Where Did This Month Go?

My super survivor friend downstairs had a four day weekend in the hospital because her her regular physician who visits her weekly decided that her cold had gone on long enough and that she might not last much longer with her breathing difficulties. She was rushed off in an ambulance with her dinner still in the microwave and a pot of stewed fish and daikon radish on the stove. I visited her on Sunday and she had already bounced back from the brink to her usual vibrant self and was concerned about how bad her apartment might smell upon return, whenever that might be. She asked me to clean out her refrigerator, wash up a little, water her plants, air out her futons and bring her some more pajamas and a bathrobe. I told her that I'd be glad to do these things but that it would be Tuesday afternoon before I could deliver the pajamas and robe as the visiting hours at her hospital are very strict and I couldn't make it the next day. This was fine with her and she seemed quite cheered up by my visit. I had J with me as we were on our way to an interview test in northwestern Tokyo.

Monday morning I managed to get all of my neighbor's trash out before the garbage truck came. The refrigerator got a very thourough cleaning as there were quite a few artifacts from last century inhabiting the inner regions. I think that the refrigerator must be a 1997 model, as that was the earliest expiration date I discovered in the very back of the top shelf...

My friend called last night to ask if I'd come pick her up today as she'd been given the OK to check out. She said she didn't need the extra PJs or robe after all. I warned her that her refrigerator was a brightly lit cavern because I'd gone a little overboard on the cleaning and let her know that I'd go out and stock up on any food she felt she could eat. She laughed and said that she'd been needing some help cleaning it out and was glad for the space. I hope she isn't too shocked.

My kind and patient British friend in the neighborhood has offered to drive me there and help out so we're off to the hospital this morning.


Three Day Weekend

Not much happening now but I expect that we'll have a busy few weeks before M's graduation from elementary school. Her class is planning to surprise the teacher with a few songs at a post graduation celebration and a schedule for practising a few evenings before then just arrived by fax.

Wednesday is open house at the elementary school and the kids will have a jump rope exhibition. N came home yesterday and complained that her jump rope wasn't strong enough, showing me that it had snapped in half. When I questioned her further, she confessed to accidentally landing on it while jumping rope on a unicycle after school. Somehow I think that this is NOT part of the exhibition...The biggest problem with the snapped jump rope is that it was M's, not N's, to begin with. Tomorrow I shop for a new jump rope for M.


Not So Bad on a Sunday Morning

S suggested I try out the gym today to see if it was less crowded. I managed to time things right and finish my workout just as the aerobics class began so there were only 3 of us in the ladies' locker room. The bath and sauna work both working so I relaxed almost as long as I worked out. S and the kids were just beginning to fry some noodles on the hot plate at the table when I arrived home. Tomorrow I try the pool.


The Gym

S has encouraged me to join the gym he has been using since last spring. He said that the bath and sauna alone are relaxing and worth the membership fees and that I could use the pool mornings when the kids are in school. To get the most out of my membership, I went with him on the first of this month to sign up and get started.

There are a few gyms in the neighborhood, one is actually quite luxurious with flashy new facilities, lots of aerobikes, walking and jogging machines, step machines and 5 or 6 of every type of weight machine as well as all sorts of lessons in aerobics, yoga, kick boxing, swimming, water aerobics etc. available. I went there as a visitor with a friend from the neighborhood last spring and had a yoga class with about 50 other perspective members and their member friends. Another is a little older but has similar facilities and about half the classes.

The club S felt was the best bargain for our purposes is the oldest in the area. It attracts the less cosmopolitan clients. It has a 25 meter pool and a small machine studio with one of every machine, 5 stationary bikes, 3 walking machines, 1 jogging machine and a small mirrored area where classes of up to 10 can do aerobics (if they have full membership). I have a "training" membership which lets me use the facilities but requires 1,000 yen extra for every lesson I decide to take. There are only one or two classes a day.

S showed me how to use some of the machines and then rested while I worked out a while as he didn't want to overstress his neck just yet. Then we headed off to our respective locker rooms to relax in the sauna and use the big Japanese style baths and showers. He enjoyed his time in the men's bath, happily thinking of how he had generously provided me with a nice way to relax.

In the meantime, I was bustled about by a large group of women who had just finished their morning water aerobics in the pool and were heartily sudsing up and spraying their soap all over the place, having loud conversations over the jacuzzi jets about how the sauna was broken yet again and shoving around to make room in the big bathtub for their friends. I ended up showering quickly (without covering the rest of the bathers with my shampoo, I know proper communal bathiquette) and getting dressed to go out and wait for S.

He was surprised to hear about the crowd as the men's room is only busy in the evening. We've figured out that lunchtime might be the best time to go as the morning class ladies will have finished by then. I went yesterday to try this theory out only to find one woman paddling around horizontally in an undignified manner in a quarter of the usual amount of hot water as the tub wouldn't fill any farther due to some problem with the boiler. She shouted out happily to all who entered (not as many as the previous morning, as suspected) that as the sauna was still broken and the bath wasn't filling up, this was the only way to get warm after her morning swim. Great, a foot bath...The showers are powerful and hot anyway.

Today I took the kids to the local shrine's annual bean throwing event so I don't know how the gym is on Saturdays. There is a supermarket on the first floor of the gym so I can do the daily shopping on my way home from working out. I was glad that S was so encouraging about getting started as my 2 or 3 long walks a week don't seem to be enough to keep (more like "get") in shape and I won't be able slack off if he's there too. I think that he uses the bath and sauna more than the gym when he goes though...