Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Japan Day 13- Mizumaki...

We woke early again, about 5:15, & Brendan was ticcing a lot (more of a Tourette’s type of ticcing, rather than anxiety) so we got him on the computer to watch a video, rather than expecting him to fall asleep again. We were up by 6:15, though. Tomoko & her mom were, too. Nobuko-san had had a tough night, up alot with indigestion from all of the rich foods over the weekend :( The plan had been to go to the post office when it opened, to send a box of things home (mostly books we’d either brought & already read or purchased here) & then hit the mall again. We thought that Shin-kun & Dai-chan had had such a good time with Brendan’s den-gasher that we’d asked their father if we could buy them each one. We also planned to get Brendan another Den-O toy, since we can’t get them in the US. Tomoko let us know that her mom wasn’t feeling well & that she was encouraging her to go to the doctor, & we also encouraged her to go, since our plans were flexible. She puttered around a bit (she helps Keiko-san get the boys off to school most mornings) & rested some, & by about 10:00 it was obvious that she wasn't going to the doctor. She decided she was feeling better & wanted to take us to the post office & store. I felt a little funny about putting her out like this, but she did seem to be feeling better. Brendan was still rather ticcy, but also motivated to get stuff for the boys (yeah, & for himself :), so we all piled into the car & headed out. The post office part of the trip would not have been successful without Tomoko, there were so many questions to be asked & answered, but in about half an hour we had bought a box, loaded & sealed it, & sent it on it’s way by boat (air was far too expensive). I sent a prayer or 2 along with it...

On to the mall. We wanted to make it a quick trip, for Nobuko-san’s sake, but it wasn’t to be. First, there were no more den-gashers. Brendan was getting the “henshin” (transformation) belt, so we got 3 of them, think that the boys would like them, too. Then, when we tried to pay by credit card, they wouldn’t take the very same card I used last Friday... after 15 minutes of trying to sort this out, I gave them our other card & it went through without a problem- go fig. We found Nobuko-san where she was sitting patiently & waiting for us, then she said she wanted to buy some food :) So Charlie & Brendan waited for us & I trailed after, interested in seeing the grocery store. I wish we had such cool foods at our local market! So many kinds of mushrooms, fresh edamame still on the stalks, & too many others to mention. Then, home to put batteries in Brendan’s new “henshin” belt & he was one happy camper :)

It really is cool- plays the special tunes for each Den-O transformation, flashes colours, & responds when you swipe the “chiketto” (ticket) by saying various things. We had some lunch next & then Brendan played for a bit while Charlie went for a walk & I made sure (through Tomoko) that Nobuko-san was really feeling well enough to go through with the planned tea ceremony lesson in the afternoon. She was, so I got ready. Charlie & Brendan settled in the spare room with my computer to watch a Marx Brothers movie.

There’s a particular form of tea ceremony that can be done at a western-style table & that’s what she showed me. First, she made tea twice, once for me & once for Tomoko, so I could watch. Then she “talked” me through it twice, once for herself & once again for Tomoko. It was an amazing expperience. We spent the most time on my trying to master a very intricate fold with a wet linen napkin, used to wash the bowl & catch drips. There was a particular hand to use for specific movements (moving utensils around in a graceful manner). There were particular things to say- I wrote them all down afterward. It was pretty neat. I can see why Nobuko-san enjoys cha-no-yu (tea ceremony) so much & why she's studied it & become a certified tea ceremony master.

Afterward, it was time for Nobuko-san to take Shin-kun & Dai-chan to after-school piano lessons. We worked on our thank-you cards, purchased yesterday, with Tomoko & watched some of the Pokemon Ranger movie until they came home. Nobuko-san had very kindly been worried that the hour & a half that they would be with us after lessons, until their parents got home from work, would be too chaotic for Brendan, so we decided that he could retreat to the spare room if needed & they would watch tv in the dining room. We also requested that Brendan have a snack at 6:00 pm (our usual dinner time at home), to help him self-regulate. This worked very well. Brendan was really ticcy when they got home, so I got him to the spare room & set him up with a computer game. We had decided to wait until their parents got home to give them their henshin belts, so Brendan put his away as well. He did very well playing on the computer, & the boys & I watched the Pokemon Ranger movie again. Nobuko-san made Brendan’s dinner early, rather than just making a snack, & that really helped him. He was in a great mood when it was time to give the boys their belts & happily demonstrated his. They were really excited :) In the end, all of the grownups decided that the belts were a much better choice than the den-gasher anyway :) The boys ended up staying & eating with us, in all the excitement, & then their parents came back to get them at around 8:00. We said our final thanks & good-byes to them. They are such wonderful people & it was really neat to get to know & spend time with them. At some point in these procedings, Brendan lay down on his futon & was fast asleep, in spite of all the noise of stereo henshin belts :) We marvelled at his abilty to fall asleep in the midst of chaos...

The we just chatted for a bit & then decided who would shower when (like the japanese, I am an evening showerer, so there was a line-up every night :).
Tomorrow- off on the shinkansen to Kyoto!

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