Hanah's and Sonny's Grandparents from Japan visited us shortly after Sonny was born. I guess, a grandson rates a special effort. They were gracious and friendly.
A few years later, it was an anniversary of Taka'd Grandmother's passing away. His clan in Japan decided to transfer her to a different burial place and have a special ceremony/celebration in the honor of that event. We were invited.
That was the year when Taka worked at the Electronics for Imaging. The new company, they courted their talent, rewarded them with trips, money and stock options. We, finally, could afford to live it up!
We didn't just go to Japan by ourselves. We invited my parents and sister and her husband (Lera and Grisha), who lived in Denmark then, to come with us.
Taka had no concept of traveling for the pleasure of it. I made plans that included first stopping in Osaka and Kyoto before going to Nagano, where my in-laws lived. Lera and Grisha flew into Osaka and met us in the morning.
I was deathly serious about putting my best foot forward. New wardrobe had to be carefully chosen and purchased. Its funny, at the times when I have to prove myself, I try to deal with it by dressing well. Mmm, perhaps its not that funny or unusual.
One of my favorite shirts that I bought, was this silk blouse, done in soft yellows and browns and dusty rose. In fact, there were roses on it. As we left our hotel in Osaka in the morning, to get breakfast, the rain just passed. The water was running on the street and into the drain pipes, and by one of the drain pipes lay an abandoned, soaked, mud-sputtered piece of cloth. Taka's words: "It looks just like your shirt!" I felt more confident already!
Packing well is not one of my family's strengths. It just so happened that I didn't pack enough diapers for Sonny. We went to hunt for some more in an only place opened in the evening: a convenience store, but - no diapers. A group of customers gathered to enthusiastically discuss solutions to our problem. They took it pretty close to heart. A lady, who had some diapers at home, pedaled away in a hurry on her bicycle. The rest of us started to exchange the names and addresses.
I focus on this story instead of describing the sites that we saw because I loved to meet and feel the heart of the people in Japan, who many times are described as reserved and inscrutable. They went out of their way to help the guests in their country, without any pomp or snobbishness.
Kansha no kimochi
"gratitude" in Japanese
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