June was a fabulous month. It started off with the End of the Year party at Canadian Academy at the Swisshotel in Namba, Osaka. Two years ago we had the End of the Year party there, and we got a sitter to take care of kids in the hotel room while we went to the party and karaokeing afterward. This year our sitter requested that she spend the night with the girls in our apartment. Excuse me, but would that mean a kid free night at a fancy hotel? Sign me up!
A few days later Rob, Rachel, Eleanor and Thomas arrived in Kobe for their Japan adventure. First of all, I’d like to remind everyone that we live in a 900 square foot apartment. Also, for those mathematically impaired, that is 8 people – 4 kids and 4 adults – in 900 square feet. Yikes! Despite all of my concern about space, things worked out beautifully. The kids – 4,5,6, and 8 – all played together so well. They wrote a play, rehearsed it, made props and costumes. Rachel was working during the first couple of days interviewing people about the built environment, attitudes and raising kids in Japan.
Todd and I finished school a few days after their arrival, and that day we headed to Miyajima island which is right across the bay from Hiroshima. Miyajima is one of the most sacred places in all of Japan. It has a imperial shrine along with many other temples and places to visit. It is such a sacred place that births and deaths are not allowed on the island. We stayed in a traditional Japanese house with only a few tables, a couple of cushions and futons, all on tatami floors. The house also has a kitchen, so we brought our own cooler full of food. Our way there turned out to take much longer than I expected, so we arrived after all taxis on the island had stopped – oh, and it was pouring down rain. We found dinner at an okonomiyaki restaurant. As we walked to the house, Thomas ended up falling into his umbrella and coming out of his shoe. Poor guy did not have a good time after that. Luckily, the owner of the house found us and gave Todd, Tess, Rachel and Thomas a ride. Rob, Eleanor, Riley and I walked the rest of the way, and they were total troopers.
The next day was gorgeous, and we ventured up the island on some cable cars and did some shopping. The day after was a little rainy, but we headed into Hiroshima, and Todd and I watched the kids while Rachel and Rob visited the Peace Memorial Museum.
Then it was back for 5 more days in Kobe, which were filled with Kobe beef, Hanshin Tiger game, Bunraku, Kyoto, antique shopping, and recycle store shopping. We were sad to see Rob, Rachel, Eleanor and Thomas head to Tokyo for some time at Disney, but we had such a good time with them.
Then we had about 5 days to pack and get ready to head to the States for Todd’s Masters in Theater for Educators that he is doing through the University of Houston. We spent about 5 weeks in Houston, 5 days in New York City, and a week in Florida before returning to Houston for a few days before, finally, heading back to Japan.