Sunday, 3 January 2016

Byeeeee 2015!

**** Old/New blog - had a major computer crash while writing this on Dec. 31st. Obviously too exciting for the Internets. Have now rescued it on my office laptop.

Done another one - another year!!

Living with my mother in law - living with dementia - living  with two languages in the kitchen.

Living.

Getting calmer.

December was just non-stop - both work and play. By end of year I was knackered. I enjoyed a lot of it: two jazz concerts, a rock concert, two parties with friends, food and drink....and ...and...but the downside - as always - is trying to meet all the demands of two festivals.
The Christmas - increasingly celebrated in a commercial way in Japan, and then the Japanese New Year, with cards to be designed, written and sent - and foods.....this year foods to be bought.
I am not going to make anything traditional this year.

Okaasan continues fine.

I finally did give her a bath on my own. Thought: if I can't do THAT, I really am failing. Even if she hits me, I can lift her out of the bath. But it wasn't necessary this time: instead I went in several times and managed to stay calm and friendly while suggesting how she should move her body and legs and hands so that she could turn in the tub and pull herself upright.
But she did hang onto the bath handles for a good 20 minutes - shouting "I'm ok!" to my thru-the-half-open-door questions. She held onto the handles and stared at the bathroom ceiling as if waiting to see how she would get out.

Dear Son came home for two days between Christmas and New Year. We skied with old friends together on one day, and the other precious time was taken up with all the STUFF that has to be done - fix the car headlight, do the new year cards, clean, laundry, shop, arrange things.
We also ate a soba noodles dinner with Okaasan at home to give her the New Year feeling.

Yesterday was the last Day Service visit of the year.
A bit silly as we were both home. But we did't cancel, so the lady came and brightly told Okaasan that she was going to the supermarket "for walking! It's good exercise!". Okaasan obediently put a sweater on over her pajamas and off they went. I took them to Seiyu by car and voiced strict instructions that we didn't need any MORE mochi-rice cake for a Happy New Year. They came home 40 mins later by taxi.

And so. Another Japanese New Year with Okaasan, while her two sons are away. One is in Saitama drinking himself to an early death alone in the family home. The other is out working at a ski resort and will be home next week.

Okaasan and Me - our New Years can be summed up in these two pictures:

Top - me roaring with laughter with lots of ladylike nostril showing...skiing.

Bottom - Okaasan ate ALL of this New Year food for lunch on January 1st! A two person box set, I left for her - thinking she could pick at it daytime and then we'd finish it together later...ALL GONE when I came home from laughing like a pig.



Okaasan got a few New Year cards from the relatives we visited in Kawagoe. She held onto them and studied them for hours. Most miffed that on one of them the kanji in DS's name is wrong. It's pretty rude to get that wrong on a greeting card....she isn't happy.
But yesterday, I did my duty and took her out for ramen lunch and a walk round a big shopping center. I encouraged her to buy some cards - I might get her into writing a message and sending them.
As we shopped and walked in the mall I noticed how bad she is at paying for stuff now - standing hunched at the cash desk while she hunts thru her bag for her wallet. Bringing out other little bags and purses - while the staff wait patiently. Then not entirely sure how many of the coins should be handed over, and then all confused with hands full of receipt, change, bought item and purse....

Aeon staff in Nishioka, Sapporo. Thankyou for your patience.
Then we walked several rounds of the supermarket, and when I realised she was increasingly holding onto display shelves in exhaustion I steered her back to the car and home.
But she is fine. Even did some osouji - big cleaning for New Year! Suddenly Dec. 31st morning she started cleaning her kotatsu table top....amazing. There IS a table surface there. It is good that from TV and the calendar, she understood that it was New Year and that cleaning was the important thing to do.


So. Off we go into 2016!
Thankyou all for reading this. I am surprised that so many of you continue, and also that new readers come and stay. Some people I know, many I don't. And on the blog count I can't be sure who is a Nigerian Prince or a Russian SpyBot. 
But thankyou all for sharing this experience with me.



15 comments:

  1. Happy New Year to the three of you!

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    1. Onwards!!! Marching. Shuffling....

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  2. Thank you for sharing your life experiences with us.

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    1. Thankyou for reading. Will try to make at least some of it interesting.

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  3. Hello Amanda. Happy New Year. I've been reading your blog for many years now, even going back to read from the beginning when I first found it. Always just in my blog reader, though, but I have decided to click through and comment occasionally and let you know that someone else is out there, cheering you on. Ganbare!

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    1. Thankyou!! Ganbaremasu! And Okaasan too. She gamely puts up with my pretty confusing Japanese, and the winter conditions here. Can't be easy. You were in at the start - the fights and the peeing in trash boxes? Congratulations!

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  4. This will be my first comment, though I've been following you for a while with sympathy and fascination, horror and joy. You inspire me. Just so you know I'm not a bot or a scammer. :)

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    1. Hi Debbie - thankyou! I know there are lurkers...I even met one on the Sapporo subway once - when the lady sitting next to me said "are you Oyomesan on the blog Okaasan and Me?".....it was a weird moment.

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  5. Happy new year! Glad you got time to enjoy the snow!

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  6. Yo wtf I'm half Nigerian prince half, Russian spybot. I like your blog. Don't discriminate man. That's just unkind.

    Alays glad to see Okaasan doing well and wishing her and you two well in the new year.

    PS: Don't watch 'The Forest'. I just walked out after ten minutes in, the audience is treated to 3 or 4 cringeworthy 'weird Japan' tropes.

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    1. wow!! half...what???? !!!! Welcome! no discrimination here :-)

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  7. PS - That was pretty awesome about the person on the Sapporo train.

    I was once watching an Amuro Namie video on my PSP on a train in Canada ('Speed Star'). Guy next to me nudges me, points excitedly to his iPod and then to my PSP. He's listening to the same JPOP train. In 2005, in the middle of the redneck hinterland. What are the odds...

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    1. Yup.....odd...odder...the oddest. You never know what the people sitting next to you are doing...thinking.

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  8. Happy New Year from an ordinary person in Connecticut, USA! I'm not a robot and I enjoy reading your blog and learning about life in Japan!

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    1. You too? An ordinary human being.....gosh! Thankyou for reading. Will try to include more Japan-things this year!

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