A couple of Sundays back, we went to a Japanese branch of the Church. A branch that Zachariah had served in when he was here on his mission ages ago... There were some people that he remembered, and some that remembered him, too! (Even though it was AGES ago, if I didn't make that clear... ;)
The people were all super nice, and the chorister lady dug up an English hymnbook for me, and marked down which numbers corresponded to the Japanese ones that they were singing. The little kid sitting in front of us had no problem staring at me singing the whole time. At least I can tell myself it was because I was singing in English, and not because I was, well, just plain SINGING. Yes, yes... I can tell myself that. (I won't mention that the kiddo in front of me at the Relief Society broadcast ALSO stared at me almost the entire time I was singing. Nope, not gonna mention it.)
The reason I really wanted to jot this down was because of the little Japanese Baba! If you remember, a "baba" is a Bulgarian grandmother. I have no clue what Japanese grandmothers are called... in a sec I might just ask Z... but for now, we're going with "baba." She was the tiniest little thing. She shuffled onto the end of our row, and was very cute, paying attention to our kiddos -- except for the few minutes that she randomly fell asleep... but this is Okinawa, and she looked like she was 80, so she was probably about 105, and I'm gonna go with that being a valid excuse for a little snooze here and there. WHEN she was awake, she made sure to try and keep Nuala, who had the great fortune to be sitting next to her, reverent. Hahaahaa! That's funny, because she doesn't need much help. However, this cute little granny was on top of things, and would be quick to waggle her finger at Nuala to keep her from flying the mini paper airplane she made (and would not have flown anyway), or make sure she didn't try to take the sacrament tray from her (the little old lady's) shaking hands before she (Nuala) had deposited her cup inside, etc., etc. She actually even snatched the tray away from me as I reached for it once before I had taken the bread. It was really shakin'! I was trying to save it for everyone! Apparently that was not the right move.
The best part was when the branch president asked Zachariah to speak (in Japanese, of course, because he's still so awesome at it). When the little lady saw Zachariah heading up there, she immediately gathered up Nuala, who had been kneeling at her chair, peacefully coloring, and smushed her next to her for the entire time he spoke. About 15 minutes. Nuala was probably about 3/4 of her size, and the granny had her half on her lap, half on the seat... it looked soooo uncomfortable for both of them! Poor, poor, poor Nuala! I kept sneaking glances at her, and kept having to stifle my laughter because she looked like such a miserable little captive. Every now and then I saw her shift slightly, seeing if the time was ripe for escape, but nope. Not until her loquacious daddy wrapped things up did the granny relax her little Japanese arms of steel. And Nuala couldn't even understand what Z was saying! Heheeeheeeheee... Poor girl. I know the humor is not coming across fully here, but it was funny. REALLY funny. I had total Bulgaria flashbacks, to all the tyrannical, well-meaning babas there! Makes the world feel just a little bit smaller, finding the same little grannies spread across the globe... no escape.... there's noooo escape!!! ;)