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.