Ann, Carl, and I took the long road to Naruto on Friday afternoon. We stopped at an old mountain onsen along the way. I wiped the fog from my windows and drove slowly through the rain as Ann and Carl slept and did not use tissues. After dinner, I loaned them money for the bus and protested carrying the futons they had been sleeping on in various apartments throughout the week.
When the 5:30 a.m. bus picked them up for the airport Saturday morning I took a deep breath. I drove back as the sun was rising. I thought about getting a cup of coffee and taking in the beginning of the day somewhere. Then I decided to forget it and climbed right back in bed, a little more relaxed.
By Saturday evening I started to miss them. And this morning as I got ready for work, alone, in my apartment, I really missed them.
We spent their first full day in Shikoku at the Ikeda Sake Festival.
Some people drank far too much.
Carl was enthusiastic about making new friends.
We went back to my apartment and got trapped under the kotatsu.
And continued to discover all that Ikeda has to offer.
We took a bus to Hiroshima Monday morning and visited the Peace Memorial Museum. I had never been to Hiroshima so I was pleased to take two days off work for a short trip. Everyone seems to agree that the museum is devastating while remaining completely unbiased.
The city of Hiroshima is beautiful. And I, yet again, tasted what it is like to be in a city surrounded by young people and parks.
The following day we took a ferry to the nearby island of Miyajima and put a little tick mark next to visiting a major Japanese tourist attraction.
My adult conversation class was very kind in having a party for the two visitors.
And I commend Ann and Carl for taking such an interest in this group of people that I see every week.
On Thursday, they continued to be surprisingly interested in Japanese culture when they met every student and teacher at my elementary school.
The school principal was proud to show them around her school and Ann and Carl remained interested in her various briefings on a wide array of things.
Having visitors to Japan and showing them around my life provides a sense of relief.
By the end of the week Ann and Carl had done pretty much every Japanese thing there is to do in Ikeda. They were really good at Kate Bush karaoke. My apartment and car were really messy. I was really tired.
And the Thai hot season will be well worth all the sweat and bottled waters for the good company.