Monday, September 7, 2015

Father and Son

These days, whenever the entire family is together at home, Little A declares me persona non grata. I am made to exit the bedroom, or the living room, so that he and Big A can have uninterrupted boy time. 

As it is, I am Little A's daily driver, after school minder and supermarket companion five and a half days a week, so he probably wants me out of his sight when Dad is home.

Since Big A only has evenings with Little A during the week, on weekends we make short trips to the nearby zoos or parks. Otherwise we hang out in our tiny flat, relaxing until it is time for the following week to begin in earnest. 

Boy time leaves me free to read, have my nails done, attempt to get the flat organised, and lately, try and get a head start on this year's Christmas shopping. That last is simply done from my mobile phone as I have a handy list of crafty contacts who regularly produce presents for the people on my gift list. Nephews, nieces and godchildren get books carefully chosen and purchased during the September sales.

The busiest time of the year at my shop looms ahead. In a few weeks, we will be putting Christmas merchandise on the shelves and hoping it sells out quickly. Knowing I can do my bit to bring in my share of the family bacon while my son is happy at home with his dad is a welcome thought.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Japan Again

Three overseas trips in one year, what a lucky girl I am! Granted, the European one in January was mainly a work trip, but in the spring, and again last week, Big A and I jetted off to Japan while Little A (almost too happily)went to stay with my parents for a long weekend.

Since the first trip was to Tokyo, this second one was to Osaka and nearby Kyoto. It was summer, and we did not expect the heat to rival that of Manila. As Japan is further north on the globe, we thought it would be more temperate than tropical. At any rate, friends who had visited the week before we did told us to be ready with summer clothes.

The weather was what we were used to from home, so it wasn't unpleasant. Osaka is not so large or cosmopolitan a city as Tokyo, and we weren't really there to shop, so we spent only two days there and then took the train to Kyoto.

This town was lovely, with all the charm one would expect from old Japan. Wooden structures, cobblestones, people in traditional costumes, and no skyscrapers made this visit a very historical one. Our three days in Kyoto consisted of traveling via the very efficient rail system from one temple location to another, and one day renting bicycles to see a particular area. There was a lot of walking and stair climbing as well, but all this activity was countered by the eating that was done nearly every other hour.

In between the temples in Kyoto are restaurants. And these many restaurants serve the city's famous Wagyu beef and whatever else is in season. There is no need to hunt down rated eateries or Michelin stars unless one is so inclined, because every eating establishment serves excellent quality and very reasonably priced food.

Naturally, there was a little bit of shopping done as well. I can never resist the piles of high quality, low cost, beauty products that overflow from the numerous pharmacies scattered on every street. And Big A treated me to a couple of pairs of my much loved red-soled shoes.

It was a lovely trip. Even if it marks the last for this year, we still do have five more years left on our visas, and no doubt we will visit Japan again.