With the plague of disease running through our family during our visit to Japan, it has been very disappointing to say the least. I mean, come on. We had to cancel our trip to Tokyo Disneyland and the trip to the hot springs in Izu. Essentially we flew half-way across the world so we could sit and cough on someone else’s couch. Well, actually, they only have a loveseat that sits two, so Aya and I have been coughing at the dining table instead. We came this far for this!? Other than getting a donut from Mister Donut (during our last trip I conquered Mister Donut), and many trips to the grocery store directly across the street, we haven’t done anything or been anywhere since we’ve arrived. Womp womp.
But when I stopped pouting and dropped the whoa-is-me attitude, I realized it really hasn’t been that bad.
For one, I’m in Japan! This place is so different from where I live that doing almost anything seems exciting. For example, the toilet is in a room all by itself and has a sink on the back of the toilet tank. And the bathtub is controlled by a computer and fills up and stops all by itself directly to the temperature you set. It even has an intercom that connects to the kitchen. If I’m soaking in the bath I could ring my mother-in-law in the kitchen for snacks and some tea. How weird is that? I wouldn’t dare, but I could if I wanted to.
All those mundane trips to the grocery store are pretty fascinating too. We hung out there a lot during our last trip. “Wow, look! Roasted squid potato chips!” Oh look, “Fish! And fish guts, fish brains, dried fish, fish cakes, and seaweed, rows and rows of seaweed!” How cool! I also learned you can buy celery as individual stalks, for the low low price of 198 yen. That’s like two bucks for one celery stalk! That’s crazy, but convenient. It’s also clementine season here too, but they call them “mikan” instead. Persimmon season also. Those are called “kaki.” Not to be confused with “kaki,” though. Those are oysters. Yes, it is confusing because it’s the same word. It’s a good thing I never know what’s going on over here.
Secondly, Ellie and Chloe have been sponges picking up the Japanese language. For Chloe it’s mostly been just a few words, but Ellie is speaking full sentences now. She’s able to carry on small conversations with Aya and her parents. Just over a week and it’s been incredible watching her soar.
While dealing with sick kids on vacation is hardly a break and barely relaxing, I’m at least getting a break in the kitchen. We are eating, and eating really really well. From eating at home to ordering pizza, the food has been fantastic! Even the take-out bento boxes from the grocery store have been awesome.
The other benefit of having sick kids at your in-laws house is that I’m not home alone with the kids while Aya is at work. Everybody has been helpful. Even the jetlag has been helpful. The girls have been falling asleep quickly and easily (for the most part) earlier than their usual bedtime giving us a quiet evening. This is something we rarely get at home. I’ve had so much down time I’m 100 pages into my third book since I’ve been here and I’m on episode 7 of Serial. I may have a sore throat while reading, but I’ve enjoyed the quiet time.
Even though we’ve had our share of cranky, screaming, whining kids, there has also been tons and tons of sweetness. Ellie made Chloe a get well card all on her own. Chloe’s face just lit up when she opened it too. Ellie has really kicked in as big sister and showed her little sister tons of extra love. The girls have been so excited with all the family time that even we’ve been getting extra hugs and cuddles too (not kisses, don’t want those contaminated mouths near me).
As disappointed as the adults are, Ellie and Chloe have no idea what they are missing, and they don’t care. They are just happy to be here and have “sleepovers at Miko-chan and Jiji’s house!” I think I am too.
But maybe we can get out tomorrow, because I’m getting tempted to use the intercom in the bathtub. I’m pretty sure that won’t go over well.