Back On Kaua’i

Our view for the next two weeks.

Our last few days in Japan were a whirlwind, and it’s almost hard to remember now all that was going on because everything seemed to be happening so fast. We spent our last weekend packing, cleaning up our apartment, and then moving over to our son’s to spend our last night in Japan. We left on time on Monday and had an easy if a bit surreal trip back to Kaua’i. But, we’re here now, dancing with the jetlag, and getting ourselves settled in under very different circumstances than those when we left. if we couldn’t stay in Japan, this is where we wanted to be.

Our landlord in Japan was very understanding about the circumstances of our abrupt departure even though she would be losing a month’s rent. We met with her for the last time on Saturday morning, and paid for the four days we stayed there (she didn’t want to take it but we insisted). She assured us we were welcome back any time, and we know her apartments will always be our first choice for lodging in Tokyo as it’s in a great location at an affordable price (for Tokyo). We enjoyed this year’s apartment, with its big kitchen window and an oven.

We spent most of Saturday morning packing, and then went with the family out to nearby shop to get the grandkids their birthday presents. Both of them wanted Legos and we were happy to oblige. Afterward, we all walked over to a small restaurant and had shabu shabu, a Japanese-style hot pot, for an early anniversary dinner (the dish is named for the sound the beef makes when it’s swirled through the hot broth). The food was delicious, and we received a lovely gift from our son and daughter-in-law: a check to help cover the cost of our first-class upgrade on our flight back to the U.S.

On Sunday afternoon we moved over to our son’s for our last night in Tokyo. We had to be up early on Monday to help one last time with the grandkids and this made it easier than having to lug our heavy suitcases over on the subway. Besides, along with our big suitcases, carry-on bags, and a whole lot of KitKats, we also had all our leftover groceries and other supplies to give to them. We were frankly surprised by the amount of food we had on hand – all that peanut butter! – I think the only thing we would have needed to pick up at the store that week was a tomato and some more Yakult. We went once more to Hardy Barracks to stock up our son’s supply of American foods and then took everything over to their house. That evening we all went out for a short hanami (cherry blossom viewing) and walked the Nomikawa Nature Path, the former site of a cherry tree-lined canal that had passed through the area. About half of the canal was paved over, with sections of it named for the bridges that crossed the canal, but the old cherry trees remain. It was a lovely, warm evening, and the trees were almost in full bloom (peak bloom arrived about two days after we left). Back home, we enjoyed a sushi feast that our DIL had ordered for home delivery while we were out walking!

Monday turned out to be cold, wet, and dreary so there was no last outing in the park with K for me (especially since my coat had been packed). Brett helped C with school one last time and then at around five p.m. we said our (tearful) goodbyes, packed up the car, and headed out to Narita airport with our son (M & M did not want us riding the train). It was a surprisingly easy drive with no rush hour traffic jams, thank goodness, and we got there about two hours before our departure. Narita airport was positively deserted and felt almost like a ghost town. It seemed at times that we were the only people there outside of employees, but some shops were open and we found five more flavors of KitKats (peach, melon, red bean sandwich, plum sake, and a regional sake, so we left Japan with 31 different flavors!). We also were able to buy a bottle of hand sanitizer! It wasn’t cheap, but at least we now have some. Because we would be served dinner on the plane all we had to eat at the airport were some appetizers and a gin and tonic at Delta’s First Class lounge. We were the only people in the vast lounge, maybe for the whole evening. Actually, we were practically the only people anywhere, which made getting through security, etc. a breeze, but it was also sort of eerie and sad. We were treated like royalty though everywhere we went – the employees seemed genuinely thrilled to have something to do and someone to help.

Our flight back to Honolulu was lovely. First class was extremely comfortable (as expected), the food and service impeccable. There were only two other passengers in first (only 30 total on the whole plane), so it was like we had the place and the attendants to ourselves. We watched movies, relaxed, and got a little bit of sleep. The Honolulu airport was also practically deserted, and our flight over to Lihue had only 14 people total on the plane, including the pilots and flight attendants. We picked up our rental car in Lihue and first headed to Costco to stock up for the next two weeks as the state will be going into lockdown on Thursday. Today we picked up our old car from our friends, returned the rental car, and did one more food stop so we have everything we need when YaYu arrives on Thursday. She will be in full quarantine – no going out of the apartment – for two weeks while Brett and I will be able to go out for food, and to use the pool and take walks in the area, but not much more. I’m not sure how finding a new place to live is going to go, but there are still ads going up so we hope to find something soon and be able to move in.

Our flight over to Kaua’i was surreal, as we were used to inter-island flights packed to the max.

We have one more step to go – getting YaYu here on Thursday. Her flight schedule has already been changed, but Delta still assures her she will be in Lihue on Thursday evening. We have backup plans just in case things go bad, but so far so good, and she is almost ready to go. She originally had a direct flight that day from Seattle to Lihue but that has now been changed to a direct flight from Los Angeles, a good thing as Hawaiian Airlines is stopping almost all flights beginning on Thursday. Brett and I are somewhat concerned about the possibility of her facing a racist attack of some kind as they seem to be on the increase against Asians, and as a young, single woman she could be a target. It’s going to be a long, long day for all of us.  

Anyway, although things didn’t turn out the way we wanted, we’re home again on Kaua’i and we’re settling in and getting our body clocks adjusted to island time. We miss our son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren terribly, but our girl will be here soon, we’ve got enough on hand to get us through the next two weeks, and all is well.


38 thoughts on “Back On Kaua’i

  1. Congrats on making it home! All things considered, quite a pleasant trip, and it was fantastic of your son and DIL to treat you to the upgrade. And you found more Kitkats! Peach sounds so appealing. We have a lot of Japanese grocery stores here, so I’d ordinarily try to find some, except we’re all being encouraged to stay home as much as possible. Not a total lockdown like the UK or France (yet).

    Fingers crossed that YaYu’s trip goes smoothly, and she’s soon back with you 🙂


    1. The flight back from Japan was very nice. We wonder though if and when we will fly again – the airline industry is going to be very different once this pandemic is over.

      Happy about finding more KitKats and we would have bought more except we ran out of room. We going to open them all after YaYu arrives home and make bags to send to her sisters and to her boyfriend. The rest we’ll put in a big bowl, and then will enjoy a random flavor every evening after dinner.

      Life is very quiet here now and people are very cautious, a good thing. It’s very strange to us though – we are used to throngs of tourists and there is currently none of that.


      1. If the weather finally gets nice, we can sit on the lanai. We’ll be 6 feet apart!!! xoxoxoxo


  2. Such wonderful news to hear you made it to Kaua’i. How great it is to almost hear/read the relief you both must feel in these worrisome times to be “home.” Welcome back! I know as much as I love to travel I always want to come home, and especially now in times of anxiety being in familiar surroundings seem to lessen stress in dealing with the unknown.

    And your last few days with your son and family sounds like it was so delightful. I loved seeing the children’s rapt attention with their Legos, appearing to envision hours of Lego fun!

    Now only one more hurdle and hoping by Friday morning YaYu will be home with you two. And how are the older girls doing?


    1. When I look at the pictures of Japan now, it all seems so long ago, and it’s hard to believe it was just a few days earlier this week.

      We are glad to be here, and although the condo is very nice we’re looking forward to finding our own place and getting settled (although we can see that’s going to take a while). The big effort remains getting YaYu home – her flight has been rescheduled again. She’s now back to her original itinerary, but on Friday, not Thursday. I am so glad we have backup plans for her!

      The older girls are so far OK. Meiling has been working remotely for several weeks now, and staying in as far as I know, and WenYu is finishing up her term in MA, at her boyfriend’s home. He lives out on 10 acres, so social distance is not a problem for them.


  3. Glad to year you’re back in paradise! At least the flights weren’t stressful since you practically had the airports and planes to yourselves. The photos you posted of the nearly empty airport and flight are creepy. I know how packed the flight to Lihue usually is. Did you wear the mask the entire time?

    You mentioned in a comment above about possibly not flying again due to changes in the airline industry, and I’ve been thinking the same thing. I feel fortunate that I traveled all over the world when I did because I wonder if those days are over. Time will tell. I’m going to guess it will bounce back, but it could be a long time.

    Hope YaYu is ok and not too stressed. I’m sure her flights will be nearly empty as well and she’ll be ok.


    1. The flights were very easy – it’s remarkable how comfortable it is to fly when you’re not having to deal with crowds or packed airplanes. It was a very nice, yet very strange experience.

      I wonder if flying will ever be the same. I’m almost positive it’s going to be a whole lot more expensive and that is going to have a serious impact on Hawai’i and other places that depend on tourism. It will mean we won’t see our kids as much either, although they’ve all said this is where they want us to be.

      YaYu will now be back on Friday. She is at her boyfriends now, so if things fall apart she has a place to stay, although we’d rather she was here with us.


  4. I’m so sorry you had to leave early, but these are crazy times! BTW, I LOVE the photo of you and your granddaughter 🙂


    1. Crazy times is right!

      K was pretending to be a witch, and she and I were practicing cackling which absolutely cracked us up – we could not stop laughing! I love that picture too – so glad our DIL captured the moment.


  5. So glad to hear you are back on Kauai! Your description of the airports and planes are indeed eerie. My brother and sister-in-law live about 10 minutes away from LAX. They are wonderful, caring teachers and if YaYu needs ANYTHING please call me and I will have them there post haste.


    1. Thanks, Denise! YaYu’s schedule has been changed again, back to the original one, but on Friday now instead of Thursday. She will be coming through Detroit, then to Seattle, then on to Lihue. It appears Delta is slowly shutting down. Brett and I are trying to stay calm as there’s nothing we can do at this point, and she’s in a safe place for now.

      And I remember you telling us about your brother and SIL – I would trust her with them in an instant!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The (almost) empty planes and especially the empty airports look surreal.I imagine that Tokyo airport is packed in normal times. Hold on to these pictures, they document the extent of the impact of this pandemic. I wonder too if traveling abroad will ever be the same.
    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the uneventful arrival of your daughter. I’ll wait for “she’s here, she’s here” post. Stay safe and take care!


    1. Narita has always been packed so our experience there this time was definitely different and strange. It frankly made the travel experience easier, not having to deal with lines and crowds, but at the same time it was also “off.”

      I will dash off an announcement when she gets here – on Friday now.


  7. I have been following your adventures for several years and glad that you are at home right now. Stay safe


    1. We are glad to be back too, although even Kaua’i is a bit strange right now. We got very used to the hustle and bustle of having lots of tourists in the mix, and that’s not happening now. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Kaua’i is almost too quiet.


  8. What an unbelievable experience with the airport and flight over. Gave me goosebumps! But it’s good to know that you’re back safe and sound. This is a very crucial week for us and it’ll determine how things will continue to go forward.


    1. It was a definitely different travel experience, that’s for sure.

      We’re still tracking what’s going on in Italy, but it looks like the U.S. is going to overtake your numbers and then some. I can’t believe the direction the U.S. is going, and that there are some now saying we should allow some deaths so that the stock market can go back up. It’s unreal, like this is the Hunger Games or something.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anytime I hear the words stock market on tv I want to puke. The US hasn’t even reached an apex yet, so I can’t see how anyone could declare that there is light at the end of the tunnel. My friend in Japan says that the government hasn’t been so forthcoming with coronavirus statistics, so what is happening to us could also happen to them.


      2. I agree, Rowena. The fixation on the stock market is crazy. And the thought of even hinting that the elderly sacrifice themselves for the economy – what have we come to.

        Big changes are coming to Japan. Cherry blossom season has shown that people are no longer social distancing themselves – there have been crowds everywhere. My son thinks a major lockdown is coming.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. So glad to hear you made it and all is well. Definitely wish YaYu the best and an uneventful flight back. It’s so unnerving to have our kids away from us at a time like this.

    Love all the pictures! Your grands are so cute and I love the Lego pics and especially the picture of you laughing with your granddaughter. Sounds like your last few days went really well. And what a wonderful gift to be upgraded to first class on your flight.

    Take care and will be happy to see you post YaYu’s arrival! 🙂


    1. While we are happy to be here, it’s starting to sink in how far away we are from our kids, brought home all the more clearly by how difficult it’s becoming to get YaYu home. This is where they all want us to be though for a variety of reasons. Things are changing quickly too and for now we’re not even trying to guess how it will all shake out. The most important thing is that we are all fine for now. Our son said that Japan is expecting another surge of cases in the next couple weeks.

      The Legos were a big hit! Our grandson stayed up until after 10:00 to finish his plane. He was so thoughtful when he was picking out a set – weighing how much money he had to spend versus what he wanted more. K found her bakery set right away and that was that! We miss them all so much.

      We’re off to look at two apartments today, down on the south side of the island. Fingers crossed! Another one is coming available, right next door to our friends (!!!) so we hope to get some information on that today as well.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Their present was a lovely surprise. Our budget has been upended by all this sudden travel and the virus situation so their present was a big help.

      We can get KitKats here in the U.S. but not the flavor varieties you find in Japan. We found some lemon KitKats at the store yesterday here on Kauai, and while they’re good they’re tiny so not as good a deal as the Japanese ones. Collecting KitKats is a fun and inexpensive activity in Japan – I can’t believe we ended up with 31 different flavors this time. Our best effort before was 17 different types.


  10. As always we love the pictures and your narration! The cherry blossoms look gorgeous! Glad that you made it safely to Hawaii. Take and stay healthy!


    1. A couple of days later and those cherry trees would have been in full bloom and twice as glorious as they were the day we saw them. However, I am grateful we were able to experience them some this year – besides having to leave our family, not seeing the cherry trees in bloom would have been very disappointing.

      We’re happy to be back on the island. With all that’s going on it’s going to take us a while to get settled but we know it will eventually happen.


    1. Thanks, Tracy. We are happy to be back. As you may have already read, YaYu will now be arriving on Friday versus Thursday – Delta changed the schedule again. There’s nothing we can do about it, so we are sitting tight and waiting to hear that she’s on the plane and coming home! So glad though that we have backup plans for her.


  11. Have been following you for a long time and so glad you are home in Kaua’i. Wishing you and your family to be safe and well. I look forward to hearing about your life now you are back there. We were due to go to a Hawai’i and a Kaua’i for our 30th wedding anniversary and retirement celebrations, unfortunately both of those have been put on hold. Looking forward to going on the flip side of this pandemic when the time is right.


    1. Thank you for taking the time to write! We are looking forward to settling in here again, but with all that’s going on it’s going to take a while. I am so sorry about you having to postpone your trip – when you do come let me know because I love meeting my readers whenever I get a chance. Every meeting has been wonderful!


  12. So glad you made it back before they shut the doors altogether! I hope your daughter gets there safely. I know it is hard to be far from them. We moved to Arizona 2 years ago always assuming we could visit Boston whenever we felt like it. Now we are not so sure about that. As you say, who knows how the airlines will shakeout after all this. Rest up and good luck finding your next home. I am sure you will find something nice since you have lived there before!


    1. International travel appears to be pretty well shut down for now, but you can still get around in the U.S. although there are much fewer flights available and you have to be prepared to accept some pretty strange schedules. YaYu will now be home on Friday instead of Thursday, but the Thursday schedule they had changed her to was crazy, and it would have taken her nearly 19 hours to get here! The Friday schedule is the original one (just not available on Thursday any more) – much quicker. It will still be a long day for all of us.


  13. Really weird to see the airports so empty. Glad you made it safely. Once the pandemic is over I think flights will be cheaper for a short time to get business going but will probably go up after that. Still no testing here for the pandemic. I understand there is one place in our county of half a million people but it is limited to people showing symptoms. Don’t think we will ever have true figures of how many are infected. At least you are home now. Hope your house hunting goes well.
    Loved all your pictures especially the one of you and your granddaughter and the one of your son’s family. Your granddaughter is a real character. Looking forward to many new photo’s. Maybe a beautiful sunset.


    1. Seeing Narita airport like that was VERY strange, but it was also nice not to have to put up with crowds or long lines. I sure hope you are right about flights initially being less expensive in order to draw in more customers – we shall see.

      There are four confirmed cases of the virus on Kauai, but I haven’t heard anything about their condition. I’m currently dealing with an allergy so have itchy eyes, runny nose, and cough from time to time – and of course worry that I have the virus. But, none of my symptoms match – no fever, flu symptoms, aches and pains, etc. We noticed today that the hospital and health clinics around the island have triage tents set up outside for testing.

      K is a whirlwind, loves to act like she’s a troublemaker but she is actually a very sweet little girl with a gentle temperament. I miss her so much. Her English improved a LOT when we were there and she made a great effort to use it more and more as time went by. Next time we meet I have no doubt she will be fluent.

      No sunsets yet, I’m afraid – it’s been cold, overcast, rainy and windy ever since we arrived! I’m anxious to see a sunset as well!


  14. Your granddaughter is such a pistol! I love the family photo with her crouched down and tongue out – Miss Personality!

    Once you get to Saturday, I hope the three of you are all together and can melt into a well-deserved relaxation. I remember how lovely Hawaii smells – all those flowers!

    Things are both wild and quiet here in the tri-state area. Many people are sewing masks for health care workers, streets are empty of cars but with lots of walkers. It feels like we know a tsunami is coming and are just waiting for the wave to crash over our heads. Andrew Cuomo has been a rockstar of solid leadership through this.

    There are tons of NY license plates in CT, playing basketball in NY parks has been outlawed, and people out in public are wearing plastic gloves but very few wearing masks.

    Welcome Back – people like you help us make America great again – to borrow a phrase 😉


    1. OMG, she is two pistols! My son works from home, and was planning to care for her this week but after one day she went back to her hoikuen! He could deal with her or do his work but not both. She is still the most even-tempered, sweet little thing though – just a delight to be around. But she’s full of personality and constantly busy as a bee which can be both demanding and exhausting.

      Our president scares the living daylights out of me. It’s all about HIM, and whether he likes you or not or whether you or your state voted for him, not that supplies are desperately needed NOW. He is not acting like president of the WHOLE country. Thank goodness for solid leaders like Cuomo and other governors around the country. Things here in Hawaii are VERY quiet right now – it’s very strange for us because the only Hawaii we know is busy and crowded and full of tourists!

      Thank you for your kind words!


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