Thursday, October 1, 2009


As I wrote in the previous two posts, on 12th August hubby and I visited Hikone Castle in Shiga prefecture. On 13th August we visited Tatsu-chan, hubby’s aunt, in Okazaki city of Aichi prefecture. The next day hubby went to play golf with his father, while I had a nice time with my sister-in-law and her kids. Today I will write about these two days.

Visit to Tatsu-chan’s home
Tatsu-chan (formally Tatsuko-san), my late mother-in-law's younger sister, has been a source of great influence and important fixture in my hubby and his sister’s life. Whenever we visit my father-in-law in Ichinomiya city, time permitting we try to meet Tatsu-chan also. Tatsu-chan is a smart and kind lady. She bears a striking resemblance to my late mother-in-law which makes me feel like meeting her more often. I had written a post about Tatsu-chan earlier which is posted here.
Tatsu-chan and her granddaughter

On 13th August, hubby and I had an early breakfast at Hotel Route Inn in Hikone, where we stayed the night before. After breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and hired a taxi to go to Hikone railway station. We then took a train to go to Maibara railway station in Shiga prefecture. At Maibara, we changed train and finally reached Okazaki railway station at about 12 noon, and waited outside the station for my sister-in-law and her family who were also going to meet Tatsu-chan. They travelled from Ichinomiya city to Okazaki by their car, and gave hubby and me a ride from the railway station to Tatsu-chan’s home. Eldest son of Tatsu-chan (my hubby’s cousin brother) lives with his family near Okazaki, and they also came home that day.

As always it was a pleasure to meet Tatsu-chan and other members of her family. After the initial greetings, we all had lunch as the kids were rather hungry. Tatsu-chan had prepared mouthwatering dishes like Japanese fried karaage chicken, shrimp tempura, nikujaga, miso-soup, rice, and salad. That day there were nine visitors to Tatsu-chan’s home, and it was impossible for all of us to sit at the dining table. So we formed two different groups and had lunch at different tables. Needless to say, all women sat together for lunch as we had a lot of catching up to do along with a lot of gossiping. It was really a nice relaxed lunch time for all of us. The food was so delicious that hubby and I both overate.

Womenfolk having lunch

That day we met daughter of hubby’s cousin brother for the first time. She is one-year-old very cute baby. It felt so nice to coo, chatter, and hold the little bundle of joy. She observed new people like hubby and me with so much wonder and baby’s curiosity.
Me holding daughter of hubby’s cousin brother

Hubby (right) amazed at the smallness and softness of a baby’s hand

After lunch, kids of hubby’s sister as well as his cousin’s kid got very busy playing, drawing pictures and illustrations, listening to kid’s stories, and many more things. My hubby read a story to the elder daughter of his sister. It was fun to watch the kids play.
Kids busy playing

Hubby reading a story to his sister’s daughter

Hubby and his cousin both love boxing sport a lot. So they practiced boxing training for some time just for fun. It was nice to watch them practice boxing punches. However hubby’s sister was rather surprised as she had, somehow, never seen him practice boxing until that day. Of course, she knew about this love for the sport since his high-school days. Even now in Akita, hubby sometimes practices his punches by using me as boxing sandbag! I compiled a video of hubby and his cousin practicing boxing.
Hubby (right) practicing boxing with his cousin

Video of hubby and his cousin practicing boxing

Later hubby chatted with his cousins, Tatsu-chan and her husband about his experiences of several sightseeing trips to India. I had a nice time chatting with wife of hubby’s cousin. Our conversation was very funny as it was a mixture of Japanese and English language.

After some time, we gave gifts (temiyage in Japanese) to all relatives, which is a very important tradition in Japan. We gave cute pink and sky-blue frilly dresses to the girls. My sister-in-law’s four year old elder daughter was so happy and excited to get a pretty princess dress with lots of frills and laces that she wore it immediately. She looked so cute in the dress.
Older daughter of hubby’s sister very happy wearing a frilly princess dress

Soon it was time to go to Ichinomiya. We were in Tatsu-chan’s home until about 4.30 pm. Time passed so fast! Before leaving, we all took a photo together for the sake of remembrance.
Group photo

Hubby and I were going to stay at his jikka (ancestral home) in Ichinomiya city for two nights (13th and 14th August). My sister-in-law was kind enough to give us a ride by her car up to the jikka. We reached jikka at about 6.30 pm. Sister-in-law’s family was too tired and so they went back to their home, which is about 15 minutes car-drive from the jikka. At about 7 pm, my father-in-law, his wife, hubby, and I went to a nearby grilled meat restaurant (yakiniku-ya) for dinner. After returning from the dinner we retired for the day as it had been a long day for us.

A day with my sister-in-law and her kids
On 14th August, my hubby, father-in-law, and his wife got up at about 4.45 am, got ready, and left home at 5.30 am to go for playing golf. I preferred to stay at home and relax as I am not much interested in golf. I was going to meet my hubby’s sister later in the day. So I spent the entire morning lazing around. I read a few pages of a novel, drank several cups of tea, and watched television.

My sister-in-law and her family live nearby in Ichinomiya city itself. She came home with her kids at about 11.30 am. Nowadays, I really look forward to meet my sister-in-law. With time, she has become one of my very good friend with whom I can talk about my real feelings in ‘honne’ without worrying about the norms and expectations of the society. Another reason of my liking her a lot is that she has absolutely no trace of ‘burikko’ behavior in her. The word ‘burikko’ literally translates to ‘pretend like a child’. I have never heard my sister-in-law speak with baby like high-pitched voice and behave in a certain manner which is supposed to be cute and attractive. I think ‘burikko’ is a part of Japanese culture, although I am not sure about it. In the past 12 years in Japan, I came across a remarkably large number of adult women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and even 50s who talk and behave to a certain degree in an infantile manner. It is supposed to be feminine and kawaii and is apparently attractive to a large number of men. Although I can understand such type of behavior but find it very difficult to appreciate it and make friendship. So I feel extremely fortunate that my sister-in-law is not at all the ‘burikko’ type. Love you, Nori-chan.
My sister-in-law

My sister-in-law made cold somen noodles for lunch, which was ideal for the hot summer day. It was a simple but very delicious lunch. My nieces, sister-in-law, and I enjoyed our lunch and cold mugicha. After lunch, I played ‘hide and seek’ with my nieces for an hour or so. It was fun playing with them. However, I was very tired due continuous movement for almost an hour! Kids have a lot of energy. Seeing my tired condition, sister-in-law suggested that we play jankenpon (rock-paper-scissors), which did not require us to move around. Later kids started making a home using building blocks, while sister-in-law and I chatted and gossiped about many things. Afterwards, we took several photos of us for keep sake. It was so funny to see my two year old niece trying to imitate all the poses of the older niece while taking photos. Kids are so adorable and cute.
My nieces

Me and nieces

Younger niece trying to imitate all the poses of the older niece (click on the photo to enlarge)

At about 4.30 pm, hubby, father-in-law, and his wife returned back home after playing golf. Hubby played with his nieces for some time. At about 5 pm, my sister-in-law and her kids went back to their home. After half an hour or so, hubby, father-in-law, and his wife prayed at the family altar to welcome the soul of my late mother-in-law and all the ancestors, which is the purpose of Obon Buddhist event. My father-in-law offered some food items at the altar, lit incense sticks, and read some sutras. That night there was a fireworks display in the city, so father-in-law and his wife went to see and enjoy the festivities. Hubby and I had a quite dinner at home.
Hubby and nieces

Hubby and older niece

On 15th August, hubby and I visited my mother-in-law’s grave to offer our prayers. Later, we visited the hospital where hubby was born, and also visited the elementary, junior-high, and high schools where hubby studied and made a base for his future. It was a pleasure to see hubby take a trip down the memory lane. In the evening we returned back to Akita. I will write about this last day of our trip in the next post.


guitarotoko said...

what a nice family!

this is a beautiful page of your blog,
is possible to taste the flavor of a quiet and carefree japanese family.
the kids are delicious :-)
your hubby in action!what surprise,and full of smiles!
women!please don't gossip about me.

to next comment
bye from rome

Anima said...

Great family, great smiles!
I felt very very warm to read this post. I am an only child and haven't been surrounded by so many kids of my age, I envy your relative kids! The other day I visited my partner's family in New Zealand and played with his little nephews, which was so good. Family, such a wonderful thing. Thanks for the heart-warming story and pics:)

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks guitarotoko for your comment. Yeah, I feel happy to be a part of this family. Kids are so cute, isn't it?
We womenfolk were too busy gossiping about ourselves. So you are safe:)
And hubby really enjoyed practising boxing with his cousin.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks Anima for your very nice comment.
Well, being an only child has its own advantages, I guess.
Good to know that you enjoyed playing with your partner's nephews. Playing with kids feels so good, isn't it?
My nieces are so energetic. So althoguh I am very happy to play with them but I feel rather tired after running around and continuous movement, which is very amusing to my sister-in-law:)