Monday, 8 October 2018


Or...long time no see :-)

Thanks to Kentucky Lady for prodding me with her "Are you ok in the typhoon?" make me realize...haven't been here for a whole month!!!

Yup. Hokkaido now has earthquakes and typhoons. Really amazing. It never did before. Well, the odd shake which made everyone comment on it for days afterwards and stray typhoons that after causing destruction in mainland Japan - came up north for a rare visit.

Not in September 2018.
2? 3? typhoons...and then the big earthquake...and many many aftershocks. Last week, just as I'd stopped my daily checks of the Earthquake section of the Japan Meteorological Agency website...came 3 large aftershocks - magnitude 5 and 4 at the epicenter - and considerable shaking 100 km north here.

Sigh. A new norm.
Luckily the last two typhoons slipped south of Hokkaido and here in Sapporo it was just rain and some wind. But bad for the earthquake devastated areas.

And me.

Well. Okaasan is fine. I can now, guiltily report that. Because since the earthquake day when I hauled myself up 10 floors of stairs to check on her...I didn't actually go and see her for almost a month! Yes. I am that bad.
Dear Son went, of course. Once or twice a week. Took her out for walks in the wheelchair. Good son.
But me? I only actually went 2 days ago - after one month of not visiting!!!!
We drove her to a local park and walked all over it pushing the chair and looking at autumn colors and kids playing. She was mellow. Not so communicative now. But seemed happy enough. Laughed to watch the kids play. Commented a lot on the sunshine.

She also comments on any old person she sees who is walking slowly, or walking with a stick. Kind of smug comments about: "look at her, that's terrible to see old people like that, I'm not like that! I can walk....look at that..."....all the while sitting in a wheelchair and huffing and puffing when it comes to stand or walk a few steps.

She IS physically weaker for sure. Despite the day care and physical training...she is never going to walk unaided again. A year of bed and wheelchairs...all the old muscles are gone. It is sad, because she loved walking. But that fall changed so much in her life.

I guess for most elderly people it's the same. The families say: "Oh, he/she used to be so fine until that fall...that bad cold...that slip..." So we all gotta do as much as we can to keep our muscles as strong as possible.

Ok. That's the Okaasan update. As much as I can....for someone I've seen once in the past month.

Well, hold onto your life has taken a turn for the exciting...

I have got a part time job as a tour guide!!!

OMG. And all that.

It's the reason I have let family duties slip. Been busy and a bit stressed. One extra day a week of work....

But for me: a dream coming true??? I kind of think so.

It's been a bit of a dream for me, after years training tour guides and writing and advising on Hokkaido tourism. To actually be out there, in-person with visitors.

Last year the guiding laws changed in Japan, and now unlicensed people can work as tour guides under the management of a registered company. For ages I've followed a small local company on Instagram etc - because they had great pix of their tours in nature and it looked fun.
Then, in early September they suddenly said they were hiring full and part time guides. I recommended several friends and students to apply. Then...what the heck...actually: "What the fuck? I think I could do this? What have I got to lose by applying...."

So I did. Took a whole weekend of stress at the computer to rehash my resume, angling it all from education and writing, to tourism and writing. Applied...just as the earthquake interview was delayed because of the power cuts...then interview...job tour day with another guide...and...and...

I have now taken two day trip tours with family groups from the Philippines and Singapore. Driving the company car and visiting local beauty areas, delicious, volcano, history...
Think I love it. I can only do weekends and holidays as my main job IS still English teaching. But OH WOW!!! I think I love it.

I feel it's a kind of khama too. For the long, stressy years looking after Okaasan. Now is MY time. Something I want to do. :-)

Funny how life goes...


  1. So glad to hear no damage from typhoon and earthquake.
    Wow, tour guide news is so exciting. Good for you on doing a "dream" job. I'm assuming tours are done in English? What a great way to meet new people and show them beautiful Japan. Congratulations!!!
    Good to hear Okaasan is doing ok. Sad to know she is not going to recover to old self. But she's content and being cared for. That's all we can hope that we receive.
    Good to hear from you.

    1. Thankyou. Yes, the tours are in English - mainly with small groups of visitors from other Asian countries - so far i've met a Filllipino mother and daughter, Singaporian families etc

      Okaasan's dementia level has actually improved to Level 3...(was Level 4)..that is the routine and care of the home, I think.


  2. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Your new job is the best news I've read all day!

    1. IS...isn't it....I hope so. Loving it so far :-)