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Published: August 26th 2009
This is a dedication of sorts to those friends and family members that made the 7000 mile journey to Japan. Not only did our visitors provide a break in the monotony that comes with living overseas, but they provided just the catalyst we needed to get out and see Japan. We didn't need much motivation for some of our ski outings or trips abroad, but when you're getting ready for your 20th temple or shrine, it sure helps to have the enthusiasm that comes with first timers. And our visitors were just the necessary prod.
They started arriving in March with Susan and Todd. Please see an earlier blog for our adventures with them. One thing to add about their visit though. We were probably the wildest with them, and with good reason. None of us were pregnant when they arrived. By the time they left, one of us would be.
Next up were Mo's parents who came for 10 glorious days. It's hard not to repeat some journeys with our guests, but Gene and Ginna received all original treks. What we will remember about their trip here: Gene drinking out of the cup cleansing at the shrine,
Cleansing before entering the Shrine
Dad drinking out of the cup (you are supposed to pour in your hand)
Ginna busting out a 3 mile hike in Kamakura after visiting the Big Budda, Gene not adjusting his regimen one iota and not having to thanks to Mo's preparation, Gene eating absolutely anything placed in front of him...even the fishiest of fish, golf on the course and in the cards, buying Gene belts in Ueno to replace his busted one (his pants were falling off when he got off the airport bus). We were also able to introduce them to future no. 12.
Next up came Patty, and with her, the rain. We still say things like, "Man, it's really coming down out there...like when Patty was here." We arranged three baseball games for Patty's visit, eventually learning to move the venue to Tokyo DOME. Raining as it was, it limits the vast number of things to do in Tokyo. We did manage to get outside of the city on a visit to Yokohama, where we took a boat ride and rode a ferris wheel...but neither of those activities is aided by pelting rain, so it was a short visit. Patty, normally a parsimonious eater, lucked out because Mo was in her first trimester and stuck to Subway and
cooked sushi. But Patty, like most guests (ahem Susan), was a trooper.
Bill and Melissa arrived in mid-May. What I thought was going to be a pretty wild ride was somewhat tamed by two pregnant wives. But we had a great time with Bill and Mel. We went to Tsukiji Fish Market and drank sake and ate sushi at 7:00 a.m. The Swallows were in town, so we caught a ball game. The first of three annual Sumo matches was transpiring, so we took that down. We hit Roppongi, mid-town, Kamakura, Ueno, Asakusa, and many other old haunts. It was great having two of our best friends in town.
We had a couple of friends come through Tokyo for work. Yes, some work actually takes place here. Chrissy and Mo got picked up by a 70 year old vet who took them to sushi and drinks in Asakusa. Well, the girls were already going. He tagged along by saying, "you go for sushi? Okay, I come too." Apparently, if you're an old man in Tokyo, all you have to do is invite yourself to lunch with two attractive women, and you're going to get digits.
here researching potential investment ideas. He discovered that you can run up quite a bar tab if you get a little loose in Roppongi. That will forever be the biggest tab I'll ever have in Japan. You don't want to know.
Jimmy arrived in time to climb Mt. Fuji with me. He and his sister travelled south to Hiroshima and Kyoto. We did some karaoke in town (I will forever remember Jimmy singing "Hot For Teacher" and "Georgia On My Mind"...I Brought My Pencil), went to a baseball game. Jimmy, like Todd before him, will eat just about anything you put in front of him. I threw everything I knew at him, and he kept hitting it out of the park. Well played, James. Well played.
Finally, my drinking buddy and Mo's best friend, Amanda came over. Mo and Amanda did a stage at Mt. Fuji. We all saw our first college football game of the year, as the Notre Dame alumni team took on Team Tokyo. Notre Dame dominated and were awarded 2000 bananas. We took in a show by the Japanese Beatles, which was an absolute blast and got to show Amanda some of our favorite
Thank you to all of you who made the journey over to see us. Tokyo wouldn't have been nearly as much fun without you. You will forever be a part of our year in Japan.
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