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Amparo Bertram

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03:49 pm: And they're off!
Friday, the gang spent most of the morning packing. After lunch we trooped over to have a tour of my school, which they had been wanting to do since they got here. I picked up guest passes for them at the office and showed them around. They were even taken in to meet the principal and vice-principal, both of whom are new for the coming school year. (The former principal retired, and the former vice-principal was transferred.) It was my first time meeting the principal, but the new vice-principal is the same person from the Board of Education who has been doing all my paperwork (and bringing me the superintendant's vegetables).

jornada202 had unfortunately left behind the cable needed to connect her digital camera to a computer, so we tried to get her a new one to enable her to clear the camera's memory. It turned out that, no matter where we asked, that particular cable is only sold with the camera, and not as a separate part. The only way to get it was to order it directly from the manufacturer, which we did on Monday. It came in on Thursday, with but one day remaining to make it worthwhile. Thus, she began snapping photos like a madwoman, just because she could, and she got some really nice ones.

After that, we headed into Kyoto for one last walk down the shopping arcade. I dragged everyone into a printclub (or purikura) booth to initiate them into its thrilling and addicting ways. For those not familiar with it, it's a booth where you and your friends can have your pictures taken against a variety of backdrops. Then you have the opportunity to draw electronically on the pictures. Finally the pictures are printed out on small stickers that can be split among the friends as a memento of the occasion. Japanese high school girls do this on a regular basis, often bringing dozens (if not hundreds) of the little stickers to school, where they spend their time in class pasting them into notebooks and decorating the area around them with comments.

One of the interesting things about this particular shopping arcade is that it's interrupted periodically by small temples. Strangely, this seems completely natural. One of them has this spot out front to amuse those who pass by.

I might venture to add that we stopped at Animate. How could we not? Interestingly, one of the areas that had previously been covered by blank "under construction" walls was finally opened to public view, and it turned out to be a new branch of Kinokuniya. How convenient. (It won't actually open until the end of April.)

We rounded off our last evening together by eating at the Indian restaurant again. megory chatted with the server, who informed us that his wife and children (except for one son attending a nearby college) all live in India, and he has been traveling back and forth between there and Japan every few months for the past 30 years. Yikes. This meal also inspired the wonderful quote, "What is my goal with the cheese?" (I *so* should have been keeping a quotelist...)

The gang's plane home was scheduled to take off today at 1pm, which meant we had to leave the house at 7:30am in order to get there on time. Aside from a bit of a misunderstanding on the last leg of the trip (the train from Osaka to the airport unhooks the last three cars to let the two sections of the train go to different destinations; sometimes the front cars go to the airport, and sometimes the rear cars do...when I picked them up last week it was the latter, but this time--confusingly enough--it turned out to be the former), the ride wasn't too bad. megory once again chatted to the foreigners near us, a father and daughter. I didn't hear the entire conversation, but I believe the daughter is apparently also an anime/manga fan and is staying here for college, and so her father's luggage (like my parents') was crammed with manga to take home.

At the airport checkin, jornada202 was pulled aside for a security interview. She was asked, "Did you pack your bags yourself?" ...to which she replied, "No." ^_^; The interviewer, of course, was quite concerned about this, until she launched into the explanation, "Well, first we had to spread everything out on the floor with all the bags in the middle, and then..." I think they let her go before she got to the part about shifting things around for several hours to even out the weight.

I saw them all off at the last security point around noon. By now, they should be well on their way. The apartment seems really quiet...

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Comments

[User Picture]
From:basicblack
Date:April 2nd, 2005 01:45 am (UTC)
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Ah, I hope you don't feel too lonely. Enjoy the peace instead - settle down with something absorbing (and possibly porny, so much the better...) ^__^
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 2nd, 2005 12:53 pm (UTC)
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Enjoy the peace instead - settle down with something absorbing

They did leave me with a whole stack of books, CDs, and DVDs to keep me occupied for a while. Which is a good thing, since with all the manga they took home for me, my bookshelves are looking sadly bare.
[User Picture]
From:basicblack
Date:April 3rd, 2005 01:31 am (UTC)
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Are you planning on going home any time soon? I appreciate that whenever you go home you wouldn't have room in your cases for everything you wanted to bring back... but it seems a shame for you to lose all you manga for too long...
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 3rd, 2005 05:03 am (UTC)
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Are you planning on going home any time soon?

Not for at least another year...that is, assuming they ever give me my contract renewal papers.

but it seems a shame for you to lose all you manga for too long...

It is, but it's vastly preferable to the amount of postage it costs to ship everything. Even bulk book rate, it costs a fortune. That's not even taking into account having to re-purchase everything when the post office loses it. (I once had to re-purchase ALL of Meitantei Conan because the post office lost the box. I believe that was well over 20 volumes at the time.)
[User Picture]
From:firesign10
Date:April 2nd, 2005 06:25 am (UTC)
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Sounds like it was a great visit! It's been really interesting to read about all the places you went. Your family sounds like they are ready and willing to be adventurous and make the most of their time in another land. It's invaluable to be there with someone who knows their way around, I couldn't imagine going there without that! SO now you can take a deep breath, put up your (gotta be tired!) feet, pick up some boy love porn quality reading material and relax............
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 2nd, 2005 12:51 pm (UTC)
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It's been really interesting to read about all the places you went.

Thanks! There really are so many places to visit in the area, especially Kyoto, that I could do something different every weekend for at least a year...if I wanted to... Having an excuse to overcome inertia is the main factor.

Your family sounds like they are ready and willing to be adventurous and make the most of their time in another land.

They did very well, considering they arrived jet-lagged and sick. (They were just starting to feel better when it was time to leave. X_X)

SO now you can take a deep breath, put up your (gotta be tired!) feet, pick up some boy love porn quality reading material and relax...

I will try to do that...today. (I have to go back to work tomorrow.)
[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:April 2nd, 2005 07:50 am (UTC)
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Congratulations on a successful week of tour-guiding! Loved the pictures.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 2nd, 2005 12:54 pm (UTC)
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Loved the pictures.

Thanks! Kyoto is so photogenic.
[User Picture]
From:megory
Date:April 2nd, 2005 01:09 pm (UTC)

We're home!

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Thanks for such a wonderful time in Japan.

Rob was waiting for us at the airport and we stopped in Ann Arbor to say hi to Al and Joe and Ryan before arriving home. We've snacked on the tofu bread rolls and some treats Rob brought along.

We've already basically taken everything out of the luggage. Now to find some place to put the books!

Brandon is here and asked about you.

We had a wonderful time and really appreciate all of your attention to us. Thanks! We miss you already. Lots of love...
[User Picture]
From:aerorei
Date:April 12th, 2005 07:06 am (UTC)
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Wow, I'm mentioned, cool. Finally got around to checking out your site and stuff for a few minutes tonight. It's been hectic going back to class and all, but luckily I don't even have to go out of my way to see sakura because there's quite a bit near school, and even a little park near the station there. ^_^
(~Telyni)
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 12th, 2005 02:28 pm (UTC)
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Hi! It's nice to hear from you. I hope your reacclimation goes smoothly.

Japan certainly has a lot going for it in the spring.
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