Okaasan's younger brother has died.
The gentleman and his family who were the main focus of our visit to the hometown in November last year.
SO good that we went when we did.
That evening in the hotel he was well enough to be with us, talking and eating and drinking - meeting his older sister for what we and his family knew was probably the last time as he battled cancer.
So Dear Son - on a one day visit home in his crazy ski season - went into Okaasan's room to tell her yesterday.
She appeared to take the news well enough, looking many times at the party photograph she has by her sitting place. Mind you, she did comment: "I thought he'd got fat at that party, people shouldn't eat too too much, it's probably why he died, eating too much!".
Her answer for all of life's illness. If Dear Son dies in a bus crash in front of his mother, she will probably say: "ahh, he ate too much".
Anyway. All that work and stress to get Okaasan to go to Kawagoe with us in November. It was worth it. The family came together that evening and all met again. Kazuko and her brothers from those sooooo familiar stories I hear every evening at the kitchen table.
The stories are still there, although often mixed up. One evening this week Okaasan was gaily telling me that she herself didn't ski as a child, because she was always busy looking after the younger kids and helping with housework...but that her youngest sister Hiroko skied as a child near their home.
Hard to believe that in the early 1950s in the post-war Tokyo rural hinterland little Hiroko somehow had the family money and connections to go skiing...in a usually no snowy place. LATER in life, when she married and her daughter married an Austrian there was skiing...but that must have been the 1980s.....
But on the other hand - at the kitchen table Okaasan on another night stunned me with a comment of such complete clarity I almost didn't understand it.
"This plastic tablecloth comes from your family home, it's useful because you can wipe it clean".
At first I was confused. Japanese language doesn't have pronouns, so I thought she was talking about HER family home. But, no - she meant MY family home in England.
Just amazing. She remembered that I brought this back from the UK after my Dad died, and yes - this tablecloth has been part of my memories for years. We haven't talked about that at all recently, so this knowledge from six years ago is there and suddenly popped up - clear and correct.
Such is dementia.
Busy January is over. It was crazy. And the result was obvious when I ventured back to the gym after one month absence: I weigh 63 kg. Usually 60 something. 59 something If I am very good.
But 63 kg is waaaay too much.
Having to fight back on it. Have started a secret Facebook group of supportive friends to help me Get Back on Track by mid-March and my birthday.
So February. Got some new students. Got a narration job. Got editing jobs. Have just put my foot down over needing more pay for a particular job - got Couch Surfers coming for Sapporo Snow Festival.
The cat's ear has recovered. But it is bent back at the tip. Like a boxer's ear. He is back outside getting into trouble. He and his brother sometimes fight because they are bored with inside life.
They came to live with us six years ago today. I found them on a poster in a convenience store and couldn't chose which one - so brought home both...
Love them. Despite all the noise, fights, stress, vets bills....