After last year's unexpected blessing of numerous overseas trips, the day after Christmas saw an airline seat sale and had us booking tickets to another new destination, Fukuoka. With two other couples and three additional friends tagging along, there were nine of us going in all, in the last weekend of February.
Knowing very little about this city but loving Japan, even in the winter, off we went.
To our delight, the coastal town was much larger and more cosmopolitan than any of us expected. We spent the long weekend on a ramen eating binge, mainly, and doing a little shopping.
My favorite part of the trip came on the second day, when three of us took a local bus trip to an outlet mall by the water. Not only did we eat the freshest sushi I've ever had, but on the way back the bus made one of its usual stops, which happened to be located outside a primary school. About half a dozen children between ages 8 and 12 got on, looking like a cross between Madeline's friends and the Von Trapp children in their uniforms.
The students quietly found places to sit or stand, and, as we entered the city, one by one left the bus at their own stops and from there made their way home alone on foot. Not one parent met a child at a bus stop. This is something I had never experienced before, and it made me marvel anew at the cultural wonder that I have found Japan to be.
While we have yet to take Little A to visit this amazing country, we definitely will do so, and hope he comes to love it as much as we already do.