November 25, 2009
Today was the day that I had the morning free. I was able to relax a little and catch my breath. My son came home from his job around 12:30 (he had said noon) to take me to the outdoor architechtural museum he wanted me to see before he returned to school.
He originally said for me to wait for him downstairs but then thought about having to lock the door. I was glad because waiting for him that extra half hour downstairs in the cold would not have made me a happy momma. I rode on the back of his scooter, hanging on to him. I felt a little like a motorcycle momma. It was a rather cool ride for about 15 minutes. I was glad my denim jacket is as warm as it is. So far it has served me well.
When we got to the outdoor museum, the gates were closed and the partitions covered the windows. Once again out came the IPhone. He learned that the museum is closed the day following a national holiday. Therefore, no chance to see the museum.
We returned to the apartment. He decided to play hookey. He took the afternoon off to take me to the Tokyo Tower. He doesn’t have any classes so he figured it would be OK. He told them he had made a doctor’s appointment.
Surprisingly, we walked right up to the ticket window when we got there and got right in. We took the observation elevator to the first level at 150 meters and looked around. From there we took another elevator up to the Special Observatory at 250 meters. The cars looked about an inch long far down below. It was quite an astonishing view of Tokyo. It would have been nicer if it weren’t quite so cloudy, but I could still see far into the distance. You can see Tokyo Bay from up there. Soon after we arrived, several bus loads of tourists appeared. We had to wait in line for the elevators from that point on.
I was celebrating the fact that my son and I had spent four whole days together and we still seemed to be getting along very well. Little did I know.
On the way home I forgot to grab my ticket out of the ticket dispenser. We got several feet away and I had to return and purchase another one. ($4 down the drain.)It’s not easy having to get my billfold out of my purse and return it each time while often holding on to other stuff. He has a pass in his wallet that he simply scans and walks through.
When we returned home we had to wait a while for Yoko to get back from work. At that point we departed for the sushi restaurant. By walking to the north side of the train station, we saved several yen in taxi fare getting to the restaurant due to traffic flow. There are a lot of narrow one way streets in this area. Other streets seem just as narrow but are two way.
The restaurant was a major tribute to efficiency. The dishes go past on a conveyor belt and you just pick up those that you want. The customer can also special order anything if it is not on the belt.
I pretty much stuck to tuna and salmon. I wasn’t feeling experimental enough to try the octopus, squid, eel, or roe. I did have one dish of crab. I thought that I’d give the fermented soybeans a try. It’s one of Yoko’s favorite dishes. I’m afraid I could never be a fan of that dish. I tried very politely not to gag on that first bite. I did swallow, but barely. Yoko got to finish the rest of it. I also had tofu miso but that also was not my thing. I’m not supposed to eat much soybeans anyway because of the estrogen involved…I passed the tofu on to Yoko as well after consuming most of the liquid. I learned that one is not to nibble on the rice and sushi. One is supposed to stuff the whole thing into the mouth at once. I couldn’t do it. I had to take half bites at a time. Yoko and Nathan were saying that on special holidays like New Year’s larger stickier rice balls are made. Many people die each year after stuffing the entire ball into their mouths. They choke to death. No thanks.
All in all I had about five plates of sushi, miso, and a slice of melon. My son and Yoko split 27 plates between the two of them. I couldn’t eat anymore. The way you are charged is neat. You place the empty plates in a slot and each one is counted. The plates return to the wash area. They are tilted to get rid of any food left on them and then deposited into the washer.
We returned to the apartment and had decided to go downstairs for some soft serve and to mail the gifts I had brought for Yoko’s parents. I had made the mistake of mentioning earlier in the day that I had forgotten to take off my shoes on the brief visit home before our afternoon excursion. Nathan didn’t even notice and didn’t say anything when I told him that.
All three of us were together in the very small entry way. I stepped up on the wood floor in order to use the step on the heels of the shoes to remove them without bending over to take them off since all three of us were in the entry at once. Nathan exploded.
He reminded me very quickly that I should take my shoes off before entering the house. (I thought the official entry was beyond the curtain about a yard away.) My mistake. He yelled and dropped the F bomb on me. Was I going to embarrass myself and him by doing the same thing at Yoko’s parents’ home? etc etc. Somewhere in there he yelled “This is a Japanese home.” For the first time, I didn’t just take it and remain mute like I usually do when confronted. I yelled back at him…what I said exactly I’m not sure but I threw the F bomb back at him…something I NEVER have done and will probably never do again. I then proceeded to my room and slammed the door….another first in my life. I undressed, wrapped a blanket around me, and crossed to the shower room again slamming the door. I showered, dried, and returned again to my room, third slam. Then I climbed into bed and did something I don’t think I’ve done in over 25 years outside of a movie. I cried. It really felt good! In the meantime, Yoko disappeared somewhere in that small apartment. This was just between my son and me.
Nathan came in and sat down. I told him to leave. He said “Not until we talk.” At first I just cried and wouldn’t say anything. I was so bone dead tired. Finally I talked to him. He couldn’t understand how I was so upset over a “little argument”. I finally calmed down and told him, “You know, the way you treat me is the way you are going to treat Yoko.” To which he replied, “I was waiting for you to say that. You’ve said it before.” What I was thinking but didn’t say is, “This won’t be a Japanese house until you treat your elder mother with respect.” I don’t ask much from him. I don’t expect a lot of attention. I may drop that on him yet before I leave. The tension between the two of us has been going on since the time he was in fourth grade. When his father left us when Nathan was in first grade, he tried to assume the alpha male role a little at a time…but never quite succeeded. He never got the concept me mother you son. From fourth grade to sophomore year in high school it was a battle.
I had gotten it out of my system at least. It was not even 7:30 and I rolled over with my back to him. He has never seen me react to him that way in his life. As he left the room he said “You can just carry your gifts to them.” Then he added, “I don’t think I want to take you to school with me tomorrow.” Ouch. I felt like the punished school child. “He added something I didn’t quite understand. Something about “Unless you change your mind?????” He said something about probably being busy since this was a day before a holiday and the teachers would want him to work on things before school started again on Monday.
I did my same sleeping pattern again. I was very tired from the miles of walking and stair climbing in the Tokyo subways so I did fall asleep. I awoke at 11:30 and saw that a light was still on. I got up and went to the living room to turn it off. Yoko was still preparing her lessons for tomorrow. I awoke again at 2:30. Yoko had fallen asleep on the couch. I took the computer off her couch so it wouldn’t get kicked to the floor and turned off the light.
I didn’t sleep well because this apartment is above a 24 hour mini mart. I didn’t really hear noice coming from within the mart, but people go in and out all night and talk. My bedroom window must be right above the door to the shop. It started raining. The roof is metal and because it was a soft rain I could hear every drop. At least I rested. I’m not complaining, I’m just telling it like it is.
I arose at 5:30 and got dressed as if to go to the school. When Nathan came into the kitchen things were civil again. He printed out a map and I walked to the school at 11:00. It was a wonderful walk. The sun was shining and I was warm enough with my jacket. I stopped a couple of young looking people and asked if they knew English. Both of them did. I checked with them to make certain I was still walking in the direction of the school. I hoped the waters were calmer because I had a long train ride with him to Hiroshima that afternoon. They were. We were on civil terms again. I got a tour of the school and immediately felt that old desire to be in the classroom again (without all the behavior problems and standarized tests. Namaste. Attic Annie