Monday, October 4, 2010
Granny Goodness is coming
The Japanese in exile Salaryman Mother is now incoming to the island of Japan to visit the genetically 75% Japanese little granddaughter, haunt the household and generally hang around in the Tokyo area for a a little more than a week. To me, this is no particularly big deal since I have spent way too many years living with the mother in my younger days and am somewhat used to her antics.
Now, the relationship to the MOTHER-IN-LAW for a Japanese woman is quite different though, particularly if the MOTHER-IN-LAW also happens to be Japanese (as in the case here, even though she's spent most of her life in exile). So Mrs. Sunshine has spent the last days trying to come to terms that she'll be hosting the MOTHER-IN-LAW for quite a few nights and going from despair and bitter fatalism as I merrily entertain myself and Baby Sunshine with a few fun bouts of playing Peekaboo.
Normally, the MOTHER-IN-LAW would normally go under the revered title of "Okaa-sama" which is an extra honorable form of "mother" (note the "sama" as a suffix instead of the regular "san"), but mom has asked to not be called that and instead be called by her name with a regular courtesy "san" attached after it. This caused quite a stir in the Sunny side of the family and is often brought up when the extended family comes over and discussed with half-amazement and half-amusement and followed comments on how long my mom must have lived overseas to be so casual (with implications that she's lost some of her "Japaneseness").
To add to the stress for poor Mrs. Sunshine, the mother has this great habit of complementing her in Japanese with me there, then turning to me and telling me what she really thinks in half-whispering Swedish in a really obvious way (which often is quite different from what she said in Japanese).
In any case, the general strategy will be to try and divert as much attention as possible to Baby Sunshine, but it might fail miserably as mother has yet fully embraced the role as Grandma, we'll work on it.