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I almost can’t believe that a week ago we were still in Japan. We took our son and family to the fabulous brunch at the New Sanno Hotel, and then our son and grandson stayed on for a swim in the pool. Our grandson ended up staying with us for dinner as well, and for fun we ordered from room service – he was amazed when they brought our dinner to our room. The cost for room service was actually very affordable, and prices were no more than we would have paid downstairs in the restaurant.
It was a bit of a shock coming home to Kauai’s warm weather, especially since it was still kind of cool-ish when we left. On Monday morning in Japan I woke up to a greeting on Facebook letting me know snow was expected that day in Minato-ku, the area of Tokyo where we were staying. The snow never arrived, at least not before we left, but it was very cold and rainy, and snow was definitely a possibility. Our son bought us lunch that day from a nearby hamburger restaurant (I had a bowl of minestrone), and we left for the airport at around 3:30 in the afternoon. We found six more flavors of KitKits at the airport – melon, sakura-green tea, Japanese strawberry, roasted tea, apple, and Okinawan sweet potato – bringing our total number of flavors for this trip to 17, a new record. We have all our KitKits in a big bowl, and Brett and I are allowing ourselves one a day, after dinner each evening.
My back bothered me a bit after we got back, but nothing like last fall and it’s fine now. I’m being very careful though, and trying not to overdo things until I’m sure it’s OK. I actually think that dragging around my heavy carry-on bag is what causes the back issues (because I dragged around a heavy bag last summer too).
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: I never even started A Man Called Ove and my free library download ended, so I put myself on the hold list again and in the meantime I’ve downloaded A Burglar’s Guide To the City, by Geoff Manaugh. It’s a non-fiction, architectural look at how burglars think about breaking into every type of building. It’s very interesting and entertaining – I’m learning all sorts of things (not that I plan to go out and break in anywhere).
- Listening to: It’s currently very quiet in the house – YaYu is in her room, and Brett just left for his daily walk on the beach path. Today he’s walking from Donkey Beach south to Kealia Beach (the one closest to our house) and back before driving home. It’s warm and sunny outside, but with a nice breeze blowing that I can hear rustling the trees. Loads of birds are singing (and I hear some roosters in the distance) – it’s a beautiful day!
- Watching: Brett and I finished up all the available episodes of Ripper Street, and are getting ready to start This Is Us on Hulu tonight. Last night we watched the movie Loving – such a beautiful film. We’ve also discovered that all seasons of The Great British Bake-Off are available on YouTube, and since we have a smart TV we’re going to try to slip in a few of those as well this week.
- Cooking/Baking: Everyone was on their own for breakfast this morning: YaYu had one of the specialty cup noodles she brought back from Japan, I had yogurt with strawberries and blueberries, and Brett had oatmeal with blueberries and soy milk. Tonight I’m making the baked chili rellenos topped with green chili sauce that I didn’t get to make before we left along with some yellow rice and coleslaw. No baking today – we brought home more than enough treats from Japan that I doubt I’ll need to bake this entire month.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: I recovered from jet lag pretty quickly this time, although the first couple of days after we got home were rough. Brett and I got all of our “big shop” for the month accomplished, and came in under budget. It was difficult getting back on the exercise bike again, mainly because my feet and legs hurt so much after all the walking we did in Japan, but I’ve gotten back up to three rides a day, and am incorporating a HITS in each ride. I’ve picked up Portuguese again, for 10 minutes a day now, but I sure did forget a lot while we were gone. I found though that 10 minutes helps me retain what I learn – more than that and I start forgetting things – so I’ve backed that down from 20 minutes. I’ve given up with Rosetta Stone Japanese even though I only have one more lesson to go – all that work, and what they taught was pretty much worthless in Japan. I could barely understand anything or say anything. Hopefully I can find something else that’s more effective.
- Looking forward to next week: I’m hoping Brett and I can get to the beach at least once. I’m of course looking forward to my daily KitKat – I close my eyes when I reach into the bowl and never know what flavor I’ll be having. But, they’ve all been good and I’ve been happy with every choice (I had sake last night – yowza!). I’m not sure I’m looking forward to having a gastrointestinal endoscopy (GUI) done on Tuesday, but hopefully it will all be good news.
- Thinking of good things that happened: We had an absolutely fabulous time in Japan – everything about the trip went right from start to finish. We loved meeting our new granddaughter and getting to spend time with her – she is such a happy, calm baby. Our grandson is a bundle of energy (he’s six!), but so smart and funny, and so much fun to be around. Our son and daughter-in-law spoiled us rotten, taking us out to eat several times, buying our train tickets, offering us advice and directions, and so forth. I was able to bring home three small loaves of the best raisin bread ever from the bakery near my son’s condo – it went into the freezer here, and I’m allowing myself one slice every Monday for breakfast to make it last. On top of the $87.43 we set aside during our stay, this past week we put an additional $14.21 into the change/$1 bill jar.
- Reporting losses and gains for the quarter: I lost another six pounds last month, bringing my total weight loss so far to 14 pounds! All that walking in Japan sure made a difference. We have so far saved $1801.71 toward our goal of saving $7000 this year for next year’s Big Mystery Adventure™. If we can keep up the pace we will make it, but it’s not going to be easy . . . we have lots coming up for the girls this year, and Brett needs to get new glasses, among other things.
- Grateful for: I am thankful every day for my wonderful husband of 38 years. Brett and I had our anniversary this past week, but won’t “officially” celebrate until later this month. When I joined the navy back in 1977, as I headed off to my first duty station my mother’s parting words were, “for heaven’s sake, whatever you do, don’t marry a sailor!” Others told me that our marriage would never last. But here we are, still in love, still best friends, and still enjoying each other’s company. Brett’s sister thought it was awful at one point that I didn’t want to participate in all of Brett’s hobbies and activities, but that’s one of the things that I love about our relationship, that each of us appreciates that the other is a different, whole person, with different likes and interests. We do share the “important” stuff though, about money, child rearing, politics, and such. Every day with Brett has been a blessing. My mother, by the way, thought Brett was wonderful from the moment she met him, and totally approved of my marrying a sailor!
- Bonus question: What new things did you learn in Japan this time? I learned a new word, mamonaku, which I kept hearing over and over whenever we rode the train and subway (something I never heard on Rosetta Stone). It means “shortly,” like “shortly, the train will be arriving at xxx station.” Our son also pointed out that ticket machines in Japan will accept and make change from what is the equivalent of a $100 bill (10,000¥). I had never noticed that before, but you can buy a ticket for around $1.40, and get around $98.60 back in change if all you have is a 10,000¥ bill! Kind of nuts, but very convenient.
That’s it from Casa Aloha this afternoon! How was your week? What did you accomplish? What good things happened for you?