Although I pretend that I willingly travel with two girls under the age of 5 across the pacific for the good of their Japanese language development, and so their grandparents can have a relationship, the truth is not so noble.

I come to Higashi-Murayama for four things:

a haircut (I hate hate hate hate finding a hair stylist. It ranks right up there with root canals for me. And getting a haircut at a japanese salon is so much more than looking good, it`s about the shampoo massage, and the bowing, and the polite but distant chitchat.)

maple melon pan (I believe I`ve mentioned the heavenly nature of this before)

cucina nonna restaurant near kumegawa station (because the owner/chef is like a giant teddy bear and makes me special pizza at lunch time although it`s not on the menu and his spaghetti is always fantastic in a Japanese-Italian food style way)

chanpon and giant gyoza at Spice Restaurant (because the owner/chef is a grandmotherly type who was extremely nice to me when I was pregnant and couldn`t stop Mia from spilling ramen all over the floor and because good gyoza when they are giant are all that much better and because chanpon (noodles and broth with a mix of seafood, vegetables, and fried, battered pork with hot sauce) rocks!)

And that, my friends, is the truth.