Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Ewan in Japan

Ewan is now a world traveler. He's been on planes, trains and automobiles--and in this picture, is happily riding the bullet train. Probably the most challenging thing about traveling in Japan with a child, is wrangling all the luggage on public transportation. There is a wonderful service in Japan called "takubin," which allows you to ship your stuff anywhere, and we did a lot of sending our luggage ahead. But this meant carrying a lot of other stuff on our bodies, which was tough. I am going to again look into the perfect luggage solution--probably some kind of backpack--which makes it easy for me to push a stroller and carry diapers.

Ewan also met a lot of folks. Here we are--all four generations of us: my mother, grandfather, Ewan and me. It's strange for me to think that Ewan is actually of even more mixed heritage than I am, though he looks far more white than anything else. I should add that he was much admired in Japan for his pale skin and blue eyes. He is a natural flirt, and took all the admiration as a chance to smile and win everyone over. He was a delightful traveling companion.

A less formal picture of Ewan and my grandfather. I love that Ewan looks so engaged and even slightly skeptical. It was as though he understood he was meeting someone special, and someone the likes of whom he'd never seen before. In this photo, Ewan is being held by our friend Nobata.

Regular readers know about the temple in the north which my family owns. Sempou, our cousin, is the head priest, and here he is holding Ewan. I try very hard to get Sempou to smile in photos, but it rarely works, since the default expression for pictures is this sort of blank and formal face.

Ewan also had a delightful time in Hadano with more family. Here is my cousin Masako--Ewan loved her and her mother. I have more photos, but need to sort through them, which is a challenge when one has to clean, do multiple loads of laundry, look after a baby and type up interview notes . . .

Ewan also spent time with Isao and Nono--the latter pictured here with Kawa-chan, my very favorite manicurist. Nono was a natural father. We all had a great time running around Tokyo together--Nono feeding Ewan and changing diapers and taking photos.

And I was able to get my manicure (for research purposes) while Ewan played nearby with friends.

The finished result.

Here is Isao--the perfect uncle.

Every time I spoke to my husband via Skype--and Ewan squealed upon seeing his Daddy--I was asked to recount what I had eaten, because Japanese food really is some of the best cuisine in the world. So, herewith--two photos of food.

We took Ewan to a particular shrine that I like to visit. I have a relationship with the guujisan (priest) there, and often go to interview him or to ask questions about Japan and Shinto. Here, Ewan gets his hands washed in the traditional way. Usually shrines have water outside for hand washing. But this inside fountain permits the priest and guests to go seamlessly from one building and into the shrine without going outside--in case of rain.

Everyone expected Ewan to cry during the drum banging and the bell rattling. Instead, he was completely transfixed.

Nice to read your stories and hope you will find your luggage solution! :)
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