It’s taken me a while to write about Okasan because I wanted to get her right. When I meet other women the first thing that stands out about them to me is their kindness, and if you asked me about some woman the first thing I would probably say is: she’s really nice. It takes me about two weeks at least to get past that; more depending on how intimate I am with that person.
At first I thought it was because I was a guest, but Okasan really is just a wonderfully nice person. She’s pleasant and smiley, and thoughtful, and patient. She’ll ask me questions about my day, and even when I clam up or answer in as few words as possible she just smiles and asks in a different way, slowly but surely coaxing out conversation.
Okasan’s the shortest in the family; about half a head shorter than me (Naoki and Manami take after their dad). She’s also the quietest, though that’s not saying much (Naoki, Manami, and Otosan can be quite boisterous). She likes to laugh and joke, but Okasan seems like the type whose comfortable hanging out with a group of people and just sitting and enjoying the company. She talks when she wants; when she doesn’t want to she doesn’t.
She really likes animals and cute things- our house is full of florals and patterns and animal ornaments (our carpet is cheetah print at the moment). She’s also a huge reader, and she and I go to the library every Sunday (she’s a fan of horror and manga). Then she and I will sit and giggle at “Cute animal tricks”, or gasp at “Amazing true-stories”, or marvel at “Really Tasty deserts” on TV until 11pm, where she leaves for work until about 1am.
Okasan works odd hours at a pachinko parlor nearby, as well as being a full-time house wife. She seems to work a lot in both spheres- at home she’s the only one who does chores (she’ll let me do some of the dishes, but that’s about it), and she goes out to work when almost everyone else is asleep. My mom hasn’t been a housewife since I was in 3rd grade or so, and my Aunt Toshi lives far away, so I’ve long forgotten what it’s like to live with a stay-at-home mom. She just does so much and takes such good care of her family and does it all with a smile.
She still has that same twinkle Otosan has in his eye, and seeing the two of them together makes you want to go “aww.” They’re such a great balance to each other, and still so cute and in love with life. This week she showed me old photos of her and Otosan from the seventies and eighties. While it was hilarious to see them in high-wasted tight pants, it was touching seeing them from around the time they were married. I like looking at pictures of adults from before I was born, from when they were young and spry and goofy-in-love.
I’m glad Okasan has let me into her life this much, and I hope we become even closer.
Next up is Naoki!
p.s. So I got followed home from school by a toothless guy on a bike. He wouldn’t stop talking to me, and kept asking if I wanted to go to his house or “get some coffee” (which is code for: go to a love hotel). And then he told me I had pretty eyes. And then he started telling me how much he liked Africa and… started listing all the countries. “I really like Africa,” he said. “Africa’s the best.” I facepalmed in my heart.
p.p.s. I don’t know why that last section was bolded…