Austin, The Builder and I didn't feel the need for a music class so we drove up into the mountains instead. It's a lovely drive. And at the end of it there was a huge, deserted park with an enormous cherry tree at the centre of it. It's around 1500 years old and very venerable. It's propped up in much the same way as the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest. At this time of year it is bare and leafless. Austin tells me that during the couple of weeks in spring when it flowers the park is absolutely packed with people. But I can imagine that the park would be beautiful in summer and autumn as well. It's rather lovely in winter, it must be said. There are lots of other cherry trees in the park. In the autumn I can see it being every bit as colorful as during the time of the spring blossom.
Kaori made us gyoza for dinner. Kaori's gyoza are a wonderful treat. If she ever comes to my place we will have gyoza at every meal!
On Wednesdays, Tatsuki will soon start going to sessions in the kindergarten he will be going to full time from April in Gifu. It's a bilingual kindie that teaches in Japanese and English. But he hasn't started doing that yet, so he, Kaori, Austin, The Builder and I headed into Gifu - to the new Costco that opened last November. It was surprisingly crowded for a weekday! We couldn't do a massive shop. The Builder and I have no way of transporting the contents of a big shop back to Tupton, and Austin and Kaori don't really have anywhere to store vast amounts of things like loo paper,l or washing up liquid or whatever. (We use the cupboard on the upstairs landing as a Costco storage space :D ). I did, however, accidentally buy an enormous quantity of wine. They had two x 5 litre casks of wine in boxes. In the English Costcos you wouldn't be allowed to split them. In Japan, however, they expected you only to buy one! So the end bill was huge (to Austin's alarm) and The Builder and I ended up with ten litres of wine! One of the boxes is packed in a suitcase and ready to emigrate to Tupton! Then curry at another Coco Ichi for lunch, and I made us stir fry chicken for dinner. Not as good as Kaori's gyoza, but palatable.
And then it was Thursday. Austin went back to work. Tatsuki and Kaori went to Tatsuki's play school. And The Builder and I took various trains back to Osaka Airport Hotel, ready for the final flights which will bring to an end the World Birthday Tour. I knew that the time would go very quickly when we set off on the first leg to Singapore, and weeks and weeks of time stretched out in front of us. And it has. This last week especially has vanished very quickly. Many thanks to Kaori's parents for a fabulous evening at their place, and to Austin and Kaori and Tatsuki for a lovely, restful, adventurous, fun-filled time at their place.