I had begun to convince myself that southern Ibaraki and especially Chiba prefectures were the warmest parts of 'mainland' Japan to be living in. But as the weekend of December 1st and 2nd, 2012, arrived we were greeted by at least the third heavy frost on the roofs and ground. But this time there was also 4-5mm of ice on puddles. Oh, well, we might as well get ready to greet our home in Winnipeg (Winterpeg).
We have had so many warm expressions of welcome and invitations to continue living in this part of Japan! It is extremely flattering. We took Akio-san, Shigeko-san, Yoko-san, Kenji-san and Etsuko-san for lunch on Saturday in a traditional Japanese restaurant. It was a good time. Yoko-san added some life to the party. Kenji-san has been getting ready to go with other teachers and students to Okinawa for a school excursion. We have seen so much of Japan, but Okinawa is very high on our future list of priorities.
Back at Komatsuka village the Okano's invited us to join them for dinner that evening. Oh, well, we just won't be able to eat everything we still have in our place. It was a very nice dinner as usual. Our hosts have been overwhelmingly nice since we first arrived early March of 2012. We have been encouraging them to come to Canada. Seeing farms in Canada would be very interesting for Akio-san, but winter is intimidating, although I keep telling him that with his circulatory system he could probably handle winter better than we can. The farmers in this village all tend to have excellent circulatory systems and probably seldom have cold hands.
One more sleep some more cleanup and laundry and off we go to Narita "kuko" or airport with Shigeko-san driving her hybrid Toyota Aqua and Akio-san as well to say their farewells at the airport. On the way Kenji-san phoned from Okinawa, Yoko-san and another person phoned from Komatsuka to say good bye.
We suggested they just drop us off, but they refused. Akio-san helped us get our luggage in, while Shigeko-san parked at some 'distant parking lot'. We had coffee together, took a few photographs in front of a huge Christmas tree and then the final hugs. Japanese people don't hug, but we have had a few hugs.
We are going to miss the many very nice people we have met!