Francesca - you are our saviour!
Which will it be?
Acting on blog reader Francesca's suggestions in the comments on my last post...I found myself midweek in a bookshop clutching a printout from Amazon Japan of books by or about the Nishi Katsuzo system of health and happiness.
Okaasan's health guru.
40 years ago a school teacher told Okaasan about this man Nishi-sensei, who was popular in the 1920s and 30s in Japan for his ideas about health.
Okaasan went to a training school for lectures about this health system in the 1950s/60s and absolutely believes this is the secret to health.
Her huge negativity towards Western medicine are due to this. Part of his story is that he was a sick child and doctors came and looked at him and couldn't make him healthy. By his own study and methods he became stronger and lived a long life.
Much of what Nishi recommended is now widely accepted as beneficial - drinking 2 liters of water, the exercises etc - at the time it was unusual.
I've been pretty negative about Nishi's ideas.
Well, because Okaasan has boiled his beliefs down to an aggressive: I can exercise myself in my room; I don't need anyone's help; I don't need a doctor/hospital; I won't eat: I know best mantra.
And then she stays on the carpet for days moaning and peeing.
It is hard NOT to feel negative about Mr. Nishi.
As Francesca points out - if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Or at least, show some interest and use it to help.
If I show an interest in Mr Nishi and get Okaasan to think about it all and show more active involvement in her body and health - just maybe we may avoid the moaning and peeing...more.
So. I'm in the bookshop.
Where - to my surprise - there is a Nishi System section on the health shelves! A section of 5 books, written by him or his followers. There was even a manga :-) AND a DVD of the exercises!
With the staff help I decided to get this book.
I'll give it to Okaasan as a present and encourage her to do the exercises. She tells day care people etc that she does these exercises every day - but the reality is that she doesn't. About once a month we see she is on the carpet with her feet and arms in the air, shaking her hands etc - but it isn't a daily exercise.
Could we even get a DVD player set up and set her a regular Exercise Time every day? A Japanese, old lady version of a Jane Fonda workout? Headband and leotard?
Let's make a start...Francesca...your idea is going into action :-)
This blog has just gone Reader Interactive.
Ellie, the Patron Saint of Foreign Women in Japan.
The daily TV drama about the Scottish woman who married the founder of Japanese whisky in the 1920s. She is blonde, she is cute, ever-ever loving and she struggles so beautifully with the rice cooking, the language and the nuttiness of Japanese life.
All of us foreign women in Japan are in awe of Ellie's strength and overall cuteness.
Heavy sarcasm intended.
It's a Japanese makeover of a real person into an idealized foreigner. Cute and harmless.
Last week Okaasan was watching the drama while I cooked her lunch.
She came into the kitchen.
"That's an interesting drama, isn't it" I commented.
"Yes. You know, in those days it was very hard to be a foreign daughter-in-law..."
"Yes, it's pretty hard now too! "I replied.
Okaasan laughed and laughed and laughed. Me too.
"Now when I have stress from cooking Japanese food for you and DS, I can go to Susukino and meet foreign friends and drink alcohol and complain. Poor Ellie couldn't, there were so few foreigners in Japan at that time. It was harder!"
Okaasan laughed. She loved it.
Oh Ellie. All she needed was a computer and a blog. Her life would have been so much easier.