A couple of years ago, the Center for Communication for the Disabled (or something like that) was constructed across the river. Though I’d heard about the facilities, which include table tennis for the blind and a pool, I’d never been there. This summer, however, students at the deaf school were invited to several play sessions with deaf volunteers. It’s actually a sort of babysitting service to give parents of disabled kids a break. Since respite sounded good to me, and since swimming in the pool with people who are good at sign language seemed like fun for Lilia, I signed her up.
I packed up Lilia’s swimming gear this morning and got everyone into the car. We found the place after driving in circles for awhile. (Japanese roads don’t usually have names, so all I had was a map with intersecting black lines and a few landmarks.) Lilia’s teacher was volunteering today. She met us in the parking lot and told us that the pool is closed just for today. See, it’s Obon, the time when the spirits of the dead return. Apparently, they come via water, and if you go swimming on this day, they may try to drag you under and take you back to the Land of the Dead.
Needless to say, Lilia was disappointed, but she had a good time making origami animals, drawing pictures and racing around in her wheelchair. She even did a little homework.