A Busy Weekend

Our nephew and his wife and children decided they'd like to stop by on Sunday and were kind enough to call on Saturday and confirm that we'd be around. I told them that we'd be out in the morning supervising security at the annual kindergarten bazaar until at least 2 p.m. and that S would be gone all day, administering the autumn Standardized Tests of English Proficiency at our classroom. We decided that 3 p.m. would be OK and L and I baked a pumpkin cheesecake to cool and chill overnight.

Fritz called Saturday night with the news that he'd have some time Sunday afternoon after all and I gave him instructions to get the trains to our station. Then I went shopping to get some pork and vegetables to make a big pot of miso pork soup, like the soup we served at the "Welcome to Japan F&J Judo Rice Cake Drum Concert Jubilee" in case the nephew and his family decided to stay for dinner. S came home after the kids' judo lesson and asked me to press a white dress shirt for Sunday as the university judo club had asked him to referee at an inter collegiate judo meet after the English tests. I found a fairly fresh permanent press white shirt hanging in the closet and eliminated the ironing task from my list of things to do (like washing the big glass doors to the balcony and folding the pile of laundry that had accumulated after 6 rainy days).

Sunday morning I prepared a batch of rice, chicken and vegetables to cook in my rice cooker in a light broth of dried bonito and soy sauce, a little sake, salt and a dash of sugar so we'd have something to eat with our soup for dinner. After breakfast, S went to the classroom for the testing and the kids and I rode our bikes to the kindergarten to hang around from 9:30 to 1:30 shopping, playing games, eating and making sure there were no problems with kids climbing where they shouldn't, shoplifters or armed robbery (the tin box full of change would be a little noisy during an escape).

On our way to our bikes after the bazaar, the bazaar committee announced that the unsold items were available for the taking and N and L rushed over and grabbed a box each of Christmas decorations. J didn't appreciate the big boxes of Santa and a musical duo which looked like Barbie and Ken with instruments strapped on the back of her bike on the way home. I did find a few good costumes for Halloween for L & N; Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. J & M got lots of yarn for their cardboard box knitting project and also a bag full of Hello Kitty stuffed dolls (just like the grungy ones I threw out a few weeks ago, but in brand new condition).

We rushed home in time to vacuum and answer the phone to find that Fritz was on his way. I asked him to call from a closer station so I could meet him at our station and continued to rush, putting all the stuff that the kids brought home from the bazaar away before their cousin and his family arrived. When Fritz called, I told the kids to stay home and wait for the cousin while I went to the station. I met the cousin on my way out to the street and explained where I was off to and that I'd be back soon.

The kids were all playing happily with their cousins (once removed) when I got back with Fritz and some fried chicken and wakame (seaweed) and octopus salad we bought at the deli (thanks, Fritz) to compliment the soup and rice. Nobody noticed the large clear bag full of Christmas presents from Grandma and Grandpa which were carried to the back room and hidden in the closet with all of the laundry that I hadn't been able to fold on Saturday. I worry about the durability of the paper door holding all of these things behind it.

We decided to eat the cheesecake first in case Fritz had to leave before dessert to get back to the base. 3 o'clock is snacktime anyway, so the inlaws, who had brought some snacks as a housegift, didn't think anything of starting with dessert. With 10 people crowded around the table, I couldn't maneuver very well so I asked Fritz to cut and serve for me. The kids all had a good time "garnishing" their pieces with whipped cream from a squeeze tube and J had 3 pieces. With more than a pound of cream cheese, I knew the recipe would be good.

In spite of the rich snack at 3, the soup and rice sold well at an early dinner and S even came home for about 90 seconds to drop some things off and say hello before returning to the judo meet and his usual evening classes. I left the kids with the inlaws and walked Fritz back to the station a little after 6 so he could get back to the base a little after 7. The inlaws stayed until 8:30 and carried a big bag full of Hello Kitty dolls home with them on the train (Hurray!). S came home at 9 and seemed surprised but perhaps relieved that everyone had left.

Fritz had plans to fly on Monday, but had to stay put while a mechanical problem was repaired, postponing his flight to Tuesday. We made tentative plans to get together on Wednesday or Thursday.

Typhoon number 23 was working its way through Japan on Wednesday, necessitating Fritz and his crew to fly to another part of Japan late Wednesday afternoon. It looks like we won't see him again this trip. We really enjoyed having him here on Sunday and the inlaws were quite happy to meet him.

L was home Monday with no school after the big bazaar on Sunday.