Sunday, November 02, 2008

Yoshidas in NYC!

I couldn't believe it when I heard that Kumi was coming to New York!! Along with Masami (her husband), they were traveling with Yasumi-sensei (the school nurse from Ine High School) and (Mariko-sensei (the school nurse from Amino High School).

I was so excited when I heard the news- and immediately panicked because I knew I would have to make their 4 day visit somewhat as amazing as my Yoshida-bread laden, Japanese-culture- and-generosity-infused year abroad. Also, that meant I would have to speak Japanese again, which I haven't done regularly in about a year- and even then, it was pretty bad!

Paul and I surprised them at their hotel with bags of fruit, snacks, and bottles of green tea. It was a pretty emotional reunion- a combination of screaming/crying/hugging! Of course, they were prepared with omiyage and each presented us with typical Japanese gifts such as candy and snacks, but of course gave us some exquisite items, including a coral tie pin for Paul, a handmade silk flower brooch for me, and handpainted towels.

I took the next few days off work so that I could spend some quality time with them. We took the subway, buses, and ferries around town, and did some typical but exhausting New York sightseeing: walked through Times Square (all the lights! the traffic! the people!!), Nolita, Soho, the Union Square farmer's market, ate dim sum and perused the weird fruit and fish markets in Chinatown, visited the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, downtown and financial district, Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, 5th Avenue, Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center, Herald Square and Macy's, Central Park, introduced them to American style BBQ and Korean BBQ, 24 hour delis, the Lion King musical, Dean & Deluca, walked the Brooklyn Bridge and promenade...

I don't know if my efforts at being their NY tour guide did any justice to what the Yoshidas did for me when I lived in Japan (especially with my shameful mix of Jap-lish and pantomines). It was also tough not being able to have room to actually host them in my apartment, or having the luxury of driving them around the city, or introducing them to local craftsmen who make New York City manholes or something. I'm sure they were incredibly thrown off by the frenzied pace of the city, so vastly different from the peaceful ricefield towns of Kyotango-shi! I was impressed with how easily they assimilated to the city and how much energy they had everyday! Plus, it was great to take a break from being so stressed out with the paperwork of the apartment closing and packing up my apartment.

This was also only about 4 days after Paul and I got engaged, so they were also pretty excited and on the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, they kept asking me where it was that Paul had proposed. (The idea of him getting down on one knee on the bridge was just sooooooooooo romantic and dreamy...)

I miss you Kumi and Masami! Please come again soon!!

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