Sunday, 3 August 2014

84 and going strong

Okaasan is 84 years old this week.
And going strong.

We did a Family Day Out yesterday to celebrate her birthday: booked into a smart hotel in Jozankei village, near Sapporo. Onsen and buffet lunch, harp concert in the hotel lobby. Lots of nice hotel staff bowing and smiling.
The Day Visitor plan was onsen OR lunch from 11.30 am or 1 pm. We chose onsen first, then relaxed lunch till 3 pm.
Gorgeous hotel!
Look at this place - all leaf motif and big windows. Green carpet area to kick off your shoes in the lobby.

And outside spa area with trees...and bugs...and calm.

We think Okaasan enjoyed it. Maybe.
She told us several times that her grand-mother had come to Jozankei many times and was very healthy...and lived to be 100 years old...or 93 years old (the age changed in different tellings).
"So I have long living genes, I will live to be 100!"

I was on full duty for the onsen - guiding Okaasan round the confusions of a new space, with lockers and keys, taps and towels, washing areas and choices of body/hair washing liquids. She could get into the baths ok, but once in there it seemed that the water/light was confusing and she couldn't tell what was a  rock and what was flat - she waved her legs around testing the surface several times. And couldn't get out and stand up - I brought a chair to the bath steps to give her extra support.
Maybe she enjoyed it? She sat in the water of the outside bath for a while. I sat with her a bit and then left her alone to enjoy the quiet time.
After that steered her thru the drying area, the hair dryers, the face cream, the drinking water etc etc

The strangest moment was just after she and I had walked into the women's changing rooms. It was all brown walls and carpeting, with wooden lockers and keys for personal effects and clothes. Usually onsen and public baths have baskets for clothing.
Another woman was standing, fully dressed near the lockers waiting for a family member who was in the toilet.
We sat down on a small sofa opposite the wooden lockers.

We put our towels in the lockers. I put my glasses and watch inside.

Okaasan looked around the room.

"Where is this? What do we do next?"

"????It's an onsen.We...err..we err...we are here to enjoy onsen!"

I couldn't momentarily think of the Japanese words for "changing room" or "take off clothes". 
So I did it. Hitched up my dress and took off my underwear.
Okaasaan pretty surprised! As you would be!

I guess she wasn't holding in her mind what this building was, and what we had come here to do. And the room looked like a living room. Not a tiled area entrance to a bathing place, no baskets for clothes and naked people.
It was the first time, I think, that I've glimpsed into Okaasan's confusion about place and why she is there.

After Onsen Duty I handed over responsibility to Dear Son to be on Hotel Buffet Duty for his mum.
She can't look at a buffet and remember what foods she has seen and choose them. It was best to walk round with her and put foods on the plate for her.
He did his best to find things she would like, jumping up and down constantly to find things.
We ate loads. Excellent buffet. I had three large portions of tiramisu pudding....

It was a lovely hotel. We enjoyed it. Maybe Okaasan enjoyed it.
Drove home thru a country road and stopped off to buy plums at a farm. Got home late afternoon.


3 hours later Okaasan was ready for more food for dinner! 
She eats loads. She probably will live to be 100...or 93....

Won't that be nice?

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