Finding “Yoyu” [Excerpt 16]

The first two days in Tokyo, my mother-in-law slept in our spare room just off the entryway. Eventually, that tiny room became Otosan’s domain, but for the first two nights, he camped out in our living room, never complaining. He seemed to enjoy the warmth emanating from the heated floors, and of course, the big TV.

Once Okasan was situated in a hospital nearby, I started visiting her every day. Those early days were tough. Okasan wasn’t getting worse, and she wasn’t getting better. She knew me and was clearly happy to see me. However, she wasn’t talkative, nor did she want to watch TV. Sitting there together, I struggled to find a way to pass the time together.

Listen to the excerpt above to find out what kind of rhythm I created to make our time at the hospital into a special part of our day.

Passing hospital time coloring mandalas with Okasan

If you missed any of the previous excerpts, you can find the playlist here.

About the book:

A few years ago, we moved my husband’s parents from a rural part of Japan to live with us in Tokyo in our tiny 800 square foot (73 square-meter) condo. My book, Finding “Yoyu,” is about what it took to decide to move them. It’s also about navigating the Japanese health care system and finding an appropriate nursing home for my mother-in-law while helping my father-in-law transition from a lifetime of farming to retirement in the big city. It’s about how we discovered he had Alzheimer’s and my husband had stage 3 colon cancer. It’s about how I managed to support these two men and keep (or find!) my yoyu all while going through a career change.

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About the Author:

Hi! I'm Marci. When I'm not writing, building websites, or coaching clients, I love walking the streets of Japan and discovering spirit in all shapes and forms. Here on the blog, you'll also get a peek into what it is like to live with and care for my Japanese father-in-law who has Alzheimer’s. Enjoy!



  1. Daryl Annette Swan on March 12, 2021 at 6:25 AM

    Thank you my dear Neice for this great work and for the opportunity to see you. I do miss you and
    Akira. Such is life these days. This is fun hearing your travels and adventures.
    My honey is having the same problem that you were experiencing. My fellow is in a assisted
    living place now with me coming and going to take him to Doctor appointments and all.
    Keep up your great work and while you are doing this format, I’ll keep listening.
    Love and hugs,
    Aunt Daryl

    • Marci on March 18, 2021 at 3:22 PM

      You are so welcome! I’m so happy that you are listening. I know you understand in a way that most people can’t. I don’t want to spoil the story, but my father-in-law is also in assisted living now. He lived with us for over 5 years until I wasn’t able to manage his care anymore. Probably similar to your fellow. Love and hugs to you, too. Miss you!

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