Mom Stories: Part 1

Mom prepared me for the possibility that the Arch may collapse while taking this photo.

One of the most endearing, loving, and amusing things my mother does is overprepare me for travel abroad.

It all started back in 2001 when I was headed to Kyoto for the year. Concerned about the quality of the water in Japan (a first-world country where people don’t, contrary to popular belief, drink unfiltered toilet water), she packed a special Brita water bottle for me.

The water bottle turned out to be handy—not for the filtering mechanism, but as a basic water bottle. In hindsight, I bet I could have drank my own urine out of that water bottle. Not that it ever came to that, but why not?

Also before I left for Japan, my mother insisted that I carry my prized possessions (passport, money, stuffed koala bear) around at all times in one of those secret hip pouches that old people wear under their Hawaiian shirts when they travel.

Mom had read that it was important to keep those possessions on you at all times. This is actually pretty bad advice when you’re living full time in a first-world country like Japan. Although you need your passport, it’s the last thing you want to lose, so it’s best to keep it in your apartment, not on your person.

The advice was particularly amusing and endearing because those money pouches are made for preventing pickpocketing, and there isn’t a country in the world where you’re less likely to be pickpocketed than Japan. People are more likely to slip extra yen into your pocket than pilfer your cash.

But at least I was prepared.

To be continued next week with how Mom prepared me for a trip to France…