Hi from Yokohama

I arrived here on Monday night and had a thrilling Tuesday stocking up on food with Mom as we were expecting to possibly be snowed in Wednesday. (Did I mention we live on top of a very steep hill?) Alas, came Wed and we had a bit of rain and that was it. How disappointing! But I'm told by multiple sources we have snow forecast for next Wed also.

I dreaded coming home in a way because the last time we were home in Nov/Dec 2011 was in retrospect exactly when Mom and Dad were having to adjust to a new, down-graded or lower-keyed (depending on your point of view,) lifestyle. If you could call it that. Mom and I were doing housework and serving/caring for Dad and his new potassium-free diet from 7AM to 9PM every day without 20 minutes rest for a cup of tea, and I was expecting to do just that again. However, it's hasn't been as hectic at all. Mom is more used to Dad's diet, Dad is healthier, and both of them are now used to tax-assisted helpers coming and going almost every weekday. The arrival of the cold season is the worst or both of them, which is usually sometime late Nov/early Dec, so I think I am more useful then. By now it's much colder but everything is set up for winter.

That Dad is healthier means he's also "back in control" of Mom's and my lives, which creates a lot of tension; he's bullies Mom to no end, so it's a good thing both are hard of hearing and forgetful. It didn't take long for Dad to start picking on me this morning, Day 4, but if lightens the load on Mom for the next six weeks, so be it. I feel sad for him for never having developed an interest outside work; reading the newspaper, watching the telly and picking on Mom are about the only things he has to fill in his days. Mom, Sister and I tried for about 40 years to introduce him to various musical instruments, art and craft, sports, special interest books, but nothing ever worked. And now that he's on a special diet, he can't even enjoy normal meals, so his is a very constricted way to spend the last few years of life. And though it is of his own making, Mom and I keep trying to get him interested in something, which from his perspective, is a lot of unnecessary noise. Still, I'm going to propose one more project that involves grandchildren and see if he finds it interesting. 

Watching and talking to Mom, though, I'm reminded once again that the body will never be healthier than it is now, so if I want to loose weight, if I want to get fitter, I really have no time to waste. Even with regular use, and Mom was far fitter than me all of her life, the body and mind only deteriorates in time.

But fear not. We're having a lot more time for weaving talk this trip. Tuesday night I showed her some samples I brought from last year and discussed, among other things, weaving in blocks and network threading, but now I have to write a simple but illustrated tutorial, in Japanese, so Mom can remember and if need be explain to her students. She also showed me recently purchased yarns; I'd seen them in our weekly Skype sessions but it's lovely to be able to feel them. And though there are only a rigid heddle or a similar two-shaft loom available now, (her students are using all the four-and-more-shafts looms,) I'm wondering if I can come up with a project. After the tutorials.

Now for pics.
Mom's stash/weaving/class room, and my temporary office until next Wed when the student return. On the work table are my laptop, blank paper for doodling/drafting the tutorials, some of Mom's textiles I want to photograph, and two bags of yarns I'm having a hard time choosing from. Elsewhere in the room, if you know where to look, you'll see three looms setup for students, a warping board with one of the students' next warp, and an RH with my little niece's first project. I'm listening to my brother's old Sheryl Crow CD on his huge boom sitting on Dad's ancient desk. Awwww, home.  
Niece turned seven yesterday. After she learned that Big Nephew tried his hands at the craft, she wanted to try also, but after this far Mom is not sure the project is "finished". If so, I hope to make a wee purse with her cloth.
Department store bonito flakes (for stock and gazillion other purposes) section of Mom's fav supermarket.
Soy sauce section.
Mom's fav fishmonger; we place an order with the woman wearing an apron; if need be, she then give instructions to the guy inside the window, just to the right of the big poster, and he cleans the fish to order. She did a splendid deep-fried horse mackerel on my request Tuesday night. My miso-and-vinegar flavored mackerel was well-received last night.
Upstairs the March 3 Doll Day "Hanging Hina" decoration is up as in 2010.  The individual pieces this year are bigger, though, and the space looks crowded and messy. But more Japanese folks, including men, are stopping by to have a closer look and even taking pictures. Nice.
These pieces are made by students in a hobby craft class nearby. So it finally makes sense that they are taken down long before March 3; the pieces must go home to their proper place in time for the Girls' Day celebration. 

OK, lunch, then tutorial. 


  1. Safe travels, and have a good time with your Mom and "weaving talk." Having something in common is a Good Thing, as I discovered with my mother when she was in her 90s.

  2. Thank you, Sandra. Yes, it's nice to have something to share. I never had a common interest with Mom until I started weaving, whereas Mom and sister hung out a lot together. Earlier on I wished my sister would start weaving, too, but now I'm glad she didn't. She's a budding potter.

  3. your Mom's teaching space looks much like my teaching space in Canada. I started my grandchildren weaving at age 5 years and then the youngest got into the act at 3 years with her brother changing the sheds. Hope you have a lovely time with your Mom, your observation about changes over the years is so true. Hate to admit it but I'm really feeling it this winter.

  4. It's actually a very small space, OneSmallStitch. It's good for skinny Japanese ladies but not so for me. I would not want to be here when a Big One hits; too much potential danger! Mom's super careful about that quake safety, but it's still not very good here... But it's fun when all four are here. They are all talkative women but during class nobody makes a noise and works busily.

  5. I love that hanging hina installation, Meg -- yes it looks messy, but it has a certain charm because of the crowded messiness of it. I'm all for messy sometimes. I remember Girls' Day from when we lived in Tokoyo (I was little) and I really liked it. My parents purchased a few at a time, a set of dolls for me and my younger sister, that we couldn't play with -- they were just set up on Girls Day and we got to help. It was a royal family and their "court" with some tiny furniture. I wonder if my mom still has it? I will ask her. I would love to have those dolls someday. After we came back from Japan, the dolls were put away carefully, but every once in awhile my mom would let me take them out and set them up and kindof play with them. I loved opening and closing the drawers of the tiny writing desk. There was even a tiny brush, ink bottle and papers inside the desk.

    I was fascinated to read your account of your dad's life and your honesty about how he is so bored, substituting bullying of your mom (and you) for outside interests. That is sad. So many people when they retire, or get sick and have a much more constricted life, have nothing they are interested in to keep their minds sharp and occupied. I hope my mind is still bright and shiny when I am much older and I can keep myself happy, interested and useful into very old age. Getting healthier, losing weight, staying fit now is one key to that. I have to get there, too.

    It's wonderful that you and your mom share a love of weaving and textiles. How great to have that in common. You must be a good daughter, taking photos for her, creating a tutorial, keeping her interested. That's so cool.

    Have a safe trip home if you are not there already. I am putting together that package I told you I would send.

  6. The Hina dolls were all gone today. Doll's Day is March 3, but since these all belong to the students who made them, I think they are all safely in the students' homes. Nice thought.

    Oh, no, nobody is allowed to play with the dolls. Your parents knew what they were talking about! I, too, love the furniture much more than the dolls. And the tiny dishes and table settings. Oh, your desk sounds like a real deluxe version! I sure hope you get the dolls, or at least the furniture!

    Weaving is the first common thing Mom and I have and she started when she was 60. Until very recently she taught me things, but now I have to remind her the same things over and over. Which is fine for me, but she's slowed down considerably and sometimes feels frustrated.

    Thank you for your comment, Maureen.


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