Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Summer Wind

It seems the one year mark has snuck by us quite stealthily and I guess we must have enjoyed it because we've signed on for one more year. Of course we miss home, the things there, and sometimes even some of the people... but this run has been given a great boost of endurance from our many guests over the course of the summer.

Last YOU (our faithful fans) saw, we were singing karaoke with Meaghan, then she left and we were wearing yukata (summer kimonos). Hmm.... well, that does skip one little sub-plot we call CLIMBING MOUNT FUJI!!! We still owe you a healthy dose of pictures from that excursion, and I promise they WILL come eventually!

Just a few weeks after Meaghan left, a little group known as "my family" popped in for a visit! Understandably, they are very eager to be featured here on the blog (Fictional magazine recently rated appearance on this blog 8.7 points Cooler - using the standard international system - than appearing on Saturday Night Live), so I'll use this space to introduce them:

Meet (from left): KEVIN - sporting a jinbe top for maximum summer comfort, DAD, MOM, myself and Tara, and my older sister YOUSHINA SHIMASHITA.
This is atop Kyoto station on just their 3rd night in Japan!

HEY LOOK!!! It's the GUPPY; my long-told-of-yet-never-shown-vehicle! Well, sadly this first time will also be the last that the Guppy is shown, as he met an unfortunate end (specifically the end of a blue car) a couple weeks ago when I missed a stop sign. I'm fine, and nobody was hurt badly, but Guppy is damaged beyond the point that he's worth repairing. For the time being I'm back to doing my job entirely by bicycle!

Back to the family visit... I had 10 days off work for summer holidays, during which we did a whirlwind tour of Kyoto, Nara, and Tokyo. Much of the rest of the time was spent enjoying the casual lifestyle in our little town, Ichinomiya.

Here are mom and I outside a coffee shop where we tried "morning service", which is a breakfast free with the purchase of any drink. breakfast.
We later tried a few other cafes but this one (just down the street from our house) proved to have the BEST free breakfast around. The "Canadian Coffee House" may have been the skimpiest breakfast, or maybe we were just disappointed because we expected special Canadian treatment.

Kevin had a chance to enjoy these stylish Japanese floor chairs. He enjoyed them so much that he decided to buy one and take it back to Canada.
He was also a big fan of the jinbe, which he wore for most of his time in Japan, at least until he found organic cotton hippy pants in Tokyo.

Everyone found Kyoto beautiful, and it was also unanimously agreed to be HOT. The heat combined with the huge crowds (during Japan's biggest summer holiday) meant that we couldn't walk far without seeking shade and drinks.
Despite the intense humidity, we managed to make our way around to some great spots.
Of course, the ever-convenient vendors of ice-cold drinks, proved to be one of the most popular sites with everyone.

Maybe it was partly due to the heat, but the summer feels like a blur! It was great to have so much family time this summer and now that the end of September is nearing it feels like not long at all before we will be coming back to Canada to celebrate Christmas and New Year's at home. We will be both be home for a little under one month, hopefully arriving in Canada in mid-December.