After an overnight flight from Bangkok to Kansai I took a bus to Iku's house, who lives outside of Kyoto.
Cara and Rory had been staying at Iku's mom's house, with Iku, for a couple days.
That morning Cara and Rory made an American breakfast, complete with grits! Too bad I was still feeling that mystery Laos barf disease and could not truly enjoy it.
After my first hot shower in two weeks Cara, Rory and I headed to the Osaka aquarium- Kaiyukan.
Cara and Rory had been shown around by Japanese people since they had been in Japan. As I became in charge of the situation I assumed the role of crazy Aunt Caity ... I think Rory was a little nervous about how much trust he should put into me.
The aquarium was super.
We found some comfy seats and posted up in front of a tank for long time, just chit chatting like it was regular.
I was feeling a little delirious having not really eaten anything and coming off an overnight flight. When we made it back to Iku's I tried to appreciate the beautiful Japanese meal Iku's mom had made, but I had to get under the kotatsue and put my head on a pillow.
Cara sat next to me and we snuggled a little and Rory probably tried to play footsie with me under the kotatsue or something.
It felt like we were hanging out on Sylvan street! Everyone sitting on the floor and me falling asleep while everyone was hanging out.
Then Brad came!
Japan friends and Greensboro friends collided! We all slept in the same room! We all woke up together! We all ate breakfast together!
The next afternoon the four of us took a bus to Naruto. I got my car and Cara, Rory and I were off to the deep inaka of Ikeda.
Cara cut my hair, we made french toast, and I used all three of my coffee cups at the same time.
We went up to Hashikuasan temple. It was the middle of the afternoon, on a weekday, so no one was really up there.
The top of the mountain was quiet and peaceful. And some remains of snow allowed for an old fashioned snowball fight.
We sang Dick in a Box and made a short clip of PALs in Japan.
The following day Cara and Rory headed to school with me. The entire day was dedicated to question and answer sessions, with the entire school. 1st and 2nd grade. Then 5th and 6th grade. Then 3rd and 4th grade.
We played games with the 3rd and 4th grade and ate lunch with the 5th and 6th grade.
That night we HIT Ikeda TOWN!
We ate Okinawan food and headed to Bar G to get our drink on. Then things got crazy at the snack bar.
Snack bars are over priced karaoke bars. Woman come from various parts of Asia to wear slutty clothes and bring in some Yen from Japanese business men.
Cara and I sang Milkshake and got our dance on.
The old Japanese men thought we were crazy and the snack bar hostesses thought we were cute.
I was wearing overalls and a turtle neck. Another time in my life when I found myself with more clothes on than all of the females in the bar combined.
Rory and I held hands and sang Simon and Garfunkel's -America and I think it was decided that it is one of the best songs ever written.
Then the snack lady asked, "How about Britney Spears?"
Cara and I said, "Hell yea!"
And we sang Hit me Baby one more Time.
About the time I finally got rid of my hangover we boarded an overnight bus for Tokyo.
We arrived in Tokyo early Saturday morning and things just continued to work out.
We went to the fish market early that morning and the National Science Museum that afternoon. We found a lovely sushi restaurant for lunch and I continued to gorge myself on dessert food.
As our time together winded down I had picked up a cold and was totally exhausted from all my travels. That just made the entire situation feel regular.
But instead of a overwhelming lethargic feeling coming from slight depression and substance abuse, as I experienced in Greensboro. I was wiped out from feeling overly stimulated with joy and enthusiasm from the past 2 and a half weeks.
We said our goodbyes Sunday morning on a subway car and as Cara and Rory disappeared into the tunnel I could still not believe that they had actually come to Japan!
I left Tokyo that night after having successfully navigated around the city and spent some time in a thrift shop that was playing a Sublime covers CD.
It was a phenomenal couple of weeks.
Monday was a holiday and the first day I had to myself, not traveling, since December 22nd.
I walked around Ikeda, Ipod in tow and listened to Sleater- Kinney- Modern Girl on repeat. Yea, that is a little cheesy, but I could not have dreamed up a better couple weeks.
But now that that is over with I am wondering what is next ...