Friends and family

We had been looking forward to today for a while. Our friend Miho had studied with us at school and then university back in Australia, but has returned to her homeland of Japan temporarily. Having not seen her for months, we were pleased to have been able to arrange a few days in her hometown of Kamakura. To get there from Kyoto, we caught three trains with relative ease, and were met by her and her mother at the station.

The afternoon was a delight. We arrived at her lovely home and were practically waited on hand and foot by her mother. We had bought a few snacks at the supermarket, but her mother made us soba noodles as well. Then it was fresh green tea and biscuits, and more snacks kept following. We spent the afternoon chatting, catching up with an old friend and enjoying the opportunity to be in her country instead of she in ours (though she thinks of Australia as home now).

We made a Skype call home to Chris, her boyfriend, which was just as fun as I hadn't spoken to him in a month or two. Then it was dinner time, with a delicious rice, egg and chicken dish that I'm forgetting the name of, and a myriad of side dishes including pumpkin in broth, bean salad, tofu and more. As lunch had been late, I wasn't able to eat all of it, and had to turn down the offer for dessert. Before I'd even finished the meal, Miho was already asking on her mother's behalf what we'd want for breakfast, and did we like French toast? We kept offering to help clear dishes but she is a machine and shrugged off the suggestion.

As a result, we didn't see any of Kamakura. Tomorrow we will get out and admire our surroundings, and while today was a great day to experience, it was no doubt a boring one to read about. Sorry you had to miss out. We'd experienced the Japanese friendliness and generosity to an extent already, but it's something else completely to be continuously provided food and drinks by your host. She had thought of everything and kept trying to ensure we were comfortable. The simple pleasures of good conversation and quiet accommodation in a home are a delight. I fear our time with Miho will be over too soon.