A few weeks ago I read a detective story set in contemporary Japan. I was familiar with some the setting, but even when I didn’t know the neighborhood I could picture what was going on: the path alongside a river, the bento shop, the apartments. The story was a good one, and kept me guessing until the end, but by the time I finished the book I would have just about given anything to be in Japan again.
It’s been over a year since we left Japan. The grandkids are growing up so quickly: our granddaughter, who was still pretty much a toddler when we left last year seems to have grown about a foot or more, has ditched the training wheels on her bike, speaks English easily, and judging from the videos sent to us is just about completely fearless these days. Our grandson is taller and more mature as well: he bikes to his school every day, is involved in school clubs and activities, and has also gotten bigger and taller.
I miss living in Japan. I’ve accepted it’s not something we can do permanently, but I loved our long stretches of time there and being able to see our family and helping out, our daily lives there, and getting out and about, where a walk in our neighborhood is an adventure, let alone any trip into greater Tokyo. I want to buy KitKats again. At least once a week I check the rentals on Airbnb to see if I can find something affordable near to where our son’s new house is located (there isn’t much), and dream of the time we can return and stay for a while.
We are planning to return to Japan next year, in the autumn, hopefully for a month’s stay. The Olympics will be over (if they aren’t cancelled again, which is looking likely), and we’ll get to enjoy the beautiful fall weather for a change, along with the leaf changing, momiji 紅葉, which is almost as spectacular in Japan as cherry blossom season, and the wonderful fall dishes and foods that become available during the season. We’ll get to celebrate our son’s and granddaughter’s birthdays with them.
But I wish we could go now. We’ve been away too long.