October 30, 2011

The ‘Rents Return

The ‘Rents Return
When Lady E. was born in 2007 my parents soon visited to meet their new grandchild. With Marina joining the Rising Daughter party last year, there was little doubt that they would again be making the trip over the Pacific. We were not disappointed: in late September/early October, we took advantage of the pleasant early fall weather in Yokohama for another episode of “Ottawa Invades, Part II: The Return of the “Rents.”
I love these impossibly-buffed-and-polished purkiura prints!
Like many families that live a long way from home, we use Skype and other technologies to help bridge the distance, both emotional and temporal. Marina, still getting used to the whole standing, walking, uttering-first-words thing, was clearly impressed with seeing the computer screen people in the flesh, jet lagged as they were. Elena, being more experienced in these matters, and a little more immersed in Japanese than rapid-fire-Ontario-speak, took more warm-up time. But by the second day in, while I was away at work, they had an uber-grandparents’ day and took the grandkids to the zoo.  The bonding was well underway. All’s swell, right?

Well, yes and no. You see, their arrival created quite a stir in our inclusive neighborhood. Suffice it to say that the local kids who hang with Lady E. near our house are talkative, but they met their match with “Canada Nana.” And despite the obvious language differences, the local kids and my Mom chatted for hours and hours outside on our tiny front lawn.

I did secure some time off, and naturally we went exploring in the city: Yokohama’s famous Chinatown, some local stores near our house, and the world renowned “Taco Bitch” taco shop. Nah, I’m just messing with you: Dad and I just both get a kick out of the shop’s name—another wacky English episode so common here in Japan. Great artwork, though.

So we proceeded to cram in as much activity, breaking of bread, and general merriment as we could within the ten days they were here. That included a trip out to Sea Paradise, a nearby amusement park that also has an aquatic center with a dolphin show and other attractions, including a good roller coaster and other more kid-friendly rides. I cajoled Mom into going on the pirate ship ride—doesn’t she look like she’s having fun?
So my parents, although they ARE grandparents, are not boring and still pack a lot of energy. Dad is increasingly Eastwood-esque, too, he looks like he stepped out of Gran Torino, for crying out loud. This prompted a week-long series of bad Eastwood impersonations with a Japan theme from yours truly.

All things told, we really had a terrific week and my parents were great sports, stress buffers, family historians and watchdogs for the grandkids while Naomi and I could catch a break here and there. Although we missed the presence of Steve-O on this particular trip, it was a splendid visit.

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