Spring! Open doors, heaters off, windows down in the car, no jackets needed outside, but by far the strongest indicator is the fact that I a) cleared the table of 2-3 items b) put the kettle on c) gathered up some items to take to the laundry and d) helped Erica with her sleeve, IN BETWEEN getting my bra on and actually get my top on, without dying of cold.
She's off again today, final day of illness I hope, but I don't mind having my little side kick around, she does funny stuff like twirling round and round on the spot singing a song, just to see what would happen if she turned round and round on the spot singing a song. We went shopping.
So we went shopping. Shopping in Japan with a kid is such a treat. Japanese people haven't forgotten how to be nice to kids, or more importantly, how to ENJOY them.
First stop, Post Office. When we finished, Erica turned around, hands in the air, saying "Where's my present?" I turned around to look back at the busy staff and told her they were too busy. She was happy with that and off we trotted, but it just show how used she is to getting a present from the staff, usually a couple of balloons.
Next stop, the bank, where she took off to the area between the main entrance and the ATMs, where I was, to practice some floor-tile challenges of the sort only a four-year old can dream up. She came back with three balloons and the ATM helper staff lady beaming from ear to ear giving her a cheerful goodbye.
Then we dropped by the chemist, a huge shop with three gaggling young lady staff, one customer (me) and Erica. Guess who became the most interesting thing happening? She was rewarded for existing by being given a present - a little plastic pink elephant-shaped money box, which she proceeded to HUG, which of course delighted the gaggle of girls and sufficiently rewarded them for the generosity.
Finally we went for a bit of clothes shopping, which is a bit of challenge for poor Mummy in Japan, due to the fact that the XXL clothes that fit her are made for 5-foot tall soccer-ball bodies, NOT tall, broad-shouldered busty booty-toting bodies. The shop I went to, the cheap one, has kids clothes too, and a very convenient mini-arcade in the back corner, behind the kid shelves, back where the noise and running will bother no-one but Mummy shoppers anyway. I wasted ¥300 on rides and games for her, while go back to check the shelves. I ended up with new pants, sweater and sweatshirt, she ended up having a fantastic fun morning with a new friend she made back there.