My mom spent the week here and shared some things with me that helped answer some questions I've had for decades now.
I didn't grow up with my grandparents. My mom left Japan when she married my Dad in 1951. I never got to meet my grandmother and she died in 1959. While I was growing up, my mom never shared much about her family in Japan. The little I knew was about my grandfather Kokichi who died when my mom was about 13. She adored her father and felt his loss deeply.
During her visit here, my mom opened up about her own mom. She'd been holding and looking at the sock I'm knitting and told me that her mom was a knitter and "could knit anything." My mom, however, resented her mother's handmade things. She said she would have preferred something purchased in a store over my grandmother's handiwork. She dislked the handknit mittens the most, but she also remembers her mom knitting gloves and socks.
My grandmother was practical, stern, and demanding. She wanted my mom to learn to sew, knit and do well in school. Athough my mom agreed to learn to sew and attend dressmaking school, she stubbornly refused to learn to knit. I never thought there might be a reason I was interested in knitting or that it was a part of my heritage.
I sent my mom home with my handknit socks. And I think she'll actually wear them.