Here we are again - heading into O-shogatsu. That most Japanese of times of the year. In which I attempt to give an old lady a traditional experience, while her family are busy elsewhere.
Me and Okaasan.
Well, maybe Dear Son might make a guest appearance. January 1st? Maybe.
Today was a busy day for Okaasan.
Partially because I felt guilty after a French course dinner with old colleagues, and then a Thai lunch with a friend. And a lovely morning skiing locally.
Time to put in some Okaasan service.
First it was bath time.
Then it was hair drying and brushing time! She let me! In between trying to pick up bits of trash off the carpet....
Then it was lunch.
Then I managed to get in and vacuum her room.
Then get dressed and car ride to the supermarket.
New Year food shopping.
There is still one more day, so I decided to see what she wanted to buy, and then buy what else we need tomorrow.
First the supermarket bakery.....where Okaasan honed in on a tray piled high with chocolate scones. I was glancing around for the tray and tongs that customers use in a Japanese bakery to take your selection.
Glanced back and found Okaasan grasping a chocolate scone in her hand and peering at it closely....waving it at me: "Look! this is good!"
Shop staff far right having a fit at the sight of a customer handling food!!!
I'm bowing and apologizing, and running round a table of pizza slices to grab the tray and tongs - and get the scone OUT of Okaasan's hands and onto the tray.
Then we set off round the supermarket....
She pushed the trolley. Chose some fruit, some fish paste roll, some sweet rice drink and a tray of New Year sweets.
That was it.
No interest in the noodles, no interest in the traditional vegetables or the rice cake....nothing. Really amazing. In past years I can remember dissuading her (or secretly grabbing stuff out of the trolley and reshelving it) from stocking up to cook and feed a crowd of guests. Or the year I had Japanese cooking lessons and made a load of stuff, and then she went out on December 31st and bought more....This year, no interest. A few bits.
Quite a change. Really. More like shopping with a child, who only sees what they want to eat. Sweet stuff, fish paste and rice drink. It was easy.
Okaasan waited patiently on a chair while I packed up the shopping, and then came back to the car willingly...with just a little pause near the bakery and the chocolate scones...
Phew. No piles of strange vegetables to prepare, cut and cook with soy sauce :-)
I leave you with this...at that most traditional time of year...the bakery has created a bread tribute to the animal character of 2017..