I`m shivering and sneezing on Naoto`s parents` second floor computer room as I write this. (please lord, grant me the patience to understand why a country that has bullet trains and teensy weensy cell phones with internet and video doesn`t do central heating?)

We`ve spent the last week with Naoto going to work and coming back after the girls are asleep. Girl1`s had her first Japanese elementary school experience with Megurita Elementary. She got to encounter her first full fledged run on with racism (“mommy, a boy teased me in class. He said I wasn`t writing japanese in my notebook. I showed him I was and he was so surprised”) and got to participate in a play put on by the first graders called “Rolled omelet of elephant egg” and garnered praise from the teacher about what a great kid she is. It seems an overall positive experience, although what seemed to excite her the most was that I let her walk to and from school ALONE.

Yep, there was this big brou ha ha with Jiji and Naoto`s sister about how it was way too dangerous and there were weird people around here and she didn`t know the neighborhood and no way could she do it without getting lost (and then I pointed out to Naoto`s sister that the school is a maximum of THREE minutes walk away down one street and then she came over to my side). I mean, really, a Tokyoite lecturing me about child safety? Please……….

Girl2 and I alternately went to see Naoto`s mother in the hospital and spent days playing at a children`s center I frequented with girl1 lo these many years ago when we lived here. Girl2 found friends to play with every single time and asked repeatedly to go there again.

Meanwhile, I`ve been frequenting the bread stores around here. Hmmmmm, luscious maple melon bread, bacon/green onion/pepper braided into french bread, mushroom potage over sliced weiners in a flaky crust (I could go on and on, but no, you`d be too jealous, so I`ll stop before I describe the snow man made out of sweet bread filled with chocolate on the top and custard on the bottom overlaid with a white frosting (not too sweet `cause this is Japan) to look like snow that I got for girl1) and so on.

So we`re surviving, and tomorrow Naoto`s done with work so we`ll do some errands. La. Only three full days left!