Here comes New Year! Japanese style.................
Suddenly, over one weekend, Japan changes all the decorations to do with the frivolity of a foreign festival - Christmas - and gets back to its roots with twisted straw, blossoms, cranes and little bits of colored paper - Oshogatsu, or New Year.
Dear Son continues to be home for a few evenings - just wonderful!
Yesterday I took Okaasan shopping to the local big shop. We both had a trolley and she followed me round the store...like a child given a trolley to push to help-mom-with-shopping.
But this "child" selected the usual: fish paste sausages, aloe yogurts and various New Year foods. She was easier to control than I expected because she kept asking me: "do we have this at home already?"....so I could say "yes" to things I could never see us wanting or eating.
She insisted we walked round a certain route in the supermarket - I always go here - and took ages packing the things she had bought into a bag. Good brain exercise.
She bought this stuff - brightly colored sweet bean paste animals, two kinds of fish paste and a small tray of 4 traditional foods.
And a pine branch and flower display for the front hall.
So, SO luckily she didn't set off on buying the ingredients to make any traditional foods...as she did a few years ago. I have bought a pre-cooked dish, and that will all be enough for her and me for the holidays. DS leaves tomorrow.
After the shopping I suggested she have a coffee at MacDonalds, while I go to the classroom and do some cleaning. As she hadn't bought her handbag I gave her some money at the Macdonalds entrance door and left her for 30 mins...
Came back and found Okaasan sitting with an empty table. Looking slightly embarrassed.
"I couldn't buy any coffee! I don't have any money!"
In the 10 steps between the door and the counter she'd forgotten that she had money...
So, I showed her the money that was in her coat pocket and let her buy me a coffee.
Interesting to watch Okaasan order: she stood right behind the customer in front, right up behind them in a unnatural invasion of personal space. She only wanted a coffee. But when she looked at the counter menu card with all its confusing options her eyes went straight to the top right (reading starting place for Japanese) - which was the Chicken McNuggets and Coffee set. And that is what she ordered...as always.
The sweet staff member offered Okaasan the choices of dips and smiled at me in a familiar way. People are kind - knowing the regular customer and acknowledging the family member.
So we sat in a noisy-for the-holidays Macdonalds and drank our coffees, shared the minced-in-China chicken nuggets and chatted about the weather, the coffee, the baby nearby...
And finally home.
Home for the holidays.
I have house cleaning and accounts to do. I have a book to edit. I have cats to play with. Chocolate to eat. And ski. And friend.
And Okaasan and Me.
2015. Bring it ON!