It was pretty surreal to come to the realization that I hadn't seen my parents or brother in over 10 months. That has by far been the longest I had ever been away from them. Honestly, it didn't seem nearly that long either. Maybe because we had kept in such good touch, or because we could use 'modern communication' like Skype so it seemed like we were seeing each other, or because I had been so busy and overwhelmed in the last 10 months that I never had time to really allow the distance to get to me... I'm not sure why. But, I do know that seeing them in Tokyo, Japan was one of the greatest feelings a daughter could ever have. It was totally natural and felt like no time had passed at all. As we spent the next few weeks together in Japan, I would learn just how much had changed in each of their lives, and I'm sure they learned a lot more about me. But, I would also realize that our love for each other not only remained, but somehow felt stronger. Does distance really make the heart grow fonder?
There wasn't that much time between my sister's departure and the P's and bro's arrival, so I didn't really have too many anticipation or nervousness pangs. Most of that time was spent working out the final transportation and accommodation kinks... some of which never really got worked out until minutes before. I wanted so bad for them to see and do all the things I enjoyed in Japan as well as for us to experience some new things together. I wanted them to have a varied experience across the geographical, activities, cultural, and financial board, without being too overwhelmed. SO, you can imagine how much planning and preparation was needed to prep for this "trip".
I am soooo appreciative they were willing not only to foot the bill to come to other side of the world and experience a country I had chosen (initially without their approval !) to live in, but also to put the legwork into the logistics to make it happen and make it enjoyable. Japan is not at the top of everyone's (anyone's?) top travel destinations, so I was incredibly grateful they were willing to open up their minds and hearts to this experience. I can only hope they saw a fraction of the beauty, uniqueness, kindness, and sincerity that I have come to love and appreciate about Japan so much!
So without further adieu, here are some pictures from my first weekend with them in Tokyo. I sent them to find all my favorite spots in Tokyo before I could get there and then we did some things together. Most of these locations I talk about in previous blog posts, so I'll save you from having to read the 'mundane' details twice. Enjoy!
Austin, in one of his most memorable stops of the trip, Akihabara, Tokyo.
Next we went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings. I have lots of pictures of that in past blogs. You go up to the 32nd floor of the building for an incredible perspective of Tokyo. Never ceases to amaze me how big Tokyo really is. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite clear enough out to see all the way to Mt. Fuji.
There was also a shrine in the park I never knew existed.
I give Austin mad props for trying all of the Japanese food I shoved in his face, even if it was so small a piece the flavors would probably be non-existent in it. He was a good sport, but realllly didn't like anything. SO, when there was chance to get some fried chicken, he was game! KFC's is running their "Red Hot Summer" special now, and I'm pretty sure his getting sick on the special was Japan releasing it's wrath on his rejection of Japanese cuisine.