Golden Week

Golden Week

We closed the English school for a week because of a series of national holidays collectively known as "Golden Week" in Japan. Families make plans months in advance to travel during the extended vacation. The news reports 60 and 70 mile long traffic jams on the major expressways around Tokyo. We decided to relax around home rather than brave the crowds and special holiday price increases in Hakone or some other tourist spot.

So far we've cycled, splashed in a stream, had a picnic, eaten out (Chinese) and gone swimming. S was too tired from the Saturday cycling to go swimming on Sunday, so I took the kids to the indoor, heated, public swimming pool with two water slides and a circulating pool where we tried to visit in January. L was too young and too short for the slides, but he had a great time drifting around the circulating pool with me while his sisters were sliding.

The children went on and on about the fun they had so S decided we should go again today so he could see this wonderful place. There weren't too many small children, as there was a rule that people using diapers on a daily basis are not permitted in the pool area. There is apparently a nice play room where the grandmothers can stay with the babies while the rest of the family splashes around.

Dinner at a Hiroshima style okonomiyaki restaurant on the way home was good entertainment. The kids loved sitting at the grill/counter watching the the cute young man fry noodles and mountains of shredded cabbage to be sandwiched between a savory crepe and a flattened and spread out fried egg and slathered with brown okonomiyaki sauce. When the "pancakes" were ready, they were placed in front of us on the grill for us to chop away and eat in small portions as the whole pancakes were too big to fit on the small plates we'd been given. The children were excited about eating right off the grill and we managed to finish the meal with no burned fingers or spilled water.

We only rent videos or DVDs a few times a year, so "Monday Night at the Movies" in the Sugio home was appreciated. They watched Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat" and "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of
Azkaban." Tonight they are camping on the floor of the English school with S, a few blocks away from here. They carried blankets and pillows down the street after they brushed their teeth at home.

Tomorrow is probably KARAOKE day and then off to the local hot springs before dinner in the restaurant near the station where we went with Mom and Dad after our picnic last month.