Thursday, August 21, 2008

Japan, the final installment

So we are officially back in Grand Forks. After two marathon days of travelling we stayed in our own beds last night and it was great. The Jet Lag is still affecting the daughter as she was up from 3 to 5 pestering me about this and that. I finally gave in at 5 and put on a video while I caught up with some banking. So here is the final installment.

What you see in this picture is where we slept at night while at the great grandmothers place. The three mats lined up in a row housed, myself, the wife and kids and one of the cousins. In the foreground you will see the second dining table that had to be put away, well this is put away, between meals so that we could use the room. Six kids and seven adults living in a little more room that what some lunatics live in in Downtown Vancouver. It takes all types.

This is the kids playing with their second and first cousins. They have appeared in previous offerings and really we would have liked to get in even more play days but everyones schedules didn't always match up. How are one's children and one's cousin's children related. Are they second cousins. Third cousins. They share a great grand parent. Maybe this is the whole once removed thing. Well if you believe everything you read on wikipedia then they are second cousins. I of course am nothing in all of these relationships as I don't share an ancestor but everyone was nice enough to call me uncle or at least David, to my face.

Here we are in ishiki new town, or something new town. One of my old colleagues from my Kagoshima English teaching days runs her own school from inside her house. She is also the owner of the wonderful blog about her life and dog that I have listed in my links I likes. Of course it is in Japanese but the photos are real cute. You can check it out here. She had us over for lunch and my children spent the whole time chasing the dog. He is old and really timid and wasn't as in to my kids as they were into him. We had a nice afternoon and I caught up on some gossip about my old work place. Gossip never gets old does it.

Does everyone like Ramen? We sure do. This is a picture of Uncle Kanefumi, atomu, the son, and I. We are pretending to be lions outside the chinese food restaurant. I can see it. The uncle took us for lunch after we spent a gruelling morning gardening at the sis-in-laws place. I was feeling like a giant slug after not having done anything for three weeks so I decided to take on the yard. The uncle who was on his day off and came over to hang out ended up coming out and lending me some tools and getting in up to his elbows. Really I was way out of my league but with his tools, pick up truck, and know how we managed to put a good scald on that yard in about 3 hours. I was soaked in sweat and after a shower we all went out for the aforementioned lunch. This was also the only night on the whole trip that I drank Sho Chu. I paid for it for the remaining 7 days. Word to the wise, just say no to Sho Chu. People who drink it know what they are doing. People who don't just shouldn't. Nuff said.

I liked this action shot of the wife cleaning the tub for the evening bath. Notice the son hanging out in a bucket of water. That is what you do when it is 36 degrees 80% humidity and there is no relief in sight. In the foreground is my son's arch nemesis, Lilo. Lilo and he spent a lot of time together and she spent most of it pinching or biting him. She was really interested in whatever he was doing or holding and wanted it right now. If she didn't get it appropriate actions were taken. Hopefully, the next time we are there she will have her words and will not torture my son quite so frequently.

My mother in law is actually a hair dresser by trade and decided to dress up the wife and daughter for some glamour pics.
I really like the authentic hair do. We have a couple of family shots which may grace any christmas cards we make this year. Not that I have ever made christmas cards but I have always imagined myself as a christmas card sender. So this may be the year.

We planned to go fishing on this trip and this is a picture of us on my father-in-laws boat. This is unfortunately where it ended. There were large seas that day and we didn't want a puke fest. The kids enjoyed chasing the sea cockroaches and trying to find crabs.
I could have gone on any of a number of night fishing trips but I didn't think 12 hours from 5 pm to 5 am with six or seven guys who I barely understood when they are sober was that nice of a prospect. That and the staying up all night really didn't catch my idea of a good time. So there was no sea fishing this trip. I did go for a morning of sea shore fishing with Uncle Kanefumi and he caught a tiny little fish. I once again struck out. Maybe I should be a hunter instead.

Getting to the end of the trip here.

Can you imagine cooking on a gridle in the middle of the table when it is 35 degrees out? Well I can. No air conditioning and we are all sitting and sweating around the table eating some really delicious okonomiyaki. They had the yamaimo which makes all the difference.
Atomu unfortunately had the seat right where he is standing and got scalded with little oil burns numerous times during this meal. We had another griddle meal our last night as the daughter requested gyoza. Probably like her sixth gyoza meal of the trip. But homemade gyoza with home made chicken karage(my request) were an awesome last dinner. I ate way too much at both of these sittings but didn't have any beer the okonomiyaki night and only a few the last night. I came down with the stomach flu as a result of the sho chu night and really lightened up on the partying the last week.

Self taken picture by the wife. I think she did a great job of getting her sisters, herself and yours truly all in the shot. Here is a shot of the kids playing in a park the last morning we were there. Notice the brilliant sunshine and everyone hiding in the shade of a tree. Well they had to be rescued from this park by the father in law because a torrential downpour came and trapped them under the awning of a near by apartment building. Tropical weather is a weird thing. From here they drove us out to the airport and we made our return journey. It took most of a day for the whole flight -- lay over -- flight but we arrived 3 hours before we left. Gotta love crossing the international date line the other way. We stayed a night with the Harry bear and then made the trek home yesterday. It is now time to return to our regularly scheduled life.

It was a great trip and we really spent a lot of quality time with our relo's. Can I live in Japan again? Well lets just say the summers would be tough. But being near family would be awesome. The next blog will be back to dinner and hopefully the daily stuff that our lives are made of here.

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