Sunday, July 31, 2011

Coming home...

Okay, some of you think this is over. But in case you're still reading, here are some images from our return trip.

First, you need to see this photo of the kabuto mushi that my boys found during a farewell picnic. Eeeeeeee!
Back on topic. We packed our boxes. We will see these in about 6 weeks. The two on the left contain nothing but Legos.
The day we left, our friend M-san surprised us by bringing over a picnic lunch of yakisoba and sushi rolls. We also tried to eat the rest of the food the neighbors kept giving us. As she left, we gave M-san some leftover watermelon, sunscreen, and packing tape. I'm sure she was thrilled.
Bye bye, Surprising Breezes East.
(The boys are wearing the Japan national team shirts they got from their friend S-kun.)

M-san drove the little boys to the station, and joined us to wait for the Haruka train to the airport. M-san also came along.
We horsed around waiting for the train.
S and M rode to the airport with us! M , M, and R waved goodbye from the platform.
A service had picked up our luggage the day before, so we met it at the airport.
This plane also had a button on the seat for the overhead light, but it has harder to impress the boys this time.
In the SFO airport, we met Darrin's friend A, who entertained the boys with Angry Birds.
It was a long layover.
We finally made it to PHL.
It's 1:45am. But the Mum Mum limo met us anyway!

Look who's helping! (I can't believe it either.)
We got home at 3:30am.

Here's Hugo at noon the next day, waiting for MM to come over with Fig.
He's here!
Reunited at last.
The other grandma and pa came over a few hours later.

So far, my first impressions are that things are big. My drinking glasses are big. People are big. Milk cartons are big. Cars are big. My kitchen counter is high. Our house is big.

The first day, the boys took out every toy they owned and inspected it.

Then they asked questions they haven't asked in the house in 11 months, like, "Where's Hugo?" "Where's daddy?"

I can't tell yet if I'm happy to be home. Looking at these final days in Kyoto still makes me cry....
I hope you'll come over and distract us!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bye bye Kyoto!

We leave tomorrow...I have a lump in my throat all day.

It's partly because people keep coming over to say good-bye. When they come, they bring us an entire cake or something, so we are constantly full.

Anyway, there are many daily things we will miss about Kyoto.

Here's one. It's important: Mango juice. Same price, same calories as orange juice. What's not to like?
I'll miss the fashion of Kyoto folks. Honestly. They are all so thin, so classy and (even when they don't wear yukata) they dress very fashionably. Everything they wear looks fabulous. I haven't seen an armpit or a muffin top in 11 months. And I don't miss it.
Public transportation. Here's our regular routine: Handing out (or getting back) the tickets at the turnstiles.
Our awesome fish store. Expensive? Yes.
Worth it? Definitely.
One block away.
Our bakery (Panda). Also one block away. I have them to thank for my last 2 kilos.
Vending-machine-san. This guy yells at our boys if they don't slow down on their bikes. He sings old style Japanese songs. He walks right into our genkan and shouts "hello!" and then gives us coffee, or french fries, or vegetables from his garden.
This morning he gave us this yellow melon from his mother's garden. We'll miss R-kun, whose photo was on Darrin's cell phone. We'd say, "what time is, it R-kun?" and then he'd tell us.
And we'll miss our friends...

And school. We'll miss school.
Oh yeah, and sabbatical. We will definitely miss that....

Farewell Interviews

Alek, we're going home tomorrow. Are you excited about going home?

Why not?
Cuz I hate going on the plane for a long time.

What will you do on the plane this time?
The same thing as last time.

What did you do last time?
I did the same thing as this time.

What will you miss about Kyoto?

Can you give me some specifics?
What are specifics?

Like what did you like about Japan the most?
School. And trips with friends from school for two days, like Fukui and USJ and....

What do you think Fig will do when he sees us?
What he normally does. But louder and longer.

What else can you tell people?
Are we gonna come back?

Max, are you excited about going home?
Yes. Cuz I can actually do what I want to do.

Can't you do that now?
No, because I don't have a garage full of wood and nails and rubber bands and a big yard and trees. And a sledge hammer.

(Dad asks) but you can ride the subway by yourself, ne?
But the subways are dirty and I get toe-dirt.

What will you do on the plane this time?
I'm gonna read, and play DS and watch movies. And eat.

What will you miss about Japan?
R-kun, and my friends.

What do you think Fig will do when he sees us?
Lick us, and jump up on us. And scream.

Is there anything you will not miss?
The city, and our house and our refrigerator, and our cooktop. And the weather.

What else can you tell people?
If you come by our house, when you get home, I'm going to start a production line of rubber band guns, and you can rent one, and buy one. They're gonna shoot washers and those little firecrackers that pop when they hit the ground. I might even build one that shoots tacks.

I think that's enough, Max. Thanks.

Hugo, are you excited about going home?
Kind of.

How come?

What do you think you'l do first?
Meet Fig.

What do you think Fig will do when he sees us?
Smell us a lot.

What will you do on the plane this time?
I have no idea. Nothing.

What will you miss about Japan?
My friends. And Yodobashi Camera.
Maybe tofu kitty.

Is there anything you will not miss?
Our house. Because it's small and squishy and dumb.

What else can you tell people?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

tick tock...

Surprising Breezes East was kind of a mess today as we tried to pack and listen to commentary about the debt ceiling.

We made the boys help all day long.

(BTW Don't be too impressed. These guys complain about having to clear their own dishes from the table. )

All of the Legos must return stateside, apparently.
Max bundled up the recycled paper just as carefully as our neighbors do!

Alek and Hugo worked on this PsychoShaker for weeks in construction club at school. We can't take it home. May it live forever on blogspot.

Two nights ago we went to another matsuri at Shimogamo. Will you be upset if I show you another temple?

We met a bunch of school friends there.
This lady handed us a candle for Y200.
Then we walked in their river!
Here you can imagine the sound of all these people saying, 'Ooooh!!! It's so cold!!!" I was trying hard not to pee my pants.
Light 'er up.

It was a festive scene. We are very pure now.

Of course, we had the chance to buy more temple stuff. You could drink "God water" from the spring for Y10.

And if you wanted you could buy the cups it was served in. A bit of a racket.
Here, people are writing some kind of messages on these balsa wood feet.

Then they float them in the water.

Outside the temple we could buy masturi food. All those kids up there went crazy for these squid. Then they screamed and threw rocks for two hours.
After packing today, we took one more trip to Yodobashi camera for a couple of toys the kids have been saving up for. Then we went to our favorite kaiten sushi place for supper. This may be the last time we eat out together here, just the five of us. From now on, it's party party party! We are blessed with many new friends to say goodbye to.

I will leave you with this man.