Today has been kind of a lazy day. Noriko, Kazu and I went to a water park this morning to cool off. It was a really big place and really crowded because of this hot weather. My observation there was that you rarely see over weight Japanese people. Tokyo supposedly has the highest life expectancy rate in the world and I can see why…they eat healthy and get a lot of exercise…bike riding, walking etc. Women do not wear the skimpy bathing suits like they do in the US but I did see a few teen aged girls in bikinis. The highlight was definitely the middle aged man wearing a multi colored neon thong ha! Not really a highlight but he stuck out like a sore thumb and sure he wanted attention. It made me chuckle at least. I imagined my step sons would have gone nuts at this place with all of the water slides…it was really pretty cool. But TOO HOT. I cannot believe I am complaining of weather being too hot! After the water park we stopped by McDonalds…yes, they are more fit than us but they do enjoy McDonalds! And I had the BEST quarter pounder with cheese and coke! After lunch we came home and cleaned out Kazu’s blow up pool and filled it with water to enjoy for the rest of the week. After a shower and a nap I am ready for dinner. Noriko had to meet colleagues from work tonight so I am here with her husband Aki and Kazu. I plan to go to bed early because her dad booked us a Tokyo bus tour for tomorrow so that I can see all of the sites…I am very excited about that! Noriko will be at work so I have a date with just her Dad and looking forward to it. When I was here another time I took a day trip with him to Nikko and it was a very memorable trip. He likes to explain the history of things and teach me about Japanese culture.
For those of you I asked to follow me here…I am not checking email much…just this. I am doing my best with everything that is going on in my life at home. I am on the other side of the world right now but my thoughts are still with me…it is hard at times but I know I am very fortunate for so many things regardless of my situation. Today I am thankful to be alive.
Today we woke up early and had breakfast with Noriko’s Dad…I had not seen him since 2007 on my second visit here so it was nice to catch up 🙂 We got ready to go meet her brother Ken and his family at her mom’s cemetery. It is tradition for the family to all go there together twice per year to add fresh flowers, clean the grave with water and pray. I was honored to be a part of this. I met her mother on my first trip here in Dec 1998/January 1999 and she was an amazing lady.
Afterwards we went to Okura Hotel in Chiba for lunch…it was a very nice buffet and I ate too much! We then went to Toys R Us to buy her oldest niece Natsumi a birthday gift…she is 9 years old today. After lunch and shopping we returned home for a much needed nap then a walk to the store to buy food to make for dinner. It started raining as we were walking back and it felt amazing…it is SO hot and humid here…record breaking temps this summer. After a cold shower I am uploading pictures and getting ready for dinner. My appetite has been gone for a while and since traveling it is coming back. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing 🙂
Today I am thankful for family and for my friend allowing me to be a part of hers 🙂
Today was a VERY long day but I made it safely to my friends house in Japan. It started with a 3 hour drive Thursday to Indianapolis in the pouring rain. I slept in the car for 4-5 hours before going to the airport (yes, I was safe 🙂 ) After departing Indy at 7am I arrived in Toronto, Canada for a 5 hour delay. The highlight there was finding a Tim Hortons! My flight from Toronto to Tokyo was 12 hours and I somehow lucked out and had 3 seats to myself. I was able to stretch out and sleep a lot. They served 3 meals and I think I slept for a few hours after eating each time. Traveling is so hard lol I doubt I will be so lucky to have that much space on the return trip so I savored every bit of it!
After arriving at Narita airport…going through customs and grabbing my bag…I found my friends waiting for me. They are like family to me and it was GREAT to see them. When we walked out of the airport it was like a sauna…very hot and humid. I have never been here when it was this hot so I wish I had brought more shorts! We stopped at a sushi restaurant on the way home…I will try to upload a picture tomorrow. The sushi travels on little plates on a conveyor past your table and you pick which kind you want. It is like a traveling buffet of sushi! When finished there is a slot where your plate goes where it disappears. Somehow they keep track of the used plates to calculate your bill and when you are finished you win a prize depending on how many plates you discarded. There were four of us and my friends husband and son eat A LOT so her son (Kazu) won a toy which made him happy 🙂 The first of many cool things I am sure I will see while here over the next couple of weeks.
After a shower and a soak in the hot tub…I am ready for bed. We are waking up early to go meet Noriko’s brother and family.
Today I am thankful for extra room on airplanes! And for friendship. I wouldn’t be in Japan right now if not for my very good friend…she is more like a sister/mom actually which I need.
I will be on an airplane beginning my very long journey in about 24 hours from now. I am excited to be able to take such a trip but it is bittersweet because I hoped to be taking my significant other with me this time but instead I will be traveling alone. Sometimes some things that we really want are just not meant to be.
I witnessed an amazing thing last night. A dog who had puppies the day before was able to nurse puppies from a different mommy who had given birth to her litter a week earlier. (I hope that makes sense 🙂 ) The adopted mommy was in discomfort because she only gave birth to 2 puppies and needed relief because she had too much milk. It was awesome to see the “adopted mom” take in the “strange” babies to nurse and vice versa. There was such a gentle loving innocence about it. It reminded me that love knows no bounds.
I wake up this morning not thinking about puppies exactly but thinking about love. If you love someone you fight for them. You never give up. Sometimes you have to let go if they do not receive your love…but at least you know in your heart that you tried.
Today I am thankful for LOVE 🙂
I was sitting at a stop light today and saw a lady in need with a sign “homeless please help.” I realized I didn’t have any money except a handful of change in my cup holder. I rolled down the window and gave her the change and told her I was sorry that was all I had. She thanked me with such sincerity that one would have thought the pennies, nickels, dimes and a few quarters was a millions dollars. I felt bad that I couldn’t give her more.
In the past I was more skeptical. Why aren’t they working? Are they going to use the money for drugs or alcohol? More recently my outlook has changed. It doesn’t matter why they are in need…it is my responsibility to do as much as I can. My inspiration has been loved ones in my life. I didn’t realize how good it made me feel inside to be able to help even if just a little bit. I feel a great need and desire inside to do so much more and I am trying to figure out what/how…I pray that God will give me direction.
Today I am thankful for being able to help others who are less fortunate than me. Instead of dwelling on what I do not have… I do KNOW that I am truly blessed.
I leave in 4 days to take a long journey to visit my best friend, Noriko. I am in need of her company right now and time spent with her and her family will be good for my soul. She has been there for me through all of my ups and downs in my life since college…I am so thankful to have her! I told her I hoped to just relax and spend time hanging out at her house but I am sure she has a fun filled itinerary for us anyway! And that is ok 🙂 I will be writing about my experiences here so that I can remember later. When in a different country it is easy to forget all of the details and names and places you go! Especially if you cannot read or understand the language. Luckily I will have a good interpreter and awesome tour guide. I will be spoiled for almost 2 weeks and I have no complaints about that 🙂
Today I met another old dear friend who I had not seen in probably 20 years. We met for lunch and I laughed more in an hour and a half than I have in the last couple of months combined. She and I were inseparable from 5th grade through senior year. This is a person who truly KNOWS me…even though years have passed that has not changed. I hope that we continue to rebuild our friendship…true friends are hard to come by!
Today I am thankful for friendship 🙂