Happy 100th Birthday Obaasan!

On Saturday, September 5 my grandmother Tsuya Imoo turned 100 years old. In advance of our big family celebration next Saturday, the 5 of us went out to visit Obaasan (grandmother in Japanese) for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

(As an aside…it was slightly embarrassing to find out that I have been pronouncing Obaasan incorrectly for 35 years! I recently learned that the way I was saying it meant “Aunt” instead of “Grandmother.” I’m now emphasizing the proper vowels and we’re good to go!)

As per usual with our visits with her, we had a pleasant chat, interspersed with her laughing at the antics of the kids. For this particular visit, it was the boys playing catch and Kayla pushing Obaasan’s walker around. Our chats are always memorable and entertaining, with the English-to-Japanese dictionary serving as my best friend. It doesn’t help my pronunciation though, and it often leaves Obaasan (and Gail) cracking up in laughter. Now I can understand why Obaasan would be laughing at my poor Japanese…but I’m not sure why Gail has to join in. Oh well…at least I know the important stuff like how to order sushi.

And when all else fails, I just string a bunch of Japanese cars together in a rushed sentence. Try it: “Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Toyota” sounds really good when spoken really quickly and with authority.

Obaasan is such a strong woman, and she has outlived her husband and 3 sons (including my dad). She is funny, genuine, and sweet. I truly believe she has a few more years left in her!

In speaking with Obaasan, I found out that she is only the 3rd-eldest person residing at Nikkei Place in Burnaby. In fact, the eldest is turning 103 this Friday!

Regardless, living to 100 is an amazing milestone. Especially in comparison to Kayla Marie, who hasn’t even turned 2 yet!

Thank you Obaasan for your strength and your love. I pray that God continues to bless you with good health!


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