Monday, May 26, 2008

Friends

I've come to the realization that I no longer have former co-workers and former students in Japan, all I am left with are friends. Yesterday was a day set aside to get together with some of the people who made my time in Japan memorable, and helped me survive out here in a distant land. Whether it was lending an ear when I needed to whine about something, or packing up the car for a day trip out somewhere, us traveling teachers would be lost without this support structure.

Our first stop of the day was to have lunch with Ray and his family in Utsunomiya. It was a great afternoon and Keita enjoyed meeting everyone... though he is getting to be a bit hard to pin down for photos!


Here is Rina, Ray's youngest daughter, trying to hold on to a slippery Keita. It was quite funny how she quickly turned from being afraid of holding the little guy to not letting him go...


After a couple of hours of being tossed around, Keita started to get whiny so we put him down for a bit of a nap. I'm amazed at how he can sleep anywhere... almost nothing will wake him up once he's snoozing.


After eating for 4 hours at Ray's place, it was time to move on to dinner... ugh! We were meeting up with some folks at a nice place on O-dori called Kurofune Teppan. Here's the group before the festivities got underway.


Unfortunately, it was getting close to Keita's bed time, so he and Yoshiko had to make an early exit, leaving me to my devices with this bunch of hooligans. I must admit, I do not enjoy being limited to a 10:45 last train out of the city once I get together with these friends.

Here I am with Yasuko and Kyoko, whom I specifically remember from my welcome party, in fact, I seem to recall a very similar photo taken at the time, over three years ago now!


To the right of Kotaro, is the new foreign teaching crew in Utsunomiya. Dayne who replaced Matt, and Anthony who replaced me.


Apparently, my camera was circulating around the table for a while, the best way to get candid pics, ne?


As Kurofune was shutting down and kicking us out a little before ten, and my train wasn't until 10:45, I suggested we stop by another bar to kill a bit more time. A fantastic day in Utsunomiya. While I'd have liked to meet a bunch of other people, it gets pretty difficult to do so, especially when one's trip is segmented into travel time and family time. I'll try to do better next time! And there will of course be a next time. Yoshiko and Keita are my permanent link to Japan, and I am quite lucky to have that.

Now it's all over except the packing. We leave tomorrow afternoon for the long drive out to Narita and our 7PM flight, and then it's bye bye Japan. I will of course miss it, though my back will not miss the whole "floor living" thing... cheers!

2 Comments:

Blogger godzilla_rabbit said...

Thanks Michel,
We had a really wonderful time with you.
We always welcome your visit to Japan.
Ray.

6:56 AM  
Blogger Christelle said...

Wow, Keita is getting so big so fast! BTW my son Jonah is finally here, born June 24th :)

9:54 AM  

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