Another month has passed and other than thinking about it, I still haven’t taken any steps to post more frequently. We had a super dry spring and farmers were worried about the lack of rain, but then the rainy season arrived just in time. All the rice fields have been planted and the summer critters are out- dragonflies, cicadas, praying mantis, snakes, centipedes, cockroaches, spiders, frogs, caterpillars, hornets, wasps…I have to check my shoes and shake out clothes before I slip them on lest I get stung or end up squishing some bug. Our garden is totally overgrown with weeds- need to get it in shape this week. Bought a low rolling bench to sit on while weeding, kneeling for hours is painful.
looking down our lane towards Ryougoji temple
In January I set a goal to get fit this year. Now that it’s been six months, I guess I can write about it. I started the Couch to 5 K program and after nine weeks, I was able to jog 30 minutes. I used podcasts to help me keep track of the time and I can’t believe that I have been able to stick with it. I jog 3 days a week and walk, swim, or bike 3-4 days a week. There is an awesome path along the river and I run different routes so I don’t get bored. I am now doing interval training to build up to 8K and am now two weeks into that program. I never have enjoyed running in my life, but now I look forward to it and think I will participate in a 5K this autumn.
The other day while walking an older man called out to me and starting asking me questions. “Do you have diabetes?” No. “Then why are you running so often? You look skinnier than you used to. What kind of health problem do you have?” I explained that I am just trying to stay fit and build endurance. I had never met this man, but am aware that a lot of people know who I am because Saiki is a pretty small city. I have to be careful what I say to people, including strangers, because word spreads fast and often the strangers are connected to Jiro’s family. He then started asking me about where I was from and wondered whether I grew up in a city or the countryside. I told him I grew up in a coastal city south of Los Angeles. So he jumped to the next logical conclusion that there must be a lot of fishermen there. I nodded and started across the bridge. He kept up with me and he started with the compliments. “You are really amazing, taking care of your mother-in-law.”I shrugged off the compliment and kept walking. “Even after your husband died, you still came back to Japan to take care of her.” Huh? I explained that my husband is alive and well…..”Aren’t you Yonezawa-san?” Yes. “Didn’t your husband die several years ago?” NO. And then I realized that he had confused Jiro with his older brother and that the local stories are are pieced together with fragments to construct something that makes sense.
It also reminded me of a conversation I had with a woman who chatted with me while we were doing the annual river cleanup. She wondered if I was running the ranch that my husband had planned. I had no idea what she was talking about and just smiled and said I wasn’t running a ranch. Now I realize she also thought I was the wife of Jiro’s brother. I wonder how long it will take for the story to be amended…
Because I deal with the altered reality of Jiro’s mom every day, I am never too surprised when I hear strange information. The other day we were watching a show about the development of the test for determining blood type. Trying to keep her engaged, I asked her what her blood type is (all Japanese people know this information about themselves). She thought for a little bit and told me that she is Type C.
Read a “delightful” book- The Housekeeper and The Professor by Yoko Ogawa. I really loved the story of a housekeeper who works for a mathematics professor with a memory impairment. I rented the DVD and will watch it later this week.