A visit from home

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Joel comes to Japan and I do my best to overload him.

The first week of May seemed to sneak up on me. Before I knew it, I had my weekend Osaka trip with Nathalie and Joel was flying in on Monday. To top it off, it was Golden Week here in Japan. I wasn’t invited to the tournaments that my Jr High was competing in during the week and weekend ( I think because they weren’t at the school) but it worked out for the best. Already, we had a lot on our plate.

This was Joel’s first visit to Japan so I tried to prepare him mentally for things to be rather different here. He can get anxious about change. But I think he did remarkably well. He even tried to learn some very basic Japanese. His city accent from Wilmington made it difficult for him. Those ‘R’s can be killers on both sides, I guess. I should’ve taken a picture of him talking to the information desk at the airport before he knew I was there. I think many of you would appreciate the look on that woman’s face. I was just too excited to see him.

Immediately, he was immersed. While riding home from Komatsu, he commented on the excessive array of lights. He sounded drugged. Somehow he stayed awake long enough to eat and make it in the door of my apartment. We both crashed. Early the following day I began my indoctrination. Below is a quick day by day summary.

Monday: Flight in and first conbini experience.

Tuesday: Visit Nanao city center to search for backup sneakers (he only brought one pair of walking shoes and they were very worn) in a size 30. We found a 29 that did the job! Impressive, I know. First taiko game experience in the arcade of Patria mall. Some fresh pastries for breakfast and then to Nicole’s to meet up for adventures. Melissa had just arrived, too, so we all headed for the Wakura footbath on the bay and then to boil some eggs. Tried a some delicious little cakes at the famous confectionary shop on the bay then to Mahalo for a Hawaiian styled lunch. Then to the Nanao Castle Ruins and the lookout at the top of the mountains (stupid fog). Stopped over at the obstacle park, this is not its actual name. Then home for short naps and back out again for kaitenzushi. Funny story: service was sloooow at the AL Plaza joint but Nicole got the call that her friend Will had just arrived at the station so she took off to get him while the three of us who were left went to the more trusted joint at Nappy Mall. Nicole and Will joined us and we were all much happier there. Some spontaneous bowling occurred after and then Joel and I went home to crash while the other’s had a few drinks.

The tasty stuff at Mahalo.

Joel and Nicole hoofin' it up the hill.

Watch out for the lava! and hamster wheels of doom!

Wednesday: Attempted going to Notojima Aquarium but too much traffic. Went to beaches there instead. Had some Coco’s Curry for lunch. Not anything like Indian curry back home but tastey in it’s own way. I miss naan bread. Then back to Nanao city center for adventures in finding the Seihakusai (huge traditional style floats). Human powered and almost too big for the streets. Some folks had poles to push the float away from their homes so nothing was damaged.

This is one of the decayama at the Seihakusai festival.

Thursday: Last day of the Seihakusai festival!

Mmmm festival junk food...

Friday: I had to work (boo!) so Joel fended for himself. Walked to the conbini and bought his own food. What a champ. Had Gogo’s Curry and bought some ridiculous Engrish shirts at AL Plaza.

He loves this shirt.

Saturday: We got up early and tried again for the aquarium with much greater success. It was the first time Joel had even seen a dolphin show. Also, first donburi experience and I think he really liked it. I love those little eateries next to the aquarium. Then we headed over to get lost between Shika and Togi town while finding a sweet cave and the world’s longest bench. Yay for aimless adventures!

Joel kept hitting his head on the tank and was not pleased with me.

It just keeps going and going and...

Sunday: Rising early, we left for Komatsu, stopping along the way at Kahoku Aeon mall and some cute little rock beaches in Komatsu. We even found a shinto temple and accidently walked around during a service. There were other people there just meandering like us but I still felt out of place and didn’t take any photos of it.

He's got a bad face on but really, we were enjoying ourselves. I swear.

It amazes me he survived all of that in one piece. And not a touch cranky the whole time! What a champ. For more photos, go here.

With love – M

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