Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Winter Week 1

Truckin' into the first full week of Winter Care on Okaasan and Me.

All going well.
The snow arrived - not a lot at the moment, maybe 5 cm, so the roads are icy and dangerous.
NOT the conditions for Okaasan to go walking. Luckily though, she understands that and doesn't seem to be keen to go out at all. I come home and she has switched on the porch light, closed her room curtains and has settled in for the evening.

A year or two ago I'd often come home about 5 pm and Okaasan would then start stirring to go out - of course it was far too dark/cold/icy - but this year she is less interested, maybe less confident, about going out for walks alone. So she'll be down to the twice a week outings: with day care helper on Wednesdays and me on the weekends.
( And no, I haven't forgotten about the Nishi-guru exercise DVD looping idea - just haven't had the time to set it up...)

It's good that Okaasan isn't wanting to go out alone. Before Dear Son left for ski work last week he and I talked about whether I should be hiding Okaasan's shoes to prevent her from trying to leave the house...but it seems there is no need because she is staying put in front of the TV.

This week?

I had Japanese test on Sunday afternoon. With hundreds of eager young Chinese students. Waaay above my level. Level 3. I knew it, and from the very first page of questions it was clear. So I just relaxed and enjoyed ticking random circles on the answer sheet...picking my way thru the stuff I could do as a language practice.
Listening section no problem. Reading and grammar - whooooaaaa!!!
It's ok. I haven't studied hard at all this autumn. So now I know what Level 3 demands. Maybe I'll try next year.

If there was a test in practical language ability I'd ace it. In the past few weeks I've done the following in Japanese:

* entertained and managed the life of an elderly lady.
* interviewed and arranged classes for a prospective student
* negotiated and booked a movie theater for a documentary screening next year (more on THAT later)
* given the Japanese language test room staff a blasting for being noisy during the first part of the test...

Yes. The test staff. They were tramping up and down the classroom during the first 15 mins of the grammar section - shuffling papers, clattering pens on the table and generally failing to Keep Quiet in the Test Room. So, in the break time - I complained to them. In perfectly ungrammatical, but getting-the-message-across Japanese!!
Cos I am bossy. Sadly, got that trait from my mother...

Okaasan and me.
Doing fine.
She had lunch box deliveries. Dinner with me on Sunday and Monday night. A bath on Sunday.
Dinner chat about Kyoto and wartime food. If students give me some Japanese snacks as souvenirs from a trip, I leave them on the kitchen table because then I can use them as a prop to get Okaasan talking about the place they come from.

Yesterday I had my first year end party with students. A friend came in to feed the cats in the evening. She could access the cats upstairs without disturbing Okaasan downstairs.

I left curry in a pan on the cooker. With a box of pre-cooked rice. As I was leaving the house at 10 am I wasn't sure that the food would keep hot in the food flasks until 6 or 7 pm.
So, somehow Okaasan would have to heat it up herself. Her ability on heating up food is hit and miss: sometimes ok, sometimes half heated, sometimes the food is forgotten in the microwave within a minute or two of her putting it there.

At 6 pm I found a quiet spot near the shoe lockers of the party restaurant to call Okaasan and tell her that I was out - so sorry etc - your dinner - DS's famous home made curry and rice - is on the cooker. Sorry. See you later.

At 7 pm I escaped the party again and by the shoe boxes checked in with Okaasan...
Dinner? No, I didn't eat dinner. I was watching Tv....oh...wait a moment...what's this...oh...curry...yes, I ate it is...

I got home just after 10 pm and could smell the burned saucepans from the entrance hall. Two burned pans. She'd cooked rice with water in one pan. And next to her sleeping form I spotted the other pan: burned curry and a bowl of half eaten curry.

Oh well. She ate something. For one night it is ok. Six years ago, when DS rescued Okaasan from her chaotic home in the Tokyo suburbs, he found many burned pans in her kitchen. She really can't do cooking or reheating. She knows there is a microwave and sometimes uses it...or pans, and burns the food. That's why we bought a cooker that cuts out when the heat gets too hot, or if the pan is not moved for an hour.

Sigh. Oh well. 
Time to start pan scrubbing.

But today! Day care day!!! Yippeee!!!
Now I only have to worry about leaving my kitchen in clean enough state that the helper lady isn't shocked about my housekeeping level.


  1. Hello!
    Sounds like things are ticking along like normal - a good thing, I suppose? Glad she isn't raring to go out in the evenings any more.. definitely not what you want an old lady alone doing.

    I thought of you (sorry it seems weird since you have no idea who I am! lol. But I sort of feel like I do know you. (Hope that's not too creepy..)) a week or so ago because I saw on the news Sapporo is going to put a bid forward for the 2026 winter Olympics! I can just imagine how exciting that would be for you :b

    Keep us updated on the Nishi-sensei saga. I'm really curious how she would react... lol. I wonder if she would get up and join in.
    Anyway, おつかれさま on the JLPT. I think you should get a pass just based on all the amazing things you manage to get planned/do here, I'm always surprised by all the stuff you juggle in your life! Obviously, taking care of Okaasan but also, movie screenings and such?! Your Japanese can't be too bad if you can manage all that :)


  2. juggle - that IS the word! Boyfriend is always telling me: you do too many things at the same time. True. I do. And I even manage to achieve some of them! don't worry about thinking of me - not creepy at all - as long as it is positive thinking :-) Yup Sapporo and the Olympics...but probably not much real chance.

  3. I have a Zojirushi Thermal Lunch Box that holds heat for approx. 6 hours. (pretty similar to this one -

    That could make your life easier (and save you a lot of elbow grease).


    1. ahHa! Looks interesting....we bought these food flasks a year or two ago, and I thought they were ok..but I notice that Okaasan is sometimes heating/trying to heat the food that was inside...I keep meaning to test it myself and see how hot it is. Should do it. Or buy better one . You are right...