We met Lera and Grisha, wandered a bit around Osaka and took a train to Kyoto. Did some museum hopping there, marveling at the uniqueness, strength and beauty of Japanese culture
and the cleanliness
and shininess of the school children that we encountered everywhere on the tours. They were so bright, it hurt the eyes!
In Kyoto we also went to see the Kabuki theater and the Japanese tea ceremony.
As we sat in the theater, honestly speaking, understanding very little of the culture and the context of the stage action,
my long suffering children, who behaved beautifully until then, felt, I was asking too much of them.
-"Mommy, mommy, mommy!"
-"Sh-sh!" - I hissed.
Loudly enough now, for the whole theater to hear:
- "I WANT TO P-O-O-P!!"
I took them to the bathroom and we stayed in the lobby until the end of the performance.
The tea ceremony was very interesting and full of meaning even to my ignorant eyes, but our arrival there was less than auspicious.
The ceremony was held in a small hut. According to an explanation, we had to go there through the young bamboo grove, stepping on the stones laid out on the path. Sonny fell asleep, and we didn't want to risk waking him up, knowing how cranky he got. I carried him, Taka held Hanah and the rest of the family walked behind us, following the guide. My mom, Lera and myself were of generous, unseen in Japan proportions. The stones were small and slippery, Sonny - heavy with sleep. I kept tripping and sliding off the stones, grabbing on to the bamboo trees and breaking some of them. At the hut, we were told that the ceremony included us going inside through a small door, just big enough to admit us, crawling on all fours.
Successfully accomplishing that, despite mom's proud objections, we now had to sit on the tatami mats. Mom and dad weren't used to it, but they complied, my mom scowling all the while. Everyone seemed to enjoy the ceremony and understand its meaning: finding beauty in the austerity of life. Everyone, except my mother. She kept grumbling about us having to crawl through the tiny door. A man came in after the ceremony and said in a halting English that, usually, we'd have to leave the same way we came in, through the door, but in our case, his eyes flicked toward the women in our party, to let us out they will take the WALL of the house, woven from bamboo, off. It was not really necessary, but I was too embarrassed to argue with him.
E-mail for comments: firstname.lastname@example.org