Friday, September 26, 2014

Spending time with my sister-in-law and her daughters

My hubby often goes on business trips abroad. Sometimes, during those days, I go and stay at our home in Ichinomiya City. He made an overseas travel in mid-September, and I stayed for a few days in Ichinomiya. On the night of 8th September, while preparing for his trip, we casually looked out of the window of our home in Yurihonjo City and saw a superb bright full moon in the sky. Later I realized that it was Tsukimi moon viewing day in Japan. It is also called the autumn harvest moon. According to Japanese mythology, the dark parts on the surface of the harvest moon resemble a rabbit pounding Mochi rice cakes. I have not been able to trace the rabbit yet. Probably with some help, I might.
Moon as seen from the window of our home

Hubby’s overseas travel was postponed by a couple of days. He left for business trip on 15th September, and I accompanied him up to Narita Airport. After seeing him off, I took a Shinkansen bullet from Tokyo Railway Station and reached Nagoya at about 6 pm. From there I took a local train and reached our home in Ichinomiya at 6.30 pm. I was rather tired due to all the travel that day but I searched for a pair of elderly couple dolls that we had purchased about five years ago. This is because 15th September was the ‘Respect for the Aged Day’ in Japan.
Hubby and I waiting at Narita Airport

Hubby at Narita Airport

Elderly couple dolls

On 16th September, I tended to our small garden located at the back of our home. We usually do not stay in Ichinomiya, so some of the plants we had planted a couple of months ago had dried up. But the plants of corn, eggplant, Shiso, and a few flowers were growing well. I removed two cherry tomato plants as they grew very rapidly and took up a lot of space. I worked in the garden for almost two hours, which was very relaxing.
Two corn plants

Shiso plant

An eggplant


The garden after removing two cherry tomato plants

On 17th September, hubby’s sister and her two daughters visited my home in the evening. Nowadays I really look forward to meet my sister-in-law whenever I am in Ichinomiya. This is because I have only had Japanese acquaintances but no real friends in Japan. Being a foreigner, it is really hard for me to make Japanese real friends. This is probably due to the mistrust of foreigners prevalent in the Japanese society. Also Japanese people are busy and are unlikely to invest time for foreigners. My sister-in-law is the only real friend I have in Japan. Now she has become very close to me with whom I can talk about my real feelings in Honne without worrying about the norms and expectations of the Japanese 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 17 years in Japan, I have come across a remarkably large number of adult women in their 20s to 60s 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. Also, my sister-in-law’s two daughters are really fun to be with. Both the girls are so well behaved and have impeccable manners. Full credit goes to my sister-in-law.
My sister-in-law

My sister-in-law and her family live nearby in Ichinomiya City itself. She visited my home with her daughters at about 5 pm. Sister-in-law presented me an interior photo frame that she made herself. It is so beautiful and gorgeous. 17th September was a school day, so the older daughter of my sister-in-law did some homework assigned to her by her school teacher that day. Afterwards she read a Manga storybook. The younger daughter played a chemistry related card game with me. It was actually fun to play the game. Sister-in-law and I chatted and gossiped about many things.
My sister-in-law presented me an interior photo frame

Younger niece playing with a globe and trying to locate the place where my hubby had gone for the business trip abroad

Younger niece playing a card game with me

Older niece doing her homework assignment

A little help from mother in doing the homework

Homework finished and now it is time to read a Manga storybook

We had dinner at about 7 pm. I made Japanese style curry-rice for dinner. As far as I remember, it was the first time I had cooked for children in my life. So I was a bit worried but my nieces told me that the curry tasted good and they seemed to enjoy the food. I was really relieved and so happy.
Curry-rice and salad for dinner

Nieces praying before having dinner

Younger niece trying some cheese over curry-rice

Almost finished dinner; happy girls

Sister-in-law having dinner

After dinner, my sister-in-law and I chatted for some more time. Later we all had watermelon, played a few more card games, and watched some television program. At 8.30 pm, both the nieces took bath at my home, and looked very relaxed afterwards. But after about half an hour or so, nieces became very sleepy due to a very hectic day. Soon it was time for my sister-in-law and nieces to leave. We all really had a nice time that evening.
My nieces and I having watermelon

Older niece having a slice of watermelon and reading a Manga storybook

Younger niece had five slices of watermelon and was very happy after successfully piling the rinds

Nieces relaxed and sleepy after having bath

On 18th September, I just relaxed at home and tended to the garden. On 19th September, hubby was to return to Japan. So that day I left my Ichinomiya home at about 12 noon, and took a Shinkansen bullet train to Tokyo. I saw Mount Fuji while passing through Shizuoka prefecture. It was the first time I saw Mount Fuji without any snow covering the top of the mountain. From Tokyo Railway Station I took another train and reached Narita Airport. I was in time to meet hubby at the arrival area of the airport. The same day we returned to Akita, and now we both are back to our usual routine. Our routine often involves watching movies on weekends at a theater in Akita City. On 21st September, hubby and I saw an English action movie named Non-Stop, which was nice.
Mount Fuji as seen from inside the Shinkansen train

Hubby (left) and his colleague at the arrival area in Narita Airport

Hubby having popcorn before the start of the movie at a theater in Akita City


Kazuo Nagata said...

I want to eat curry-rice.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

I will make some time soon :)