Saturday, November 5, 2016

Postcard from Japan: Sunday, October 30, 2016

Takeshi Tomizawa visits. He's a friend of mine and my
husband's friend from high school and Hope College.

I don't think I actually even went out this day, but stayed inside with Mama-san.  I probably was catching up on posts.  My mother-in-law also has friends who visit often, bring food, and lots of good conversation and laughing.  Today, our friend Tomizawa Taeshi-san visits.

We're both laughing so hard because we definitely look different than the last time we saw each other 11 years ago.  He is bald now with a shaved head!  Takeshi has always been a fun-loving and happy person.  When he was a student at Hope College, he was always failing his English language classes and his father was constantly warning him he wasn't going to send any more money until the grades went up.  Takeshi graduated from Hope College (maybe barely....).  On my last visit, I was rather shocked to find out that he ran an English language academy!  Now his English is very good.  Probably not having the pressure of college classes helped and his language ability improved when he returned to Japan.  Anyway, we speak in both languages within the same sentence which adds to the hilarity.

Here are some images of the inside of my mother-in-law's apartment.  It's very small by Western standards but is just the right size for her.  All apartments, and even houses, have sliding doors onto a veranda where they hang laundry, keep plants, and open the doors to air out their rooms.
This is the tatami (woven reed flooring) room
in which I'm sleeping.

My mother-in-law's bedroom with her bed
(unmade and being aired out)
and Otoke-sama shrine.
"My" bedroom has an tall air mattress bed which in the photograph looks lumpy and uncomfortable but is really very nice to sleep on although it squeaks when I move at night!  It also looks lumpy because the futon covers are duvet type "blankets."  At night, when she wants to watch TV, she slides her shoji screen doors between the two rooms aside, gets into bed, and uses her remote to watch television.  We've watched a kabuki play (she tried to translate what the actors were saying----rather difficult because the language is old and even difficult for Japanese to understand; also men take all the parts so the women are rather odd looking, even with all that white make-up on), baseball (yakuu in Japanese), news about the aftermath of the earthquake that hit Tottori Prefecture on the day that I landed in Kobe from Okinawa, and crazy and weird Japanese game shows (can't fully describe them they're so strange).
Pay no attention to my laundry hanging
out to dry... Rarely do Japanese have
dryers since gas is so expensive.

Dining area

Dining area looking into the kitchen.
In the image of my laundry hanging out to dry, notice the huge traffic lights.  They're at least double the size of US lights.  Also the building across the street was being built when I last visited in 2005.  Even though the population in Japan is decreasing, housing needs are still at an all-time high.  There's another building just up the street that's half-done and will most likely be another apartment building.  I think less and less women are getting married and even when married are not having children.  You still see a lot of children and babies everywhere, though.

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