Thursday, April 14, 2011


Back from Japan

It was too short of a trip and if I could go back tomorrow, I would. I always feel emotional when I go to and come from Japan, but of course, this time the trip was even more emotionally charged.

I had taken great pains to change my ticket to avoid flying over Tohoku and to not to anywhere near Tokyo. For reasons that I won't go into, but which include problems with the airline, we ended up in Narita anyway. Usually a bustling airport, it was eerily empty with international travel at an all time low. This actually upset me--everyone who worked there carried themselves with such dignity and really tried to help us with our travel woes. And yet, of course, the gaijin are not coming.

The mood in Tokyo was quite somber. Above, a sign from the JR office. Power shortages have inspired many to voluntary dim lights and keep usage low.

One of the yearly cherry blossom season bento box specials. These kinds of little bursts of color felt very out of place in Tokyo, where everyone was dressed in black.

One of the many, many places where I could donate money. This was taken at a family style restaurant in Osaka.

View of Mt. Fuji, by bullet train.

Ewan went to his first matsuri (to the eagle eyed, yes, he has also had a hair cut). It was a bit noisy for him and he isn't really used to loud, smelly, drunk men. But eventually, he felt more secure and had a good time.

This dashi comes in front of our friends' house every year and turns around before being hauled off. It's quite a spectacle.

I am, of course, a veteran lover of matsuris. I hope to go back to Handa next year for the big shindig, which only occurs every few years.

Somber as Japan was, nature will do what it will do. I happened to arrive on the week when the cherry blossoms hit their peak. They were so lovely and it was hard not to feel optimistic amidst so much beauty. Below, some photos in Kyoto.

Above--a nice cherry blossom chiffon cake from Starbucks. This kind of thing only appears for the season, of course.

One of a few dinners I attended. This one was in Kyoto. Friends and I discussed the earthquake and its impact.

May 5th is traditionally Boy's Day, but is now celebrated as Children's Day. All the same, I was so happy to find these koinobori--and to take my son to see them and enjoy them.

Thank you so much for sharing your trip and family through these photos and captions. It got me teary, and I loved seeing bits of Japanese life through your eyes. Hi to Mom. X Eugenia
How sweet you are to stop by! It's lovely to see you here. xox
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