Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Eagle Landed....A Day Early

One of the keys to planning vacation travel in a foreign land is making sure that you know what time and day you are landing in that far away place. Between my family and I, we got our dates jacked up and my loved ones decided to come to visit a day early. After a couple of rushed phone conversations and a five minute bike sprint to the train station, I was chugging toward my family almost three and a half hours away. I felt really bad about not being there to greet them and I felt worse when confronted by the cold hard fact that we may not make it back to my house that night due to train schedules. Fortunately, everything worked out in the end and we were able to land a spot on the last train to Fukuchiyama for the night. We ended up getting back to my house at almost 1:30am.

From the start, my parents were emerged in some of the finer Japanese cultural experiences, such as drunk guys talking them. While aboard our final train ride of the evening, we were befriended by a sloshed and very talkative kid. He actually spoke pretty good English but for what he didn't know in English, I knew in Japanese and for a half an hour we conversed with our inibriated friend. We spoke on topics ranging from our belief in God to the Beach Boys and frankly, I feel my family is better for it. They now know what I go through at least once a week.

Soon, they were all confronted with the paradox of Japanese toilets and that was also fun. Finally, I led my mom into a convenience store at 4am and let her behold the world of Japanese snack food. After that, everyone crashed....except for me. My family, myself included, are not a group of quiet sleepers. I have a tendancy to talk in my sleep. My mom snores rather loudly and my dad and brother do their part in the nocturnal orchestra as well. I however, have slept in total silence for the vast majority of the past six months and was not used to this aural onslaught. I think I slept a total of two or three hours last night. Oh yeah, they realized my apartment looks bigger in the pictures than it does in real life; I warned them.

Today was pretty fun. It being a Sunday here, everyone is chilling with their family today and we went to my local department store to people watch. My family now shares my opinion that Japanese kids, girls especially, have to be about the cutest kids in the world. We were also a four person freakshow for all of the natives and while I found it kind of unsettling, my family got a kick out of all of the stares. Everyone likes Japanese grocery stores and their funny marketing gimmicks and the abundance of vending machines is enjoyed by all as well.

Tomorrow, depending on the weather, I am going to take them to either Osaka or Himeji. If its nice, we will visit the castle, if its rainy, Osaka. Either one should be new for them and I like both places as well. I will post later on how all of that goes. Its good to see all of them again and I am enjoying their reactions to some of the aspects of my daily life.

I know today was supposed to be a rice paddy update but while we visited the paddies, I did not take any pictures. I will try to get them on here tomorrow, the paddy is growing swiftly. As for now, I think I am taking them to my favorite ramen place for dinner. It should be mildly entertaining to watch my brother try to tackle eating noodles with chopsticks. I have money riding on him giving up after ten minutes and making me ask for a fork for him. Maybe I will be surprised but if I were a betting man, I would be putting strong money on Western eatting utensils right now.


At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Tony said...

Tonight! East meets West as the Chaplin family gathering takes to Japan!

Incidentally, I'm eating suggested curry dish. Tony gains 3500 xp for cooking!


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