Little Kazuko, the oldest daughter of the haulier's family of longtime ago Kawagoe, has lived thru three emperors, a war, a country's rebirth, a technological revolution....and a Pandemic.
Well, we HOPE she lives thru the Pandemic!
If she does, we can actually take her beyond the care home front door, into the sunshine. Out to a cafe or a little lunch of crab.
But for now we can't. So, 30 mins in her care home bedroom. Singing Happy Birthday and clapping. Masks and hand sprays.
We ordered a tiny cream pudding from a cake shop, they topped it with a biscuit iced with "Happy Birth-Day" letters and the date. We took in paper plates and plastic spoons, and napkins and had a 15 minute party in her bedroom.
Of course, the staff nixed the idea of lighting candles, because none of us wanted to test the care home and hospital sprinkler system. I stuck two tiny candles in the top of the tiny cake...in fact Okaasan probably can't remember is she had in fact just blown them out....and in Covid-19 times maybe not a great idea to encourage her to blow on the food the three of us were about to share!!!
And so we celebrated. She enjoyed it. Smiles and claps. Tucked into the cream pudding and scraped away with the spoon on the pot.
Then the staff came and told us "Time Up", another family were waiting for their allotted 30 mins of Visit Time. So we hurriedly packed up the cake plates and headed away.
Happy Birthday Okaasan.
So sorry we can't take you out to eat crab.
Rising cases of this disease in our region, up to 10 plus a day in this city...and worries about how the traditional hometown travel of the Obon Festival next week will impact it all. In fact, many Japanese people have cancelled their hometown visit plans.
It's a hot, humid summer. Wearing masks and sweaty....
But Happy Birthday Kazuko! You made it so far :-)