You can read here GW's take on our day. For us the day started with a drive - it's perfect driving weather right now, and we spent the whole time pointing out and admiring the cherry trees. We HAD to stop at this spot:
It's just a small side road lined with cherry trees, but it was so beautiful. Japan does not 'do' tree-lined avenues very well... they get too scared of the trees getting in the way and chop them up. J. people are very careful and guarded of their behaviour in case they upset or inconvenience others - seems they apply the same attitude to trees. So it's all the more of a treat to see the trees allowed to grow wide and right over the road to make a ceiling of flowers. Of course it helps that they are cherry trees - while the hyper-vigilant pruning applies to almost all other trees it's cherry trees that are the most likely to be left natural.
Then onto GW's house, to swell the already full house with a further three children. Amy spends her time divided between the grown-ups and the children these days, and Katy clearly wasn't used to kids who could understand her witty asides, leading to her being put on the spot a few times by awkward questions... sorry Katy... actually I think she purposely sits in just to hear these titbits of adult life, that's why she's so damn quiet until you let one drop, then BAM go the questions!
And a round of applause for Katy for doing such a wonderful job of lunch despite clearly feeling more than a little seedy. After lunch consisted of hanging out, alternately playing with the kids in the garden and trying to ignore them.
They played this game, and the 'kick the tent' version for over an hour. While Erica is hitting the rocking fish with her plastic trowel, Marina is totally missing each time - a fact she seems to find hilariously funny and MUCH more interesting than actually hitting it.
The adorable cat playing in the collapsed tent.
The trip home for us was an adventure as well. I've been trying to find a certain onsen in the mountains above Matama - last time I tried SpaLand, it wasn't that one. This time I tried another I found on google maps - it wasn't this one either! Finally on the way home I spotted a sign pointing up a side road, and finally found the elusive onsen, but we will have to wait until next time to try it out.
We also stopped by a community centre where I used to teach when I first came to Japan. I often wonder what has become of these kids, some of whom will have graduated from university by now!
A god-rock we drove past on the way to the onsen. Would LOVE to know its story!
Inside the onsen, Erica is just the right height to peek in at the rock garden.
Me outside the community centre/shrine/gateball ground where I taught all those years ago.
Dinner was KFC. I decided I would quite like one of their burgers. It isn't a particular favorite of mine, in fact I almost never eat them, I usually choose plain chicken IF I go at all, and we hardly ever do. But I just got it into my head that it would be nice (wine the night before does this to me!), and the kids agreed with me that it was a good choice for dinner. So we turned up at the counter and the burgers are 'finished'. Bloody hell, it was only 6pm on a Sunday! Who runs out of food in a fast food restaurant on a SUNDAY NIGHT? Some bad management going on there - not only were there no plain burgers (only 'wafu'(Japan style) chicken burgers) but there were also no wraps at all, and no crispy chicken. I ended up with a bizarre-tasting 'sandwich', sweet-and-sour I think it was, and a pepper chicken.
Home by 7, I think and after blobbing for a bit we all went to bed. I forgot to put Erica's pyjamas on! I got them out, then we all went up to bed. I did not notice when I tucked her in. I did not notice when I woke her in the morning and CARRIED her downstairs. I did not notice when she said bye bye to me at the door when I went to take out the rubbish. I only noticed when I came back to find her in the toilet, and saw knickers on the floor instead of nappies. Oh well, first dry night, and I didn't even plan it!