Today is a national holiday in Japan – Sports and Culture Day. Tom didn’t have work but the girls had school (score!) and Hayden went with his friends to O-Daiba to hang out at the Sega Theme Park. It was a beautiful Indian Summer day and we took our bikes and rode to Happo-En a Japanese garden not far from our house. (i recently bought a mamacharie – which is the Japanese word for the type of bike the wicked witch of the west rode). I would assume the name derives from Mama Chariot. Anyway, its what all the woman ride here and they are cheap and get you from point A to point B and there is a nice big basket to carry your packages. When we arrived at the garden there were two weddings going on. They let us walk around anyway which was very nice of them and we saw an entire row of bonsai trees, some of which were over 500 years old. That was astonishing to us. Can you imagine caring for a little tree over the course of 5 or 6 generations? Tom said he was happy to have his grandfather’s cufflinks but thats about as far as something has passed in his family from one generation to the next. There was an insane amount of carp going bananas in the pond and Tom pointed out the “life bouy” in case anyone fell in (see photo). While we were walking through the gardens, the bells started chiming calling the guests to the ceremony – which was held in a small chapel with stained glass windows with a big silver cross on top. I’m pretty sure neither one of the couple were christian. Its just something the Japanese love to do – imitate other cultures (especially western ones) to make things look and feel legitimate. It was pretty bizarre in the middle of this very japanese garden. as we were leaving, we noticed a sign in the parking lot that we thought was pretty funny. See the photo attached. It reads like someone was actually drunk while writing it. You would think they would ask someone who spoke English how to translate the meaning.
Our three day weekend in Tokyo started off very much like it might have if we were back in New York. Tom left work early and we drove out to Hayden’s school – The American School in Tokyo for a Friday night football game. When we arrived, the school was packed with kids and fans and the grill was fired up and moms and dads were making hamburgers and hotdogs. There were cheerleaders and a half-time show, just like at home. The kids were even playing against other Americans as they hosted the Edgren Eagles, an Air Force team from up north in Hokkaido. Hayden’s team won and we stayed for part of the varsity game.
On Saturday, we spent the morning doing errands, returning videos we rented, dropping off shoes to be fixed, having some pants altered at the tailors. All things anyone at home might do on a Saturday morning. I took the girls to a nearby international school fair and spent a lot of money on nothing and walked home with a headache, but the girls had a good time. School fairs in Japan serve alcohol and lots of it. Probably why I saw many more Dads than I would usually see at a school fair back home.
Tom and I got our absentee ballots in the mail today. Tom opened it, voted, signed and sealed it. Tossed it on my desk to mail asap. Mine is sitting next to my computer staring at me. I am still undecided and may have to vote for Ralph Nader. Even though I know deep down our votes won’t count. Please…absentee ballots… what chain of events has to happen for them to even open those envelopes? But for some reason (not sure why because I would never categorize myself as political) this election, it means something to me. I’ll have to sleep on it…