Today is a double national holiday for me: Kodomo no Hi or Children’s Day in Japan and Bevrijdingsdag or Liberation Day (from German occupation) in the Netherlands. Being in Japan I didn’t celebrate Liberation Day and being Dutch I had no idea how to celebrate Children’s Day in Japan, so I just admired the many koinobori or carp streamers swimming beautifully through the air.
Even though I didn’t celebrate either national holiday I did have a party today, a little farewell party at Maiko’s house. Maiko is leaving for a 3-month training session in Tokyo tomorrow and of course I’m moving to Osaka in 3 weeks. Maiko’s mom cooked up a whole bunch of food and I brought along a bottle of pink Cava (Spanish Champagne). Maiko and her dad couldn’t drink because they were still driving somewhere later, so mainly her mom and I drank the deliciously sweet Cava. So we spent an evening eating, drinking, talking and I met Maiko’s brother, Yoshi for the first time tonight. He’s very fluent in English and sometimes facilitated communication between me and his not so fluent sister and parents. I also spoke some Japanese tonight! An old friend of Maiko’s dad called and everybody got to talk to him on the phone, including me. He didn’t speak English, so I had to make due with my limited Japanese, but he understood me and I understood him and I impressed the hell out of Maiko and her family! Of course, we didn’t discuss anything substantial on the phone, just some low-level small talk but it was still fun.
We had a fun evening but farewell parties are always kind of a downer, so it was kind of a sad celebration, especially when it was time to go home. Maiko’s mom was crying, and I assured her we’ll be seeing each other again in August when I’ll visit Inuyama with my family, but that didn’t seem to comfort her. So I just hugged her until she couldn’t breathe anymore. And I think I saw Maiko crying too when she drove away from my apartment a little while later. All those tears made me feel like crying too, but I somehow I managed to keep my eyes dry, but it took some effort. I’m a real crybaby and leaving Inuyama and all my adorable students behind is not going to be easy. But I’m going to try and control myself as much as I can, by not focusing on what I’m leaving behind and instead thinking about the exciting things that are ahead of me.