Day Trip

Today we went on a family day trip to Atami, a coastal hot spring resort town a couple of hours away by train. This means that I’m even further behind on the diary than I was yesterday, because this is a diary entry sort of thing, with pictures. I’m going to have to deliberately set aside some time to get the diary done.

Anyway, we all had a good time. I don’t know exactly what Mayuki enjoyed, but she was a good girl all day, and got upset when we were home and obviously getting ready to send her to bed. I think she enjoys travel; new things to see, and she gets to spend the whole day with Mummy and Daddy. Yuriko particularly enjoyed seeing a house designed by Bruno Taut, a famous pre-war German architect. (Actually, he only designed one floor of the house, so he mainly designed the interior.) I particularly enjoyed visiting a couple of shrines. Fortunately, we both enjoyed the places the other wanted to see, so there was no boredom involved.

We’re trying to teach Mayuki Baby Sign, because it is apparently good for them to communicate before they can manage to frame words. We’re not very good at remembering to teach her, but today at dinner, when Yuriko tried to convince Mayuki that it was delicious, Mayuki tapped her left cheek with her open hand, which is the sign for “delicious”. I don’t know whether Mayuki knows what it means, since Yuriko frequently uses it about things that Mayuki doesn’t want to eat (which isn’t terribly good strategy, now I come to think of it), but she’s clearly connected the word and the sign.

Anyway, I’ll try to get round to writing the diary entry before I forget everything we did.

Five Years in Japan

Today marks the fifth anniversary of my arrival in Japan, as well as Yuriko and my second wedding anniversary.

When I arrived here, I thought that I would be studying for a year and then returning to the UK. I certainly didn’t imagine that five years later I’d own a flat in the Tokyo area, be married to a Japanese woman, and have a half-Japanese daughter. But life often turns out in ways you weren’t expecting, and I’m certainly not complaining about these developments.

It is probably obvious that I like living in Japan. It’s possible that I’ll never go back to the UK, but since Yuriko and I both like the UK as well, it’s also entirely possible that we will. I just don’t have any plans to do so at the moment.

If I did go back to the UK, there are a number of things I would miss. Sushi, tonkatsu, even ramen occasionally; I do like Japanese food. Buses and trains that are clean and run on time. To the point that when they’re three minutes late the staff never stop apologising. Convenience stores open 24 hours (especially when there’s one next to the flat; that’s maybe a little too convenient). Shinto shrines. Teaching English.

Until a couple of weeks ago, I would have said that the economy was in better shape in the UK, but I’m not so sure about that any more. Still, lamb, decent cheese, and chocolate bars (like Mars bars) are the foods I miss from the UK. And with thirty years of experience, British history and culture still have a very strong resonance for me. While I like Japanese culture, it’s a different experience.

But I like it here, and I’m looking forward to the next however long it is I spend here, with my family.