Everything on that trip was a surprise on it's own. Even before we stepped over a pile of shoes in front of Taka's parents' house, we could hear a bunch of kids' voices chanting: "Sanju, Sanju!" Sonny's real name is Sungjoon, and his Japanese cousins changed it to "sanju", which means thirty in their language. My three years old looked at the milling black haired, bright eyed crowd of children and hit one of them right on the nose! He hasn't done anything like that before or ever since! I was so embarrassed, I wanted to fall through the ground. What a way to introduce one's family!
The Toyoda family lavishly prepared for our arrival. They put a queen size bed in my parents' room and purchased a new style toilet bowl. That thing talked to you, washed all the relevant bits of you and even attempted to dry them with gentle whiffs of warm air. It was a pleasure to visit that room!
My family slept Japanese style: on futon mattresses and tiny bean-filled pillows under soft, thick futon comforters. In the morning we put everything away. I loved that way of living: it's much better than generic room decor one finds in every place where one travels!