In spite of the fact that I keep hitting my head on things that are designed to be in the sky, my life in Kyoto is working out pretty well. I can take the bus to where I need to go and can usually make myself understood. No one really expects me to speak Japanese, so when I do, they are very appreciative (for my one or two words). The kids started school today, and they were a little apprehensive, but after an hour of filling out forms, W and I were taken to their classrooms so we could see how they were doing and they both seemed fine. M was head and shoulders above everyone else in the class.
On Saturday we went to a famous zen temple just east of us. Amazing gardens to walk through; we'll be back. N took 100 pictures on his ipod; we will have to download them. Here are two I took with my phone (since we of course forgot the camera).
We went to a children's celebration/ceremony on Saturday night with W's friend in downtown Kyoto. We started with a home-cooked feast that was so good. I have no idea what any of it was, but it was a mixture of salads, eggs, vegetables and lentils. At the ceremony, we passed a giant prayer bead circle around while the ... priest(?)... chanted a lot of words and numbers. Then we had ice cream and beer, while the kids did a Japanese piñata... WATERMELON. I could get behind this religion... Then we did sparklers. Here are some photos:
On Sunday we took the train to Osaka (only about 500¥ each, really cheap) to visit another friend who was giving away a lot of things from is mother-in-law's house. We loaded up a suitcase with dishes and kitchenware, while the kids scored on a big box of plastic toys and animals. They happily played with that while we packed up the stuff. Then we had an excellent sushi lunch and B drove us back to Kyoto (THANK YOU!). Everyone here has been generous and helpful!