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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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last day in Japan??

Posted Saturday, Sept. 15, 2001 10:05 pm Tokyo time

Today we went to visit Ryo Suzuki, a friend of my family. It was good to see him, and see the suburbs of Tokyo. Like us, he was horrified by the terrible events of the past few days in the U.S. Coverage is still all over the Japanese news channel, with much sympathy and support for the victims. It's incredibly touching to see so many different countries, political groups, and personalities unite in this time of crisis. Here's a Blatherchat comment from Beckett:

"I was driving home this afternoon through the streets here in Fremont, California and was astounded by the number of American flags I saw from every possible location- cars, houses, motorcycles, trucks, curbs, filling stations, lampposts, stores, bridges and walkways. It was amazing. It was so touching. And then as I drove down one of the main streets that runs by the central park, I saw one of the big firetrucks parked alongside the road. The whole hook-and-ladder assembly was extended out over the 6 lanes of the street, with one of the biggest flags that I've ever seen waving proudly over the entire street. All the cars driving by were honking, and almost every car was waving a flag too. I've never seen so many American flags flown by so many people before. I've never seen such a display of community here in Fremont before. Of course it made me cry and it was hard to see to drive..."

My day...

We had lunch in a conveyor belt-type sushi restaurant, and then took another train to see Ryo's apartment, where we fed a stray cat who comes to visit him, ate some melon and Philippine mango, and snooped through his bookshelf (he recently finished reading War and Peace in English; impressive since English is not his first language). It was -very- good to see Ryo again.

On the way to Ryo's and back home, I had ample chance to do more people-watching. That's been my favourite pasttime in Japan, mainly because there are so many differences in physical appearance and social behaviour. People-watching in Toronto is going to pale by comparison for a while, I think. :-) I've included several photos from my train ride on this page.

This evening, we went out with Alison to a tempura place near her apartment, then to a bookstore in New Otani, a nearby hotel. A good selection of English magazines and books; both Jeff and I picked up a book to tide us over in case we run that I've secured my precious travel book-light, my current fear is running out of reading material during our 7+ hour wait in the airport (assuming the flight leaves on time) and during the 12 hour flight.

Jeff and I are trying to limit our news-watching to once a day, at the end of the day. I keep fervently hoping for news of survivors being found. :-( Anyway, heartfelt thanks to those who posted a comment in Blatherchat (Steve, Amanda, Lissa, Lyanne, Sherman, Luisa, Rick, Heather M., Heather B., Scott, Christo, Dave) about navigational skills in response to my silly poll. Too complicated to explain exactly why, but you should know it meant a great deal to me. :-)

At the end of this Blathering is a photo I took about an hour ago, just as Alison, Jeff and I were on our way out of the New Otani hotel to go home for the night. In the lobby of one of the hotel restaurants, there was a Japanese man wearing a sombrero, playing Mexican tunes on a Celtic harp.

I found this scene oddly appropriate for our last night in Japan. :-)

Assuming our flight leaves on time tomorrow (Saturday, Toronto time), this will likely be my last Blathering before I get back to Toronto, tho I will post an update from the Narita airport if I can. Even though our flight is not until the evening, we plan to arrive at the airport in the morning. That way if our flight is cancelled, we'll have a better chance of finding another way home. If necessary we can stay overnight in a hotel near the airport, or even find a place to sleep at the airport so we can wait around on stand-by.

One way or another, we ARE going to get home. :-)

Today's Blatherpics:

- Me with our friend, Ryo Suzuki.

- A commuter on Tokyo subway train. I was intrigued by the writing on his t-shirt. On first glance, I had figured he had visited the UK and some point. Then I looked closer and realized that the t-shirt had been made in Japan, containing text that had possibly been translated. T-shirt text begins: "Greater London is divided, for adnubustratuve purposes, into 32 boroughs plus The City"..."

- Girlfriends on an outing with one of their mothers. I had figured the girl on the right was a fellow gaijin, but then realized she was speaking fluent Japanese.

- I was amused by the fact that the parents and child were all in Gap t-shirts. :-)

- Ryo and Jeff in a kaiten-zushi restaurant. My favourite was bin-toro, which my dad had highly recommended I try (this was the same restaurant that he and Ryo ate at when he came to visit).

- Cat hanging around the outside of Ryo's apartment. When I asked whose cat it was, Ryo said that the cat had been abandoned by its owner (who evidently moved elsewhere). When I commented that the cat seemed to be waiting for something, Ryo admitted that he sometimes fed it. He gave me a plastic bowl of milk to put outside, and the cat immediately lapped up every drop.

- Japanese Mexican harpist.

Today's Poll:

Have you ever participated in karaoke?

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