see her, send her a New Year card,....nothing, nothing, nothing. I think in "yellow" people's culture that is a traditional thing, older sons caring for their parents. But what do I know...I'm just a "white" person.

  4. Shonan LOvE - it's a joke, it's a's a joke. Something called black humor, irony. :-) Although you know, when people die - the family usually DO look at any of the clothes and try to see if they can continue wearing them. My father died 4 years ago and I wear his shirt, his coat and his socks, I have my step-mother's blouse, skirt, bag and sweater. That's the reality of someone go thru their clothes and choose something, the rest you give to the second hand shop, or put in the trash box. Has nobody in your family died? My partner's mother is 83 years old. She will die. Maybe 5 year. Maybe 10 - and yes, I will get some of her clothes. A cardigan costing $1,000 dollars should NOT go into the trash bag!!! That would be an awful waste of money. The callousness and hard-heartedness you read in this blog is irony and humor. I protect and care for and worry about Okaasan on a daily basis. So don't worry. I'm offended that you think skin color has anything to do with it. Shame on YOU.

  5. I would have made the same joke, guess its because I'm a fellow "white devil". ;) As someone who has lost a parent, I know its necessary to joke and laugh in order to keep moving through difficult times. its not usual to live with a older parent and be a full time caregiver, and you're doing it everyday. Ignore the racist nay-sayers with nothing better to do with their time.

    xo Laura in America