Fascinated by its tentacles, I couldn’t look away as my mother in law (“Okaasan”) prepared the squid for dinner. Their curled limbs were covered with little suction cups which caused me to wonder aloud whether they would still stick to things. My wife, Yumi, considered this question ridiculous.”It’s food, not a toy.” Okaasan also dismissed the notion. “They’re cooked and would never stick.” I was unconvinced but didn’t have to wonder for very long.

The dismembered squid limbs on the table now had Okaasan’s attention as well. Catching her staring, I said, “Go ahead. Let’s see if they’ll stick.” The kids also encouraged her on. Okaasan’s childlike curiosity took over and, to Yumi’s surprise, she picked up a tentacle and pressed it against the stainless steel fridge. It held! Not done yet, she grabbed another tentacle and stuck it to my daughter’s photo on the fridge door. Again, success! I went back to eating as Okaasan continued her experiments for some time much to the kids’ delight.