Getting fit and the rainy season is officially over

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.

Banjyo River full after rains

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.

Rice fields

Two more weeks til Oregon!

Links related to Fukushima

The news continues to be troubling.

Mainichi Newspaper TEPCO: Uphold Share Values or Stop Further Contamination????

Ten Thousand Things Karl Grossman & Ann Landman on Fukushima

New York Times Japan’s Safety Myth

They Lied to Us Michio Kaku

Atlantic Wire Meltdown: What Really Happened at Fukushima

The Asia Pacific Journal    Nuclear Workers and Fukushima Residents at Risk: Cancer Expert on the Fukushima Situation

8 thoughts on “Getting fit and the rainy season is officially over

    • katezawa July 15, 2011 / 2:00 pm

      It’s hard to know what to think right now. It seems that the government is floundering and generally people are anxious, weary, and cionfused. The next year will require change that noone wants to face…I am hopeful, but not optimistic.

  1. via fCh July 16, 2011 / 12:27 am

    The capitalist model has accomplished many a thing, while its costs have not all been upfront. People have entered a state of confusion in most places long ago. So much so that we can tell right from wrong.

    And then a series of events happens in short sequence and at least some of us start piecing it all together and maybe decide it’s time we changed some assumptions. Wasting so much on advertising seems more idiotic than the ritual sacrifices ancient peoples were making to please some god or another.

    I expect the Japanese to be ahead of others in figuring out that Capitalism as we know it has run its course.

    At a more general level, Marx or War may signal when the crisis is over.

  2. via fCh July 16, 2011 / 12:30 am

    Correction: So much so that we can’t tell right from wrong.

  3. Oyomesan (a.k.a. Amanda) August 17, 2011 / 7:41 am


    I was recommended your blog by “Tenku”, who is a friend of yours…he/she thinks we have a lot in common cos I too am living with a Japanese guy and his mother with dementia… “hi!”….I wonder what do you find to TALK to your Okaasan about on all those mealtimes when Jiro is away??? I dread the dinners a deux with my Okaasan….

    • katezawa August 18, 2011 / 2:25 pm

      Thanks for your comment. I read your blog regularly- I can’t tell you how reassuring it has been to read about you and your Okaasan- it really has made me feel less alone! I have tried to comment to your blog, but somehow it never goes through.
      Right now I am with my kids and family here in the US for some R&R-life in Japan seems so far away.
      Conversation with ba-chan is fairly limited. I try to ask about trips she has taken- she says she can’t remember and sometimes we talk bout what is on the TV (which is always on at mealtimes- AARGH) We always talk about the weather and flowers and the view form the window (flowers, fields), and if t was a Day Service day, we talk about her activities there. Because of her dementia, we can have the same conversation 3 or 4 times in one sitting LOL. She is pretty limited and never initiates a conversation.

  4. Oyomesan (a.k.a. Amanda) October 26, 2011 / 7:30 am

    Sorry…just checking back in here!
    Yes, sometimes/often Okaasan and I go round and round and round and round on the same topics…but I worry a little/lot that when he my guy is away next month and I am Home Alone with Okaasan that conversations will be harder…recently I mentioned “Korean food is good isn’t it?” and expected the usual tale or her trip to New York and how the guide said Korean Food was No 1 in the world….but..nothing…she didn’t start that story at all!! she just vaguely agreed with me and went on eating……

    sorry to hear you can’t leave comments on the blog….

    • katezawa October 29, 2011 / 10:29 am

      Need to get into blog writing again. Lots of big changes here. We finally moved ba-chan to a care facility..I’l be writing about it tonight. Living with someone with dementia is truly an adventure- I admire you and your commitment to providing your okaasan with so much independence.
      ‘ll try posting to your blog again and see if it works.

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