Days 8 and 9
After that full night of rest, I was ready to face my last full day in Japan. Our first stop was to a home that was over 500 years old. The floors were wooden and had mats on them but otherwise, they cooked the same way as the farmers did in Germany that I saw last year. They had a cooking pot hung over a fire in the center of the home. From what I could tell, that was the only source of warmth for the entire house.
It was chilly that day so I could imagine how cold it probably got inside the house. There was a shrine similiar to Yoko’s grandmother’s shrine in her home. Both of the shrines were similiar to the one below.
After we toured the home, clear up into the second attic beneath the rafters, we headed towards the paper making business. All of us made our own paper, the size of a place mat. When Nathan returned home, he framed his.
We made paper just as it has been done for years. We dipped our screens into a slush and tipped it from side to side and front to back. When we did that several times and all the water was removed, the backing was removed and the paper was dried. It was a fun experience.
We toured the Gokyama Heritage Village by walking around on the paths. There are people actually living in the homes. The thick thatched roofs were very interesting. They are very steep.
From the village we went to lunch at a five star restaraunt within a hotel. The food was exquisite. We shopped and then returned to Yoko’s parents’ home for our luggage. I really didn’t get much of a chance to talk with her parents. If you know anything about Gulliver and his Lilliputian friends, that’s how I felt with them. I was at least six inches taller than her father, and almost 8″ taller than either of her grandmothers. My son, who is only 5’9″ towers over them.
After gathering our bads, Nathan and I headed for the train station for our return trip home. The whole family took us there to see us off. Yoko stayed behind to visit with her parents for a couple more days. We arrived home after another two hours about 10 p.m.
The next morning I casually packed and once again took a train ride to the airport. Nathan was going to put me on the express at the Tokyo station but decided to accompany me to the airport instead. It was supposedly a two hour train ride from his apartment. We got half way from the Tokyo station (an hour from his house) and the train stopped. We had to catch a train going the opposite way all the way back to the Tokyo station and then catch another train line to the airport. We had arranged plenty of time so I would have two hours to spare waiting for my flight. That went out the window.
We arrived back in Tokyo station and had to wait in line. There were quite a few of us in the station going to the airport and changing lines. They just started waving us through without a ticket. There was another young man about my son’s age that stuck with us. He was very interesting to talk with. Jack, from Comedy Central, if you read this, thanks for the help. He and Nathan struck up a conversation with me joining in from time to time. That put Nathan in a slightly better mood. He doesn’t handle changes too easilly. What had been a total of a planned four hours on the train going to and from his home was now approaching six.
No one ever came by on the train to ask us to pay for tickets. That saved me about $20.00. Had I taken the express as Nathan originally planned, it would have been $30. I was feeling lucky.
We finally arrived at the station. We had to travel to the fourth floor up four more escalators. When we reached the floor, what I thought would just be Continental, was the ticket desks for about a dozen airlines. It must have been a walk of at least two football fields before we began to reach the right area. Because of the time cruch, a new desk area just for the passengers of our flight was opened up. We were greeted with people holding signs saying “Houston” and beakoning us to head toward the counter. I thought Nathan would surely leave, but he waited until I had my bags all checked in. The ticket agent had put a large yellow sticker on my boarding pass with 20 printed on it. From that point I had twenty minutes before the doors closed on the jet.
All I had time for was a quick good-bye and hug at that point for my son. I had wished to talk with him a few more minutes, but that was out of the question. I had those two football fields to traverse in the opposite direction after going through security.
I made it to the boarding area and was stopped one more time. This time it was off with the shoes, open my purse, and wand me. From what I understand, they choose every eighth person to more closely inspect. I watched as others hurried by.
I reached the door with 90 seconds to spare. I was one of the last persons to board. Fortunately I once more had an aisle seat. The two women who came in after me took the middle and window seat. I was very thankful they did not ask to let them out more than twice. That’s a lot of sitting for that long of a flight. The flight was very turbulent at times but I had taken my super Benadryl sleep aid and, although I was aware of it, I didn’t let it bother me.
We arrived back at Houston pretty much on time. I couldn’t find any water fountains and was very dehydrated so I bought a pack of 15 pieces of gum and a liter of water for $5.00. I’m glad I don’t have to travel all that much.
The plane ride home was late by 1/2 hour. I tried to call my friend, Judy, who was picking me up in Dallas but my cell phone was dead. She had been waiting all that extra time. Fortunately, she was still in a good mood about it.
Before she took me home, we picked up my computer so I could blog the next day. Unfortunately, Sam forgot to give me back the power cord so I had to wait the whole day to get back on my computer. It was then that I realized what a total addict I am to this blogging.
Last week I spent the whole week recuperating, only venturing out to visit a neighbor and share her birthday supper with her. Today I went to church. I guess I’m feeling completely recovered once again. It was a wonderful trip. I am not sure when I will be able to see Nathan again and that makes me sad. If I can, I may fly up to Indiana where he will be on staff of a summer school, although I agree with him that there is very little to do at the lake.
I think I have lost him to Japan and Yoko for the forseeable future and that makes me kind of sad.
One of my favorite philosphers kind of soothes my feelings when he talks about children. Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet says, “They have come through you but not from you. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit. Life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.” Well, I may be a bow but I never thought my arrow would end up thinking of making Japan his home for the foreseeable future. Such is life.
At least we don’t get in many arguments this way. Namaste. Attic Annie