So, tonight is the last night I spend with my family in Amagasaki. They have been the most generous, kind, patient hosts anyone could ever imagine. I will remember them forever. It's a poignant moment for me. I've spent just under a month with these people, people who were, only a short while ago, total strangers to me, and the parting will be a sad time indeed. In such a short time, they truly have become dear to me, but dearer people to me call me home.
Today started off quite well, with our final Japanese lesson for the trip. Fujiwara-sensei has been amazingly helpful throughout our entire time in Japan, and I can only hope that everyone gets a teacher like her at least once in their lifetime. People deserve that kind of pleasure.
I met Miki and her friend Mori-chan for lunch after Japanese, and we went to a little sushi bar that has cheap lunches. It was really good, for 1000 yen (about $15) I got a massive plate of sushi, a huge bowl of udon (noodles), some miso soup, coffee and green tea. It was tremendously good value for money, and the sushi store itself was incredible. There was this fantastic clock (which I stupidly didn't photograph) with that amazing plastic food the Japanese are so good at in place of numbers. I want one.
After lunch we had a "lesson" with some of the Adult Education people, where we just sat and chatted with them about differences between Australia and Japan. It was okay, but I could probably have used my time better....
Afterwards, we were going to all head off to a Karaoke bar near uni, for which I had some vouchers, and do some Karaoke. However, plans changed when Trav's friend Takeshi invited us to his place after school for drinks and Takoyaki, and then Karaoke afterwards. It was fun but left us with precious little time - most of us had to leave at 6 and we didn't get to the place til 5, then what with having to go through all the rigmarole of firstly, not really understanding the guy (he mumbled and spoke way too quickly and didn't seem to care that we were foreigners and had trouble understanding him) and then, when we finally understood what he wanted, having to all sign up - for one hour of Karaoke! We decided to forget it and just go home. I had to go anyway, I had groceries with me because I decided to cook for the family tonight.
I made my Funky Chicken, and it was a big hit! I left the recipe with Miki so she will be able to do it herself in the future, which I'm sure she will do. After that, I did my packing - some of my stuff is still damp from being washed yesterday - things take FOREVER to dry here - but hopefully it'll be dry enough to pack tomorrow. I've got it hanging up over the lounge room heater so it should be right...
After packing, Sogo, Miki and I broke out some wine and cheese and stuff, and Miki showed me the present she'd made me - a PhotoStory slideshow of photos from the Kaiyuukan (Aquarium). It was lovely. I nearly cried!
I'm really going to miss them...
Of course, I've got them friended on Facebook and I have their email addresses, so it's not like I'll never speak to them again. That's the joy of modern technology - you can make friends on the other side of the world and then when you go home, keep in touch with them in real-time, without having to wait weeks for international post. It's marvellous!
So, this time tomorrow I will be well and truly gone from Japan. The month has flown by in some ways, but in other ways it feels like I've been gone from Australia for a year.
I'll have one last update when I get back to Australia and return to some sort of normalcy, but until then, dear readers, take care, and don't forget to check out my photobucket