Friday, April 24, 2009 ;
7:38 PM
We reached Nagoya about 5pm and contacted Y, who met up with us with her 2 elder kids.

Our sons were so happy to meet with them again! They hugged and ran around and played so much!

Then we met up with the lady who was renting her place to us for the night. She lives in Nagoya city, so it is much easier for us to get to the airport than to stay at Y's house again for the night. The lady, Miyuki, is so kind to meet us at Marriot hotel.

We chose a Japanese pork cutlet place and had a really scrumptious dinner there. Y insisted on treating. They have lovely kids' meal with free gifts and toys and cards too, so the kids were very happy.

Then Y had to travel to get home, and Miyuki hailed a cab and we went to her place.

It was really an insight into how the locals live their lives. I was so glad for this opportunity and experience.

Of course, it isn't like a hotel or ryokan, like it isn't as convenient, but it is in so many ways better, because we understand so much more about the Japanese culture and their way of life.

The inconveniences first:
1. Miyuki explained that this is a very old traditional Japanese house. It is drafty and cold. And it really was. It was freezing to shower, and cold at night to sleep. Fortunately, she had space heaters and we really kept them on the whole night. Even so, all of us were having runny noses the whole night alternating with stuffy noses due to the cold.

2. The toilet and bathroom/ shower were in separate rooms and a distance away. They were both very small. I happened to have a visit from Aunt Flo that very day and it was very inconvenient for me to clean, change and throw the stuff away.

Also, our bedroom was upstairs and the steep and narrow stairs creaked. The kids would sometimes need to go to the toilet or wash their hands even after going to the bedroom, so we had to bring them all the way down to use the toilet or wash hands.

3. The bathroom/ shower had no space to hang towels or clothes so we had to emerge from the bathroom naked to dry ourselves and change. For the kids, it was not a problem. Dh showered them inside and they came out to me, ready with their towels and clothes. Dh decided not to shower. For me, I had a lot of problem and stress cos I didn't want our host to catch me naked, although she seemed pretty casual about it.

Other than these, we were so happy because the host was so friendly, warm and hospitable.

First, she tried to get to know us better and asked what the kids liked to eat, then she went out to buy groceries. She cycled there in the cold and dark! It was still raining!

Then, she did provide a lot of bedding for us, so the blankets did keep us warm enough.

She showed me how to operate her appliances and I did boil water for ourselves, and how to use her bathroom.

Her toilet system is very good. Conserves water very well. Dh was suitably impressed.
We were initially puzzled when we saw no tap but a spout like those on a water cooler. And it was situated right on top of the cistern of the toilet.

When we flushed the toilet, water will come out from the spout. It was clean water for us to wash our hands, but that water with which we washed our hands will flow right into the cistern, to pool for the next flush. Smart, eh? And conserves water well!

This is our bed. I was tucking the kids in.

Thick fluffy bedding. I checked the labels just to make sure the kids would be comfy (I usually use 100% cotton for them. ds2 is prone to rashes and he has delicate skin). The brown one is from Harrods, London! Definitely good quality.

There are some simple furnishings. TV, cabinets. She let us use all her toiletries, bath towels and we could throw whatever towels into her washing machine after use.

Makeshift wardrobe, good enough for us.

After the kids slept, I went down to join Dh and her. They were talking about politics. I unpacked and packed the suitcase and then joined in their discussion as well. By then, they were comparing the world's different education system. We learnt a lot more about Japan's systems too.

She and Y's mom were colleagues in a school, teaching English. She now teaches in her own home, while Y's mom still teaches in the school.

Then we talked about food, how to cook certain dishes, Japanese festivals... She showed us a lot of magazines... I think we retired to bed very late! It was a very good chat.

This video is a really short clip. I took it when we were all waiting for the lift to reach our floor, and the kids took any opportunity to play with each other. Here there was a big space, so they made good use of it. I quickly stopped filming when the lift arrived, so it was only few secs long!

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