We’ve been in Japan for just over a week. My husband and son fly home tonight, but I’m leaving tomorrow due to the quirks of the mileage tickets program.
Japan is perhaps less foreign to someone who has lived in Hawaii for a while, but it is still a very foreign country. My ear has yet to gain familiarity with the language – it was just a couple of days ago when I picked up what someone was saying, and the speaker was a boy of about 3 years of age counting to three. It’s amazing how much of an obstacle this language barrier has created. In European countries I could improvise with a few words and gestures, but here I find it much more difficult. Still, we have encountered such hospitality and kindness as we have blundered our way through!! People on the street have gone out of their way to make sure we found our bus or train or destination.
The other medium of communication that has been universal has been food. We have eaten fabulous meals in both Tokyo and Kyoto – yakiniku we prepared over the hibachi at our table, udon so good we returned a second time, incredibly fresh sushi prepared before our eyes, and tonight we had tempura again cooked right in front of us!! We love to eat, and the chefs loved to see us enjoy our food – no words required! And desserts – oh my!! Good thing we walked miles every day – literally – I’ve worn my pedometer – we walked 6-8 miles every day. The Japanese love their sweets and we’ve had coffee and pastry every afternoon. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but the freshly prepared mochi and the custard filled cream puffs (Sakura filling!!) are at the top of my list.
I’ll be home soon – watch for some Asian inspiration coming from my studio soon!