I don't know how to begin our recap of our recent trip to Japan. It was such a personal trip for me – reconnecting with my paternal relatives, having flashbacks of events from the past, and exploring new places. It had been 11 years since I last visited. So much change and yet so much the same.
I feel like my world has gotten bigger. Is that weird? I've visited many times before so I thought this trip was going to focus on firsts for Brandon and Bruce but I felt like I was experiencing it new all over again. Maybe it's because I'm now older, I'm married, and I have a family? Maybe I was experiencing it from a different perspective? In any case, it was too short. I wish I had more time to spend with each one of my cousins, my aunts, and my grandmother. I wanted to soak in their experiences, their thoughts, and wisdom. I miss them all already... especially 11 of my cousins' children that were all so sweet to my Baby Bear. :)
Our decision to visit Japan was pretty last minute. Brandon won a roundtrip ticket last year and May was the only timeframe that worked with his schedule before the offer expired. No one's complaining... well, except for the inconvenient times he booked for the people that drove us. ;) Brandon flew from LAX to SFO to HND while my dad, Bruce, and I flew direct from LAX to HND. (Free tickets have restrictions.) The times we landed and left Haneda were basically the same due to delays in our flights. So everything worked out.
One thing I want to remember was how quickly Bruce made a friend while waiting at the airport. The sweetest thing ever. *Heart melt* They taught each other how to say hello in their own languages: "Ciao" and "Konnichiwa," they played hide and seek, and Bruce shared his favorite Snoopy book. <3
A huge thank you to my sweet friend Heather who gave me so many suggestions on dealing with my fear of flying. :) I was the calmest I've been in a while which made flying so much easier.
We stayed at my uncle's property in my grandomother's house (first photo) in Adachi, Tokyo. There's two houses on that property so I felt like I had to elaborate. Haha, details! Everyone had worked so hard to put together a ryokan-like space for us. It was a traditional Japanese sleeping arrangement that I wanted Brandon and Bruce to experience so I'm very grateful for that. :)
The next morning, my dad and I had major jet lag so we took a long walk around Nakagawa at 4AM. This was the first eye opener. So much had changed in the neighborhood –new developments, reworked roads, aged buildings, unfamiliar faces (Haha, of course!).
DAY 1: Adachi, Tokyo
Official Day 1 was exploring the neighborhood on foot with Brandon and Bruce. I showed them where I went to elementary school for a few summers, Daddy shared so many childhood stories, walked around the Adachi Ward Museum and the Sano Ikoi no Mori, and we ate freshly baked bread from Pain De Roi, my dad and my favorite local bakery. So. Freakin'. Good.
That night, we had dinner with all of my dad's brother's children and grandchildren. It was so fun that we forgot to take any pictures! Even with a language barrier, Bruce was able to get along and play with all 11 grandchildren. How lucky they are to have such a huge tight knit group of family members! My sisters need to get busy! ;)
I hope this doesn't turn into a 10 post series but more to come soon! :)
Lots of Smiles, Akiyo