We're back in Tokyo now and I'm wondering how three weeks at home slipped by so fast. I'm also a bit bewildered at how, after two years as expats, this return to Japan also feels like coming home. So I guess we've officially got two homes now. New York, which I think we all identify as the place where we're from (though Terry will always be a Cardinals fan) and Tokyo, where we live, and will keep living for at least another six months or so (we think). We're comfortable in both places. The boys seem to be of two minds -- demanding to move back to Brooklyn one day, then asking why we don't live in a house in Westchester (where we could do playdates with the cousins any time we wanted) the next, all the while fondly recalling friends and classmates from the British school in Tokyo and our darling 4-year-old neighbor in the Hiroo apartment downstairs...
It's confusing for them I think, though Conor is very philosophical about it. A couple months ago, when we weren't sure if we would be leaving after the two year contract was up and I was trying to prepare my 9-year-old for a possible move ("we might stay, and we might go -- we don't know" I told him, "but either way, we'll be fine!" and he seemed to appreciate the situation) Conor said to me something like, "Ya know Mom, we will always go to New York to visit, but if we leave Japan, we won't ever come back, so I want to stay in Japan, so we can have both." (Pretty deep, coming from a 9-year-old, no?) Dylan is another story -- at 7 years old, he seems a bit less clear on what he thinks and how he feels about our life, and he's more emotional by nature, more dramatic. He flipflops between "I hate Japan" and "Japan is my favorite now." I roll with it.
This post was supposed to be a series of pictures taken during our time in New York, but then I remembered one of my new year's resolutions: write more for the blog. So thanks for sticking with me this long. I hope you consider the following shots your reward. Happy New Year.
And now, scenes from a cold late December day in Manhattan...
An amusing discovery while walking down Lexington Avenue near 42nd Street (check out the traditional Japanese New Year's mochi cake in the window, the tiered thing with the red fan sticking up out of the orange)
Serious shopping at The Compleat Strategist, a board and fantasy game geek's paradise at 33rd St. between Madison and 5th aves.
Terry bought Carcassonne (a hit at my brother's house)...
...and some tiny D-and-D figures for the boys
Empire State! (Despite how cold it was outside, the line to get to the top was 3 blocks long! Terry and I hadn't been up there in 20 years, and the kids have never been up, but this was clearly not the day for it)
Herald Square! (The boys always love a good street performance. I ducked out early to go buy bras at a nearby Victoria's Secret shop. I normally wouldn't mention this except that when Terry brought the boys there to meet me, Dylan asked, "Why are we in a knickers store?" Only he didn't say knickers, he said knickahs. My little English lad... this is what happens when you go to the British School.)
Next: Union Square...
Brussel sprouts at the Greenmarket
This was better than tea on that frigid day.
Looking north up Broadway at the corner of 13th Street
Finally, a chance to see Fantastic Mr. Fox (great flick!). I had forgotten just how ginormous Regal Cinemas is...
Seeing the boys off (it was back to the burbs, and dinner with the grandparents for them, while I had a little more time to myself)
Crossing Fifth Ave. at 18th St. on my way to meet Susan at El Cocotero for some tasty arepas
Venezuelan beer to go with the Venezuelan cuisine
Heading back to Brooklyn a few days later...this time in the Buick we borrowed from my grandparents (I still say trains rule)
View from the bridge of our old co-op home, The St. George Tower. Sublet ending, thinking about selling...