I apologize for being to neglectful. My dad came into to town for a couple of weeks and I was mourning. I have come to realize, playing the “mourning card” is a lot like playing the “pregnancy card”. No other excuses necessary. I took this picture after I convinced dad to have lunch at a veggie, organic buffet restaurant called Crayon House in Omotesando. He liked it a lot and we ate our fill. However, very soon afterwards, Dad got VERY gassy and loud and when we stopped to take this picture, he was loudly farting the whole time. It made me appreciate just how polite the Japanese are because even though Dad was obviously tooting, everyone just pretended not to notice. In Korea, people would have totally stopped and yelled, “What the hell is wrong with you?!?”
ARRIVING IN JAPAN
Waiting for my dad at the airport, I felt an increasing sense of anxiety as I saw each person passing through the gate. I guess that’s what happens when one parent dies, you just feel lucky another one’s still breathing. When he finally made it through, I felt a huge wave of relief wash over me and realized, I am probably more concerned about him traveling by himself than he is of me! He still has 2 backup daughters.
We hit the ground running. Dad’s flight arrived late Friday night, and early Saturday we headed out with Chase to Chase’s school carnival.
The carnival is a real high point for the school and they raise a ton of money. It was dad’s first taste of high density population fun. Despite being outside, we spent almost all our time shoulder to shoulder oozing our way through the crowds. The carnival showcased food from all over the world, and Chase actually ate his first kangaroo burger. He said it tasted like chicken.
I know. This is probably the most cliché ”tourist” thing you can do in Japan; however, when your dad is a tourist and waking up at 3am it’s the perfect place to take someone where you know it will be crowded and busy early in the morning. Luckily, Chase was out of school that day and I had been trying to get him to Tsukiji Market too (he already had a t-shirt).
The person taking this photo is actually Nghi. I must say, following my mom’s death, I know now, that the people I have met here in Japan are truly wonderful friends. While my dad was here, he met Nghi, Alexandra, Nikki, Adonica, Hema and Angela. I think it made him feel good to know I had met such “good quality” people. I know I have mentioned how Nghi is my co-adventurer in the world of funky food, but did you know? that girl will sample anything and everything? Despite Dad’s surviving colon cancer, Nghi was no match for my father:
If you look up “TO RELISH” in the dictionary, this picture will probably be next to it. We had a great time and ate sushi for brunch.
Next stop Nokogiriyama, also known as “Saw Tooth Mountain”. I was really glad to get us on this highly sought after tour. However, once we were on the list, I must admit, I started to wonder if we could handle a hike on a mountain called “Saw Tooth.” Fortunately, Dad turned out to be much more athletic and fit than I expected. I don’t know if it was male bravado or what, but he kept saying things like “this hike is practically all downhill…”. I’m thinking he was probably snorting cocaine behind some statues when I wasn’t looking because I thought it was challenging enough. It has been a long time since I enrolled into one of these group outings, and at some point on the trip, I found myself chastising myself. It took my mom’s dying and my dad coming to visit, to make me step out of my hamster wheel and appreciate the fact that I am in a foreign country. Debra and I used to agree that working out/staying fit was like a part-full time job for us. How many times have we heard people say, you don’t lay on your deathbed wishing you put in more hours at the “office”. I made a promise to myself to make time to really learn more about where I am and see more of this magical place.
IT’S LIKE RIDING A BIKE
It’s a few days into Dad’s visit now. I really thought dad and I would be taxi-ing everywhere, but given the beautiful weather and dad’s fitness level, we ended up walking everywhere. I don’t know how he managed because I live here, but being forced to walk the streets of Tokyo gave me shin splints after 3 days. I toyed with the idea of Dad using Chase’s bike since Chase was in school during the day. Neither of us could remember the last time Dad was on a bike, but he swore that it had happened in his past. I let him try my bike around our apartment complex that is located on pretty flat road and forms a continuous square. Let me just warn you, seeing your only remaining parent wobbling on a bike on public streets is enough to make you vomit. Once he was able to dazzle me with his boyhood bike mounting technique, I actually had to remind him to pedal (and of course “STAY TO THE LEFT!!!!”). I mean really, who gets on a bike and doesn’t pedal?!? I died a hundred deaths that first lap. After a few turns around the square, Dad discovered he doesn’t like turning right. He also ended up getting his confidence back and I ended up getting a sake:
Until next time…