Saturday, 30 May 2009

Oh shit. (J)

What IS it with my nearest and dearest this past year?

Dad phoned tonight to say that my step-mum had a bad car accident on Thursday and is in hospital in a bad way. Maybe broken ribs. On oxygen. Lots of bruises. Internal stuff. She's 81? 82? I forget.


Luckily this time her sister Liz is in England (when Dad collapsed in February she was away), so she has swung into action to help... as always.

And as chance would have it: on Wednesday next week Dad himself is in hospital for a big scan/test to find out why he fainted in February. The UK health service moves at a pace to shame a snail.

So. I knew this would happen. Both of them - Dad and Jane - their driving is terrible now. Bad judgement about corners and road width and car width. It was only a matter of time. They live out in the middle of the countryside so driving is essential.

They don't really know what happened. Jane was coming home after taking the cleaning lady home...and somehow she drove the car up a bank and flipped it completely over. Smashed it. Someone heard the crash and got the emergency people there quick. Two fire engines. Police. Ambulance. It took time to cut her out of the wreckage because she was hanging upside down.


So many things are going through my head.
I knew this was going to happen.
And Dad has gone and got a large car off the insurance company to drive. He hasn't driven much at all recently. He too is an accident waiting to happen.

What IS it with my life since April 2008? Who did I piss off up there?


Friday, 29 May 2009


やさしい生徒 Tokiko が日本語 翻訳をできった。

三月  16から 24まで


Tokiko-san! ありがとうね!!!

(日本語が英語の書く後です。ポスト ヘーダが (J))

This and that. (J)

* Okaasan came home yesterday with a kind of yam. So Yujiro had to use it and cook the okonomiyaki - a kind of savory pancake. She's a bit like a pet dog or cat - she goes out foraging and comes home with her trophies - but once she's given it to us she loses interest!
Anyway - the pancakes were delicious. Much better than when we cook them with the pacakged processed potato starch: "so it's good that I bought it then isn't it?" said Okaasan happily. Ho ho ho. Okaasan has a wicked since of humor.

* The friend who decided to end her friendship with me because I wouldn't/couldn't go out for my birthday with her in March...she's just sent me back my old front door key and asked for her own key back. We used to do cat-sit each other's cats and had house keys. It's so sad. So stupid. Now I don't cry about this. It just makes me a little angry and sad that she is prepared to throw away 10 years of good friendship over something so petty.

* Today students have cancelled classes. So I have a day to have a GENTLE LIFE. We are going to have lunch with a friend - as we discussed it Yujiro said: "ahh..she likes Chinese food! That's good." I realized with amazement he was thinking of taking Okaasan WITH us to lunch!!! WHY does he think like this? Why does he think it would be fun to take his mother along to lunch with a friend and one of his world-travelling homestay guests (Couchsurfing)? I told him: no way. Okaasan can fix her own lunch or go out. He saw the light quickly. Thankgoodness.
The good son routine goes out of control sometimes.

* The knee is so so. I am wearing the smelly compresses. I am sitting down.

* The grass, and a great collection of weeds, are growing in unison.

  • お義母さんが昨日山芋のようなものを持って家に帰ってきたの。それでユウはそれを使ってお好み焼き-風味豊かなパンケーキのようなもの-を作らなければならなかったわ。お義母さんはちょっとペットのイヌやネコに似ているわ-狩りに出かけ、戦利品を手に帰宅-でも、ワタシたちにそれを渡したが最後、興味を失っちゃうのよ!
  • ワタシが3月に彼女といっしょにワタシの誕生日のお出かけをしなかった、というか、できなかったのでワタシとの友情を終わりにすることを決めた友人・・・彼女がワタシの前の家の玄関ドアの鍵を送ってきて、彼女の家の鍵を返してほしいっていってきたの。ワタシたちはお互いのネコの世話をしあったし、鍵を持っていたの。すごく悲しいし、とてもばかげているわ。もうワタシはこんなことで泣かない。本当につまらないことで彼女が10年間の友情を捨て去ろうとしていることは、ワタシをちょっと怒らせ、悲しませているのよ。
  • 今日生徒たちが授業をキャンセルしたの。それで、ワタシは穏やかな生活を過ごすの。ワタシたちは友人とお昼をいっしょに食べるの-ワタシたちがそのことを話しているときに、ユウが:“ああ、母は中華が好きなんだ。それはいいね”とユウが言ったの。ワタシは驚きをもって悟ったわ。彼がワタシたちといっしょにお義母さんをランチに連れて行くことを考えていたって!!彼はなぜこんなことを考えるのかしら?彼はなぜ友人と世界旅行をしているカウチサーファーのホームステイのお客といっしょのランチにお義母さんを連れて行くのが楽しいと考えるのかしら?ワタシは彼に話したの:とんでもない。お義母さんは自分の昼食を用意するか出かけるかできるわ。彼はすばやく理解したわ。
  • 膝はまあまあ。においのきつい湿布をしているの。おとなしくしているわ。
 ・ 芝とたくさん集めた種は一斉に大きくなっているわ。

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Gentle. Gentler. The Gentlest. (J)

Story of my (school) life : Could try harder.

The doctor said I should be taking it GENTLER. Standing. Walking. etc etc etc.

He recommended 2 or 3 times a week rehabilitation hot pulse pads at the clinic and sent me into the rehab room for 10 minutes of it this morning.

And he told me to use these "
shippu" on my knee.

These things are so popular in Japan. It's a compress. In winter people use them inside gloves etc to defrost fingers. But these medicated compresses are also very popular for aches and pains in the body. Students are always amazed when I say that in England I think it's impossible to buy them. Only professional sports people/doctors use them...I think.

So here I am. Smelling like a hospital. Sitting around. I spent my day off watching a DVD. Sleeping on the sofa. Eating cake. So not me!

Gentle life was hard and tiring. I hate to think how GENTLER life will be.

Maybe Yujiro should get some chains and chain me down.

穏やか より穏やか 最高に穏やか 

The ###### knee. (J)

Had a hard 2 days.
Nothing to do with Okaasan, who I just saw briefly at dinner Monday night.

All about the knee. It's been bad since Sunday night. Swollen. Painful.
Monday and Tuesday are long working days. It's hard to be gentle on the knee.

I love my job, but it felt like work this week. If it was just a sit-at-the-desk and use-a-keyboard kind of work it would be no problem. But I have to put on the Happy Teacher Face and interact with people...endless people. 6 classes Monday. 5 classes Tuesday.

All Happy Teacher Face outside. Depressed Middle Aged Frump Inside.

Luckily I didn't cancel a dinner date with a friend last night and that helped so much. On my way home from Shin-Sapporo we met at the station. We crept around Daimaru and had dinner and then Starbucks coffee and cake. I crept down to the subway and took a taxi the last stretch home.

Going to the doctor again this morning.

###### 膝め 
#$#$|%$“#$ これは悪態をつかないブログにしようとしているところ。

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Normal life? (J)

Sorry...didn't blog for a day of two.
There didn't seem to be anything to blog about!

Now THAT is actually amazing. It shows that I feel life is just settling down into a nice routine and I can't think anyone else would like to read about it.

So. Here are the boring, but nice highlights.

Friday and Saturday I worked at my classroom near bye. Yujiro took me into work by car. The knee is actually beginning to feel stronger. I haven't hiked mountains yet, or even made it to the post office, but it feels almost normal around the house.

Friday night he cooked curry. Okaasan wasn't home by 7 pm. So we started without her. Is it my imagination, or do we both RUSH to get dinner on the table and eaten - before she appears?!!
She rolled in about 7.30 pm: "Oh? I thought tonight you were going to a Korean restaurant?" (err...THAT was a conversation and plan a week ago...). We served her plate of curry. Washed up our own plates and left her to eat alone in the kitchen.

Saturday night he had his favorite sashimi. We gave Okaasan the 5 minute warning that dinner was almost ready, so that she can do toilet visits and hand washing while we are serving rice and soup and lining up all the plates. This time she didn't come back from the toilet for ages...I went to look...and found her standing outside the front door (in her pyjamas) looking at the night sky...taking in the evening air!
I guess she'd forgotten that we'd announced dinner in the minute or two she was in the toilet. Sweet!

Anyway. It's been a nice, gentle Sunday. I did a little gardening. We ate lunch outside. He watched TV. I read a book in the sunshine. The cat dozed. Okaasan went out shopping.
The garden is getting all green and interesting...and the grass is poking up through the soil!

So there. Nice boring life. After the past year's events I am so happy to have a non-eventful 3 days.


Thursday, 21 May 2009

Dinner at the hamster-wheel. (J)

Yujiro was out at a job interview guess who cooked dinner?

But I cheated. Bought some sashimi (raw fish) at the quality supermarket and put it together with a lotus root and shrimp paste fried ball from the deli counter in the top department store,then rice, soup and broccoli...oh and pickles.

Okaasan seemed to like it. We sat at the kitchen table and chatted about stuff. But she did get in one of her hamster-wheel conversations - round and round...and round and round...and round - all about Yujiro's father playing golf with a guy from the office, who'd then helped at the funeral...but died himself 3 months later. I heard the same story about 7 times in 15 minutes.

I kept thinking of ways to get her OFF the hamster-wheel - finally I stood up and started clearing plates from the table, which got her onto "No, no...leave it, I'll wash up"...her usual refrain after dinner. I think the hamster-wheel chat is when she's tired. She'd been out this afternoon in the heat to the lilac festival in the park.

Anyway. Basically a success. I am still surprised that I CAN do this. Cook and sit for an hour or so chatting in Japanese to an old lady. I would never have thought I could do this. Live in Japan. Chat in Japanese at a family dinner. Somehow.

Yujiro came home from, his interview just as Okaasan was starting the washing up. Waiting to hear about the job. But it sounds like evening work, which might be hard with our domestic situation. I work late at least 2 nights a week...we'll see.

In the meantime: get THIS! WHO is this guy in our hallway tonight? I have no idea. It can't be the same guy who wanders around in baggy old sweat pants most of the time. Must be one of those suave salesmen who come to the door and try to sell you cable TV.


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Gentle life. (J)

Today I tried to have the gentle life. Stayed home all day. Did as little as possible.

I tied a few sweet peas to sticks. I watered the lazy grass seeds. I sat and watched movies (The Queen and That's Entertainment II). We had family lunch of tofu and veggies. I cooked Thai Chicken for dinner. Okaasan went to Hula Dance. Okaasan chatted brightly with Yujiro at dinner all about memories long ago when he was small. She becomes a different person when she talks about 50 years ago...

and the knee? Still a bit swollen. Feels painful sometimes. A bit hot. I hate this thing. I worry that I won't hike ANY mountains this summer.

I obviously have to go back to the hospital. But J hospitals take such a long time - you can easily sit around for 2 or 3 hours waiting to be seen. It's hard when you are trying to work. Will try for Friday morning. Maybe.

Maybe H1N1 Flu will arrive in Hokkaido and the culture center will close classes, and then I can close my school too. And stay home with the knee. That would be a blessing in disguise!

Two days of work - out at 9.30 am...home at 7/ pm....and the knee isn't great.

I am so fed up of walking slowly and not being able to get things I need. Monday afternoon at Homac I had to stand by the cashdesk and send the staff scurrying for sticks for the sweetpeas etc.

Hah. I feel fat and slow and old.

Just waved at Okaasan really on my way in and out. Yujiro had dinner on the table for me within 10 minutes of me getting home. He really is a great house-husband. He makes the domestic part of life so much easier. He goes for a job-interview I am appreciating all his housewifeing help while he is here.

He said that he met Okaasan out near the park the other day. She was standing talking to another old lady. After he did all the shopping and walking he came home and they were HERE - standing in our parking area! STILL talking!

Okaasan really has a knack of chatting to strangers. It's very un-Japanese. I admire her for it. Funnily enough I did a class this week about striking up a conversation with strangers...she is out there chatting to women-with-dogs, women-with-gardens, women-with-kids....good for her! I don't need to worry about her social life.

So today. Another "gentle-life" day off. I shall try to tie up the sweetpeas to sticks...and I may pull up a few weeds. Other than that...word games on the the curtains with blackout material...TV...aghh

そこで、今日は、また、“穏やかな生活”をする休みの日。スイトピーを棒に縛ってみるつもりよ・・・それから少し草むしりもするかもしれない。その他に・・・コンピューターで言葉あそび・・・遮光素材でカーテンを縫って・・・テレビ・・・あああああ・・・いらいらする・・・いいお天気なのよ-ハイキングに行きたいわ。's a beautiful day - I want to go hiking.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Sorting the trash.

I just went to ask Okaasan if she had any plastics or cans to throw away today in the trash.

She gave some old yogurt pots.

And then she sorted through the pile of plastic bags by her sofa....

and gave me FIVE bags full of stuff! All mixed in: banana peels, paper, tissues, sweet wrappers, ear cleaners, cracker bags, department store receipts...etc etc.

Agh. I think I do enough family service. Maybe we don't need a trip to see flowers. Grrrrr.

It's strange, because in Japan everyone sorts out trash into types. But she just doesn't. She snacks on stuff by the TV and then puts it in a plastic bag and puts it to one side by the table...and so they mount up. She of course quickly forgets what is inside a bag.

We gave her two trash cans clearly marked...but...but...she uses them...and the endless plastic bags. I can just imagine what her home in Saitama must have been like.

Time to go to work.

How much should we entertain?

How much should we DO things with Okaasan to brighten her day?

I feel guilty about this. That we swan off to enjoy our lives - today we went downtown to see a movie, while Okaasan stayed home watching TV and eating snacks.

While I don't think of course that we should be taking her along with us to even 50% of the time, I feel a bit bad that she did nothing much on a day like this. We chatted a bit in the morning in the kitchen, Yujiro made her a small lunch (gums still hurt) and I cooked dinner (successful spaghetti! with salt!).

Is that enough? It was bad weather today so she stayed home. I guess that's what she wanted to do. She's an active senior with all the walking, but even she maybe just has days when she sits and veggies. Is it ok?

I think the time is coming when we should take her out service time is a-coming. A flower festival, an onsen...something.

But she IS making a life herself: we came home from the movie (Slumdog Millionaire - great!) to find a box of instant coffees on the kitchen table. Okaasan had found a local newspaper delivery company and signed on...this was her signing-on-present.

In the old house Okaasan managed to somehow cancel a newspaper delivery that Yujiro had organised (I think...the whole thing was a confusion), but now she has hunted out a delivery company again.

Maybe I shouldn't worry so much about entertaining her.

Anyway. Another week.
My knee hurt last night. Too much walking to get to the movie - my mistake - today and tomorrow are going to be busy working days. It will be hard to have a gentle life.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Into the weekend.

We thought it might be good to try out the Korean restaurant near the subway station this Saturday night - because one of Okaasan's favorite chat themes is how much she loves Korean food and how a tour guide once agreed with her that it is "the best cuisine in the world"...

I had a busy day Saturday at work, so we planned to try and meet up near the station at the end of the day.

But lunchtime Okaasan told Yujiro she had an inflamed gum again and didn't want to eat much lunch..or dinner. Certainly not go out for food. "I can fix something myself...rice and soup...".

Yay! So. We had a date evening. He picked me up from work and we went instead to a cheap and cheerful Italian near home and drank far too much cheap white wine. Walked home merrily through the park where a small, cold festival was trying to celebrate cherry blossoms.

I wondered if this reoccurring gum problem might be a way we can get her along for the necessary medical check that the social services require her to have before she can formally be on their books.

But seeing as she adamantly refused to go to a doctor when she had that bad knee injury back in the winter, I can't see a little gum ache will be any use.

I met a friend on Friday who talked about her aging parents and how the social services came out to reassess them (it's part of a national thing here as the Japanese government tries to wipe a few million clients off its care lists). She urged me to get the hospital visit done. I know...I know! I've mentioned it several times to Yujiro, that before he starts work - he must use the free weekdays to some how get Okaasan to a hospital for a basic checkover.

But he seems to stall. And she will definitely need persuading. I feel a bit frustrated that I can't do more about this myself.

It will take more than sore gums to get her there I think.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Family dinner (J)

A friend in England has asked me about Family we sit on the floor, do we eat with chopsticks...does Okaasan do ANY cooking.

So here is a basic Family Dinner in our house:

  1. About 6.30 pm either Yujiro or I (usually him at the moment) goes downstairs to the kitchen to start cooking.
  2. The other one stays upstairs with the cat, TV, computer. Okaasan is either out shopping still or sitting in her room on the floor, under the heated blanket...watching TV.
  3. Dinner is usually "something" PLUS rice PLUS miso (fermented soy bean) soup PLUS pickles/salad. I skip the miso soup, and often the rice too.
  4. The one who isn't cooking sets the table. Chopsticks for everyone, or fork and spoon. It's a Western style table with chairs!
  5. We give Okaasan a 5-minute warning, so she can do a bathroom visit etc.
  6. 7 to 7.15 pm we sit down. Okaasan puts her hands together and say "Itadakimasu", which all Japanese say as a kind of formal start to any eating. We kind of chorus it too.
  7. Okaasan drinks water, we drink beer.
  8. Either there is silent eating (this is also very Japanese, when Yujiro and I started living together it freaked me out that he was angry or something!), or there is some discussion about the food/weather....very general stuff. Often silent. The real conversation only starts when they've finished eating. Yujiro often talks and talks (a kind of annoying lecture about food or something that happened) and Okaasan sits and makes response sounds...I fiddle with the tab on my beer can and try to chip in to show I am around.
  9. Okaaasan often has a second helping of soup.
  10. After the food she gets up to make herself green tea, often getting the order of cup/tea/hotwater all mixed up...but finally getting it sorted and sitting down again.
  11. After politely enough time chatting we start clearing the table and Okaasan insists on doing the washing up. We plead with her "no! no!"...but she forces us out and takes control of the dirty plates. We retreat upstairs. Sometimes (if I am feeling like a good Oyomesan) I hang around in the kitchen and try to chat to her about stuff...there has to be some kind of bonding here...I do try!
And that's a standard dinner in our house.

I miss a more interesting conversation about politics or something in the news. But there we are...we have to do dinner, and then we can go back upstairs and have more interesting conversations. The silence often depresses Western families dinner is a time to share the day's events and chat. Of course it's not always deeply intellectual...but it at least it's interaction. Silent eating is sad...I've trained Yujiro to talk at meal times since we started living together...but Okaasan would probably happily eat silently I think. To the Japanese way of thinking the food and the eating is important and thus should be done with full attention.


  1. 午後6時半ごろユウかワタシのどちらかが(通常は今のところ彼が)調理を始めるために台所に降りていく。
  1. 夕食は通常は“何か”+ご飯+味噌(発酵大豆)スープ+漬け物/サラダ。ワタシは味噌スープをパスして、ときどきご飯もパスするの。
  2. 料理をしていない方がテーブルをセットする。
  1. お義母さんにあと5分の警告をする。お義母さんがお手洗いに行ったりできるように。
  2. 7時から7時15分に席に着く。お義母さんは両手を合わせて“いただきます”と言う。これは、何かを食べ始めるあいさつというような日本人みんなが言うもの。ワタシたちもこれを唱和する感じ。
  3. お義母さんは水を、ワタシたちはビールを飲む。
  4. 無言で食べるか、(これもまたとても日本的で、ユウとワタシが一緒に暮らし始めたとき、彼が怒ったかなんかししたんじゃないかって、びくびくさせられたわ)食べ物やお天気と言ったすごく一般的なことを話すの。沈黙が多いわ。実際の会話は食事が済んでからようやく始まるの。ユウはときどき興に乗じて話し、(食べ物や出来事に関するうっとうしいうんちくなんかだけど)お義母さんは座って返答するの・・・ワタシは缶ビールのタブをもてあそんで、その場にいる証拠に口を挟もうとしてみるの。
  5. お義母さんはときどきスープのおかわりをする。

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Gentle Life...trying hard. (J)

Sorry. No blogging.

Monday and Tuesday were hard. Always busy as usual. But trying to walk slowly and not move around too much - so hard! Odori Station seemed huge when you have to creep around it heading for the elevators.
Monday night my knee was bad. The banana diet nose-dived because I had KFC for dinner.
Tuesday I was more careful. It took me ages to get anywhere. My wonderful students were sympathetic. But it was all slow and hard.
But Tuesday night the knee wasn't so bad and today I walked slowly, but almost normally.

and TODAY? I did...err...redid the lawn.

This is NOT seed.... THIS is seed!.....I hope.

It took ages...but this time I am hopeful. If you actually plant seeds in the ground. Something will come up! I have covered the whole thing with string and Xmas twinkly bits to keep the birds off.

The finished product.

Okaasan headed out for Hula dancing. I went and had lunch with a friend - who hopefully didn't give me Swine Influenza after a trip to New Zealand - and tonight I am cooking dinner....tacos for us...and sashimi (easy raw fish!) for Okaasan. We have tacos mixes we have to use and I am sure it is not her kind of food...



それで、今日は、って? やったわ・・・ええ・・・芝のやり直しをね。





Sunday, 10 May 2009

Mother's Day. (J)

Today is Mother's Day in Japan. Always used to catch me out (when my mother was alive) because in England it's in March.

Yujiro came back from shopping this morning with a basket of carnations for Okaasan. And tonight I gave her a framed picture of our trip to Maruyama Park last week AND a very cute little rice roll which had the face of a mother made out of vegetables and seaweed. Sadly she ate it before I thought to take a picture!

A quiet day for all of us.
I tried to do gentle life by sitting down more. My knee was better, but still a bit hot and swollen. Monday and Tuesday at work at going to be hard. I have to move in class and walk to the classrooms. Yujiro scored his first sale on his Internet auction hobby and Okaasan watched Tv and went for a late afternoon walk...but came back by 6 pm.
The cat noisily defended his territory from various local strays.





Friday, 8 May 2009

Gentle life...yeah...right...(J)

Well. Today I went to the doctor about my left knee pain.

Dr. Yamaguchi of Minami Hiragishi - who speaks English shyly and sweetly - told me there is no big problem, but I should have a "gentle life" for the next 2-3 weeks.

Gentle life?!! What's that?

This is all the result of that quick sprint back to the house for gloves I did 3 weeks ago. My knee felt a bit strained. But we continued early morning walks.
Then last week I walked from Minami Hiragishi to Sakaigawa...90 minutes in the spring sunshine.
Next day I could hardly climbs steps!

So now I creep around. Hunt out the elevators at stations. get up and down carefully.
Bugger. I want to start hiking and enjoying life again.

But if a few weeks of slow life is what it takes. That's what I'll have to do.

Other news:

* That photographer who is doing a book about foreign women married to Japanese guys is going to come and see me in June! Just time to get on the Banana Diet and lose a few kilograms. have a hair cut. etc etc.

* We had dinner-a-deux tonight. Okaasan didn't go OUT until 4.30 pm. So Yujiro cooked dinner and we ate it together at 7.10 pm. Nice to chat as normal. Dinner with Okaasan is usually Yujiro chatting away at her about cooking/food/long ago news/memories...I usually just sit and eat and make a few comments.
Anyway, tonight Okaasan rolled in about 7.45 pm. We'd washed up the plates by then. So we served her dinner and left her eating it alone in the kitchen. Tough love.



穏やかな生活?!! それって何よ?


もう! ハイキングを始めてまた人生を謳歌したいわ。





Thursday, 7 May 2009

Back to work...yadda.. (J)

Tenjinyama Park Picnic - end of Golden Week.

The Golden Week holiday is over and I have to go back to work.

But the weather has been brilliant and I feel relaxed after 5 days at/near home doing things I needed/wanted to do.

Needed: unpacking boxes, making curtains, cleaning the fish tank, arranging stuff in the house...
Wanted:see a movie, two friends' parties, two outtings with Okaasan to see cherry blossoms, cooking (mostly successful!), quality time with the cat, gardening, bought a mulcher...
Tenjinyama cherry blossom and Yujiro.

Only downside is that the ligament I pulled about 3 weeks ago when I ran quickly back to the house for some gloves - it's got worse. A 90 minute walk we did finished it and now walking up and down stairs is painful. So I couldn't do all the hiking I wanted. I'm busy today, but maybe tomorrow I'll go to the hospital. Nothing much they can do or say really apart from the obvious: don't over bend the knee. Ironic that just as Yujiro gets fit again and is bounding up and down stairs...I am creaking around.

And Okaasan? She seems happy. She really loved going to the cherry blossoms. Apart from Maruyama Park, the big blossom-viewing place, we also took her to Tenjinyama Park which is 1 minute from the front door. She was delighted that such a park was near the house.

I've cooked more in Golden Week and it was mainly successful. Cooking in this large kitchen is much more relaxing for me - maybe my relaxation is influencing the food quality!
Last night I did fried fish...Okaasan wasn't home by 7 pm so we started eating. She arrived 5 minutes later. I made her wait while I finished my food so she hopefully gets the point - it is really really RUDE to come home so late when she has the whole day to go and walk round shops. We cannot hang around with OUR evening plans waiting for her to deign to come home.
We tell her many times that she must come home for dinner at 7 pm...but she doesn't remember. I think maybe in Saitama she went out late afternoon after the heat of the day, walked round the shops and ate dinner this setting out at 3 pm or 4 pm is a habit from that life.
Hopefully if she comes home here a few times and sees us already sitting eating dinner...or even finished - she might remember that after 7 pm is too late now.



必要だったこと; 箱の荷解き、カーテン作り、水槽の掃除、家の中のものの整頓・・
したかったこと; 映画を観ること、友人のパーティが二つ、お義母さんとのお花見の二回の外出、お料理(ほとんど成功!)、ネコとの極上の時間、ガーデニング、発酵促進剤を買うこと・・・




Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Good morning, good morning, good morning! (J)

Okaasan often says "Good morning" to me several times because of course she forgets that she's already seen me and said it. She sits watching Tv in her room as I drift through the kitchen on my morning routines.
I come down to the kitchen for water: Good morning!
I come to get a spoon: Good morning!
I walk through on my way to the shower: Good morning!

Sometimes I just say it all over again. Sometimes I look a bit surprised and comment that she's done it before, but "it's ok because you can never have TOO many friendly greetings in life."

Lately she's taken to saying: "Good morning!...ahh...maybe I said this already? did I?"...we both giggle about it.

One of Okaasan's really nice character traits is her sense of humour. Even about herself and her memory. Sweet. ;-))





Monday, 4 May 2009

Cherry blossom family expedition. (J)

Today we got out early and went to Maruyama Park, which is the big cherry blossom seeing place in Sapporo.
In Japan going-to-see-the-cherry-blossom is a major event with groups of students, colleagues, families and friends setting out groundsheets under the trees and having a picnic. In Hokkaido it also means barbecues.

We ambled round the park looking at the blossoms. After that we went to a shopping mall and stuffed ourselves on a huge buffet lunch. The three of us made it this far - from early December, thorough all the dramas of winter to the house move and finally a spring peace.


Yujiro made an interesting comment this morning: he said he thinks Okaasan's conversation and memory about her day was BETTER last night at dinner...and that maybe the sheet sewing was good for her. That we should find other sewing projects for her to do!
To be honest, I was so knackered from gardening I don't remember her conversation last night. But it's interesting. Doing the sewing is something she is good at, enjoys and used to do a lot. I think the book I have on "Contented Dementia" mentions something about this - finding an activity that the Loved One enjoys.
Hmm. Interesting. We may end up ripping out clothes on purpose to keep her supplied with an endless series of little repair jobs!

Meanwhile...more cherry blossom pix.





Sunday, 3 May 2009

Each to her own... (J)

Sunday on a holiday. A quiet day of homely happiness for all.

Early morning Yujiro and I joined half the city at the Home/Gardening center - buying lawn seed, plants and a raw kitchen waste mulcher.

Then I settled in for hours and hours of gardening. Planted sweetpeas, tomatoes, green peppers...picked up stones...and finally sowed the lawn and watered it. Shattered!
But finally it is looking like a garden of some shape. Interestingly, the woman who lives across the road told me yesterday that the previous owner kept game birds maybe the soil is naturally well-fertilized!

After lunch I asked Okaasan if she could repair a torn sheet that Yujiro's leg brace had ripped.
She verbalised every single thought going through her head about how to do it, but finally I left her to it. She sat on the living room carpet and sewed and sewed ! She really is a good sewer.

It looked great. I could do it...but it would be a mess. It's great that she likes and is good at doing this.
I noticed that she was wrapped up in the sewing as much as I was wrapped up in MY seed sowing. Each to her own...

The lady across the road gave us cut spring flowers from her garden and Okaasan and I almost crossed horns over how much to cut the tulips for the vase. But at the first sign of her whining I walked away from her: "Do it as you like!" I tried to say as cheerfully as possible.

Neither of us need the stress.







Saturday, 2 May 2009

Gardening joy....Shopping joy. (J)

Two women. Two different pleasures.

Okaasan went into town today to buy a T-shirt for Y16,000! That's something like $160 for T-shirt! Amazing. Yujiro went with her to make sure she didn't buy anything else. And to pay for the T-shirt on his credit card and get some points.

I stayed home. And gardened solidly for 5 hours. Finished digging over all of the rough ground and sorting out stones and roots. So satisfying.
I can see it taking shape.

I might get round to planting grass seed tomorow or the next day. On the left is the area I did today, and on the right is the area near the front door I did the other day.

Tomorrow I might seed the grass..or I might plant out the sweet pea seeds that I have grown. They are sitting here behind me now on the table. Look! case you have been wondering WHAT a lilly bulb looks like. Here it is. Two of them. Okaasan bought them sometime in early they are sprouting. Today I "liberated" them from a bag in Okaasan's room and gave them a new home - in the garden. She'll never know....when they come up and flower I'll just say: "Oh look! Lillies, the people who lived her before us must have planted them."
I am evil.

二人の女 二つの異なる楽しみ