This summer was the best.
One of my worries about having and raising kids here in Japan was that their childhood memories would be so completely different to mine. I had a pretty great childhood in rural England and growing up in urban Japan just seemed so foreign (duh) that I couldn’t imagine how it would compare.
And the toddler’s childhood so far has been different to mine – of course it has – not just everyday stuff but big events and holidays too. Christmas is the obvious one – while it is an event here, the 25th itself is just an ordinary working day and Japanese Christmas cake bears very very little resemblance to a ‘proper’ one. But it’s easy enough to have an English-style Christmas dinner (minus the parsnips) and with a tree and decorations and a stocking it’s not really all that different from Christmas back home.
An English Summer, though, is harder to fake, with insane humidity, weeks of 35+ degree weather and no long, light evenings. This was the first year that the toddler’s been old enough to really enjoy what our little city has to offer in summer – nap time is no longer sacred and bedtime can be stretched out. So we took early morning and evening trips to our favourite beach, hit up as many local matsuri as we could, watched the fireworks and ate somen and kakigori by the bucket load. The toddler spent hours in the sea, got bored after 10 minutes of fireworks and danced her geta off at every matsuri.
At home we pretended over and over to go to Daiei to buy yukata which we then wore to imaginary matsuri and I could see her building her own idea (and adding to mine) of what summer is all about.
These were taken months ago now, and it feels like it, with summer fast (too fast) approaching. We arrived back in Japan in mid-March, sakura already halfway to full bloom. Our last trip to the UK was in 2011, just after the earthquake, and we got back home just too late for the blossoms, so it was extra sweet to be in time this year.
The toddler seemed to really enjoy sakura season this year, pointing out “more cherry blossom” all over the city, and picking up stray blossoms to give to me and the husband. She got into the hanami spirit too, and actually sat still long enough to have a picnic of sandwiches and sekihan (and beer for me) under a cherry tree in a local park. There was still a lot of taking turns to chase her as she ran around, of course.
Last year’s pictures, here.
We made this at playgroup, for Children’s Day on May 5th.
92: The Cat Story
Rain and air pollution combined kept us indoors today. We watched DVDs, played hide and seek (hilarious with a 2 year old) and co-authored our first book.
84: Broken Hearted
85: Hanami feast with friends
86: Tall Tree
87: Hot Cross Buns
88: Crazy line
89: Toy food with eyes
90: Egg Hunt Spoils
Phew, finally caught up. Daily blogging, clearly, has not been my forte over the last couple of months.
Two months ago they looked like this.
I have no idea.
71: Station Superman
72: Work in Progress (toddler self-portrait: eyebrows, hair, feet to come).
73: Squirrel Monkey.
75: Aeroplane food, surprisingly edible.
76: Airport Play Area.
Our last few days in the UK were a whirlwind of friends, family, food and fun. Lots of last-minute shopping (crumpets! wheat crunchies!) for me, and helping Granddad in the garden for the toddler.