Saturday morning, Yoshiko came down to Utsunomiya and dropped Keita and I off at Ray's place for lunch while she enjoyed her freedom from our little monster to do some shopping. Once again, proof that our little man is never happier than when he's eating... here he is with Ray's eldest daughter.
And with the Ray man himself. Keita enjoyed his time here, not only because of the easily accessible food, but the family's pet rabbit and the number of cute Japanese girls willing to spend time with him.
In the afternoon, after stopping by AEON to show off Keita, I met up with Stacy and met her little guy, 3 month old Jyouji, for the first time. Cute little feller, and he behaved quite well as we hung out at the new Tochigi Government building, which has an observatory on the top floor. Here's the view up Kencho, with the leaves well on their way.
And a view of the grounds of Futara-yama shrine, an oasis of green in the concrete jungle of Utsunomiya.
Afterwards, we headed out to Metro for my final visit this trip, and enjoyed some great coffee and mont blanc desserts. I'll miss their Vietnamese Curry! We then headed out to the Lion's Head's hopping Halloween party... Really quite sad that the changes have served to empty the place out. By the time we'd finish work on Saturdays, this place was always packed... and here is is empty on a Saturday night, and Halloween on top of that... sigh. I guess the whole economy thing also isn't helping. I noticed on Friday night that the streets were practically empty when we left the bar at 1:30AM. That was never the case before, with crowds always huddling outside the entrances of bars and karaoke places along o-dori. It was really strange to be able to see and feel a recession that we, living in a government town, just haven't felt the effects of.
I ended up leaving on a 10PM train, quite tired from the running around and with a little more of it to do!
On Sunday morning, I loaded up Keita's car seat onto our little travel dolly and took the little man to Utsunomiya for lunch with Aiichirou and Fumi. He was quite serious on the train the whole way, especially as more and more people piled on. He loves trains though, and started mooing at cows as we passed a farm, to the delight of those around us on the train. Ever the little flirt, he was all smiles when a group of high school girls started paying attention to him. My first solo train trip with the little guy went off without a hitch. We arrived to Aiichirou in the kitchen, preparing a Chinese feast for us. Keita as usual wasn't interested in waiting for all the dishes to come out, getting down to business early.
I was impressed at how well he did, since he's been acting out being out of his element the last couple of weeks. It helped that their house had lots of space and lots of places for him to run around.
And here we are on Monday, less than 48 hours from flying out. We dropped by Yoshiko's friend's noodle factory earlier, nice little place... and we made out like bandits with a bag full of noodles and soup stock fresh off the factory floor.
Now our thoughts turn to the flight back. A quick look at the seating on the flight tells me we'll have lots of empty seats around us (Yay bad economy!) which will make things easier for sure. The packing begins tomorrow.