Thursday 20 August 2009


I have a new found respect for Grandma-in-law.

I've never had a problem with her, although sometimes a bit pushy, she's never done anything that's really pissed me off, and you've gotta love an 83 year old Japanese lady who goes bananas for KFC. Funny too, because she's the most old school 'Japanese' out of all my in-laws, and I'm finding that we are similar in many ways. Actually, just one way: everyone around us treats us both like complete idiots with the mental capacity of 2 year olds.

Example, whenever anyone loses something at the in-laws' house, it's blamed on Grandma. Every time. No matter what it is.The other day, MIL lost an envelope containing some important secret city office business, now I had seen her shove the envelope in her bag and tried to put this point across when she was frantically searching for it all over the house, but my small gaijin cries of "Hey, it's in the bag" were inevitably lost in the panic.She instantly went on a Grandma blaming rant and literally said "Obaachan is going senile, she always tries to clean up and forgets where she puts things!" I was slightly horrified at this, considering MIL is 50, has lived with her parents all her life and still doesn't wash any of her own clothes or vacuum.

Grandma, not one to sit down and take shit, started ranting right back at her, saying if she wasn't so fucking messy she wouldn't lose things. At this point SIL and BIL were all behind MIL, backing her up exclaiming, "Yeh, you always put my shit away!" It became clear to Grandma that I was the only one who was even slightly on her side, so she settled for ranting at the gaijin not sure if i was understanding, but added lots of "な" at the end to show she was ranting with me not at me. I did lots of nodding and silent pointing towards the bag but nobody really got that I knew where the envelope was.SIL then joined in the fun by saying she couldn't find her glasses and that Obaachan must have cleaned them and lost them. 5 minutes of chaos later MIL had found the envelope (in the bag I'd been pointing at) and SIL found her glasses (in her own handbag) and while everyone scattered, mumbling that Obaachan usually does put things in the wrong place, I was left with Obaachan while she continued her 'Nobody listens to me anymore' tirade.

Nobody accuses me of being senile, (yet) well, most of the time anyway, but I do get clumped in the same 'don't trust her she'll fuck it up' category that Grandma does because of my apparent complete lack of understanding of anything going on.One example when it came to me was my tax, now I'm a long-termer in Japan and have married a local, unfortunately I actually have to start paying my tax slightly on time. MIL kindly went to the city office for me to sort out how much I owed which was great but what she didn't tell me is that she got them to divide it up into 2000 yen installments which means I'll have to pay interest on it for about 50 fucking years which I didn't want to do.She just didn't feel the need to ask me which way was better to pay it because she thought I mightn't have understood but fuck woman, give the foreign girl a chance! I then went to the city office by myself (well with offspring) and paid it in full like I planned to before.

The biggest defiancy point scorer recently has definitely been Obaachan though, she's such a rebel. Despite all instructions, wait for it... she's been going out of the house! To the supermarket!! ON HER BICYCLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Shock horror!All the in-laws just called her stupid and said not to call them when she falls off her bike.So Obaachan came over to our house especially, asked where I was then relayed the story of how she went on her bike and got the shopping because she was going crazy staying in the house everyday. She told me with a huge grin on her face because she knew I'd understand and be the only one to understand for that matter. It made me smile because she was so proud of herself in her little going out outfit and sunhat, bless her little cotton socks.

I hope I'm as feisty as her and still tucking into a 3 piece chicken pack when I'm 83, you go girl!


  1. My GMIL sounds alot like yours. She passed away about a month after I left Japan but my MIL and her sister and brother treated her alot like yours treats your GMIL. Baa-chan always seemed to know exactly what was going on but they continued to treat her like and idiot and she was going a bit senile but she always remembered Joey and I no matter what, I guess because we stood out amongst everyone. She and Joey had a fantastic relationship even though he didn't really understand who she was but he still talks about "baa-chan who lived in a house with her dog Taro". I am glad that you have found an "ally" and I bet she is chuffed as well! LOL!

  2. Aww she sounds cute! I can see why you sympathise with her! So much for Japan being a society that respects the aged! Katie of Brisbane

  3. That is SO annoying. But it seems that in Japan treting mothers like shit is like normal. I can totally picture you with big signs in your hands pointing at the bag XD

  4. Baa-chan sounds like a lovely ole character! Your post about her brought a little smile to my face! I love the oldies! I am sure she enjoys having you around and on her side too.

  5. This post just warmed my heart. I love women like that and I can just imagine her face lighting up with rebellion!

    Question: what does Obaachan mean? I'm guessing it's somehting like Grandma?