On the day I was leaving I sneaked around the house for a bit after breakfast.
The family was doing preparations for their New Year celebrations.
In the kitchen Kei's mother and grandma and his grandmother's sister were busy making omochi (rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape), a traditional sweet for the Japanese New Year.
You're supposed to leave the omochi for ten days and eat it after cooking it, but it is still delicious when it's fresh. These one's were filled with sweet red bean paste, and I was lucky to get to try it before I went home!
Before taking me to the bus stop we went to Mt. Takasaki National Wildlife Park to visit our relatives.
We came right before feeding time and then all hell broke loose. It was just like watching Chinese people at a buffet.
Then it was time to take the bus from Oita to Hakata, before the super long ride from Hakata to Tokyo.
But this time, people! I was armed with two pills to prevent motion sickness. And since Kei was the one who had booked the bus ticket for me they thought I was a man and had assigned me a seat in the middle of the bus.
I have never been more glad to be mistaken for a man.
You should have seen the bus driver's assistant, he wasn't happy. But there was no way I was giving up my seat to go and sit in the back. I almost felt like Rosa Parks (not really). A young guy had the seat next to me, but he was soon dragged away by the assistant and was given a seat in the front. Like I had rabies. But I couldn't be happier! The entire 14-hour ride home I had two whole seats all to myself and I wasn't carsick at all.