Friday, 2 September 2011

Taking stock of what's left to experience

The interview with the British Immigration Bureau wasn’t an interview at all, rather a paperwork checking service to make sure we’d correctly filled in every box/line on the forms. Once this was done, we were fingerprinted and photographed.

Even MissM had to be fingerprinted!

We were told to wait 1-2 weeks for our visa/passport to be returned. We were not to phone, but to check online for status updates. When the website informs us we can collect them, we are to arrive between 12.30-1.30pm only.

As of today the status is ‘in transit’ which we assume means the post is being delivered from one side of Tokyo to the other.

At 4.30pm we’d confirmation we can collect visa’s, tho we still have to wait to see if they have been approved. Can’t see why they won’t be, but ya never know.

So, how do we feel?

Anxious until we know we have the visa’s in our passports.

DH has already checked flights to UK. It’s time for me to emotionally get my head around the fact that he will ‘leave Japan’ this week (all being well with visa’s) and we’ll follow shortly after. Mind you, having a final date will be a relief in many ways. We’ve ‘been leaving’ since May.

This week I’ve spent time Googling ‘things to do/see in Tokyo and Yokohama’ just in case we’ve missed something. While we’ve not done everything – gosh, no one could achieve that but we’ve done pretty much the things that are of interest to us.

One place I did want to experience before leaving was Kappabashi. Going there with MsS and MsS was really enjoyable. MsS is a cake baker and decorator, and MsS is fluent in Japanese.  My only contribution to the outing was my curiosity. I enjoyed listening and learning to all that was going on around me. The temptation to ‘bake’ came and went during the day but didn’t get a strong hold so I’ll still have to buy my cakes or at the very least, bake a Betty Crocker one.

Specialist shops

Everything you could ever need to cook

Cookie cutter anyone?

I am ever so grateful for MsP for doing the Seven Lucky Gods Walk in Tokyo before her family left Japan; Global Girls was brilliant for getting out’n’about thanks to MsH inquisitive nature and a group of equally inquisitive ladies; MsS and MsY and I have shared several beautiful exhibitions; plus of course, all the things we did as a family. By the time the last photo is in the album, we’ll have filled 5 12x12 Creative Memories albums and several albums created online with the applemac.

7 Lucky Gods
Padlocks of love, Enoshima with Global Girls

Main street on Enoshima with Global Girls
We shared Kyoto with Mum; Sappora Snow Festival with FamilyP and FamilyA; the autumn colours in Nikko were stunning; Fuji-san is spectacular. 
Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺 Temple of the Golden Pavilion?), also known as Rokuon-ji (鹿苑寺)

Tori gates at Fushimi Inari-taisha

Nijo Castle, the Castle with Nightingale floors
The sculptures were increible at Sapporo Snow Festival

So there's no mad rush to see'n'do stuff but rather simply spending time with friends. This week a group of us are off to ‘Dirty Dishes’ a Japanese crockery wholesaler selling pottery plates, bowls etc the style of which expensive Teppanyaki courses are served on. They are tactile and ‘earthy’ which I have admired since arriving here. The mission of purchasing a ‘dinner set’ might just be achieved. However I will probably end up with a set of 8 or 10 even tho we really only need 6. I asked a friend a while ago ‘why are sets of plates, or sake cups for example sold in 5’s – it’s an odd number’. 

I am sure there are many explanations but the one I’ve come across most often are:
·       It’s simple. According to Buddha’s teachings there are five elements in ascending order of power, Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Void.
·       NEVER ask for a set of 4 of anything. Four, pronounced shi, is a homophone for death.
·       On the other hand, the number 8 is considered a lucky number. This is because of the shape of the kanji character for eight. The two strokes are wider at the bottom, suggesting a better time or better things to come in the future. 

So, when buying my dinner set, even tho I really only want a set of 6, I will probably end up with either 8 or 10 (two sets of 5).

Wish us luck for Monday J

With friendship

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