2007-05-02

The realities of jet-lag, part 1

This is Hokkaido.
This is the heater in Mrs. K's living room. On the top they keep a pot of water so the air doesn't dry out and a kettle to keep the hot-water supply constant all day. They do have a hot pot, but use the kettle to fill the hot pot. I've decided that once I've recovered (financially) from this trip, I want a japanese style hot pot too.

I left for Japan on a Monday and after one of the worst series of flights in my life (late planes, cranky airport employees, and a best friend with motion sickness coupled with a turbulent ride, to name a few), I arrived at New Chitose Airport on Tuesday night. Mrs. & Mr. K. picked me up and the shock of how familiar it all felt (the airport parking lot, for one) helped me ward off sleep for a few hours. We talked a lot, Mr. K. drives the same car that I do. When we got home we watched tv and I struggled to pull simple Japanese phrases from deep corners of my memory.

I used to live there, in southern Hokkaido, and I taught English in a public senior high school for one year on the Jet Program. I met Mrs. K. on the train one day and we've been friends ever since. There are many many things I love about Mrs. K, which I hope I'll remember to write more about later, but the incredibly obvious attraction is that she quilts. She quilts a lot, or well, she used to (more on that later). This is the wall hanging displayed in her front entrance hall, all pieced and quilted by hand. She must have been in a wedding ring phase for a while there, because the bedcover she was making for me was also a double wedding ring, and after going through her completed works, she gave me a small double wedding ring placemat as well (pictures on flickr eventually). Though I was tired after arriving, I couldn't remember exactly how bad jet lag was when you go to Japan.. I recalled waking up early, but..

I got up at 4:30 am. I marvelled at where I was. I flipped through a magazine, my japanese textbook, and wrote a bit in my journal. As much as I tried, it was impossible not to wake someone who was just as excited to have me as I was to be there, so for the first 3 days, 4:30 am it was. I'd come downstairs around 6 and start the housewives' morning routine. They live a good, simple life and I was very grateful to be a part of it.

2 comments:

PJ said...

oh, what a way to start out your show your trip with us...what a beautiful quilt!

Alex said...

I think I can imagine the atmosphere in Mrs. K's house... Those days will stay in everybody's minds for some time.
Can't wait to hear more of your trip!

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