The way the weather has been lately- when a nice day comes along I take full advantage of it.
Actually, taking advantage of it isn’t even the correct way to put it because as I have come to find out over the years the weather plays a vital role in the average Japanese housewife’s routine. It dictates which chores get done that day and there are days when the plans I’ve made for the day go out the window because the sun is shining and the futons need airing.
Yesterday was such a day. The weather was absolutely brilliant and just as I said above -the futons needed airing. My personal plans needed to wait because it seemed like a rare chance to get some necessary work done.
In Japan we don’t air futons because we feel like it or just to freshen them up. I never feel like it-Japanese futons are heavy!
Airing futons in the hot sun is necessary to kill dani or–dust mites. Dani actually live in tatami mats and because we lay the futons on the tatami-they get into the futons. They bite-and are horrid. We had a run-in with them last June.
I aired pillows, zabutons and whatever else I thought could use a good zap of sun.
The garden got an inspection. At the moment we’ve got: tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, lettuce, bitter melon, potatoes, snap peas, corn and cucumbers growing. So far so good. We will see how they continue.
The Foxgloves are starting to bloom and so are the oxeye daises. The garden looks so wild and lovely when they bloom.
The roses are budding and soon will open. I am hoping we don’t have too much rain. The roses really need some full sun days.
The other flowers are all looking lovely right now.
I keep a lot of flowers around the garden to attract bees and butterflies and this year there have been so many bees already! Through the open windows comes the sound of buzzing – a sound that I absolutely love. I love bees. Bees and butterflies make the garden such a joy.
I cleaned the water garden and we replaced the fish. The previous fish lived for about three years. The little fish we use for our water garden are called medaka or Japanese Rice Fish.
I didn’t catch these. I bought them at the local farmer’s market. During the summer and even now I suppose, you can catch them in local streams and rice fields. But…I’m not so good at catching them.
Back to futons…
Last New Year, actually in December, I went through the futon closet and took out at least eight futons that needed to be dumped. They were about 40 years old, heavy, dusty and really –we don’t need that many futons. They belonged to the previous home owner (a relative) and we kept them initially because we thought we might need them when the kids and grand-kids came for a visit. Little did I know how much WORK it is to maintain them. You can’t just shove them in the closet and forget about them. Not in our old, damp home. I had to haul them out at least twice a year for airing. That meant washing all the wrapping cloths and pretty much taking everything out of the futon closet to wipe it down.
These futons are HEAVY. It was a three day project because I didn’t have enough space to air all of them at once. They need to be turned every few hours….and then if a stray rain storm blows through, good luck! You can’t haul them in fast enough because they are so heavy.
SO-I had enough of taking care of them and we decided to dump them. Easier said than done in Japan. You can’t just “dump” things. You need to buy special tags and bags for “special” trash. Futons are definitely special trash. The tags and bags are not cheap and you can only put one in the trash at a time. Well…hubby decided to think of another way to dump them. In the mean time we piled them up in the guest tatami room. A bit later an old toaster oven joined them. Then some old clothes and a broken CD player…a dumpy old TV stand…cruddy pillows…the old rice cooker that burned out….
You get the picture. Before we knew it the tatami room was piled high with junk.
If we thought we had a problem before…we really had one now.
When I could stand it no more and because our son-in-law is going to be in Japan and will be visiting us-I insisted that hubby do something!
I have no idea what he did with the trash. I am sure he was responsible about it and that’s all I care about…it felt so good to finally have the room back!
It was so dusty that it took me a good part of the day to clean it, wash the curtains and sofa covers. I had to vacuum the tatami several times over to make sure I got any dani that were living in it and then the whole thing got a good spray over with dani killer.
Thankfully that is DONE because the next day the rain rolled in again….
Just another ordinary day in the countryside of Japan.