03rd Jul 2009

Japan – Week 1 – catch-up post (way late)

Well, I was going to be a bit more thorough in my description of our time in Japan, but realized that a) I’m slow; b) Kirsten already wrote most of it (see welbes.net for more); c) the wedding planning is taking away from my blog upkeep.

So, our two weeks in Japan were split into two periods: the first with Mom and Dan and Todd full-time, the second after Mom and Dan had left and Todd had started his morning Japanese classes at the Y. During our first week, we traveled to Arashiyama, Miyajima, Hiroshima and Kyoto. Tony and I also had the joy of going into Osaka to organize our tourist visas back into China, which proved much cheaper for the British citizen than the American one. The Chinese consulate in Osaka was actually, compared with most other consulates I’ve been in, a joy. Quick, efficient, generally friendly and with the help of a friend of Todd and Kirsten’s, easy to find.

But talking about the consulate is rather boring. The highlight of my trip was Miyajima. To start with, the island was beautiful, quiet, covered in vegetation and from the ferry on the way in, shrouded in low-lying clouds. All of that natural beauty coupled with dramatic Shinto shrines and a smattering of lovely local residents to help us out made the island a lovely spot to spend the night. The house Kirsten arranged was perfect for our group and we had a great time exploring the island and of course sitting around the tatami rooms playing cards and drinking beer and wine. Dan and Tony’s knees preferred chairs but they made do. Of course the best part of my time in Miyajima was the second day, when Tony and I headed off on our own to explore the natural surroundings of the island. We found a quiet spot with a small waterfall, some wild deer and sat and talked for an hour or so. This was also where Tony asked me to marry him. So, after our peaceful exploration of Miyajima we made our way back to the ferry to meet the rest of the family. We decided to wait until later to tell everyone (why I don’t know), but struggled for the rest of the day to keep our mouths shut.

After Miyajima, we headed by train into Hiroshima and went to the Memorial Museum and Peace Park. This was a bit sobering after our time in Miyajima, but the museum was well-done and quite interesting. The girls played with bubbles in the peace park with Kirsten, while the rest of us went through the museum. After the museum we got back on the super fast, super quiet, super smooth shinkansen and made our way back to Rokko Island.

That night after a great Indian meal and the girls had gone to bed, Tony and I announced our news. We wished that Dad and Tony’s parents could have been there for the announcement as well, but we’ll all get to meet soon.

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