Speaking of Japan - which I was just yesterday, reminiscing about my Fuji-san adventures - I was lucky enough to have a visit last weekend from one of the students I taught in Japan. It's almost eight years ago that I left Japan, so I figure it's quite impressive that we've kept in touch - but Mieko is extremely good at keeping in touch, and has managed to follow my moves around the world and back to Australia well enough to be able to send us a beautiful calendar every year.
Mieko is a middle-aged Japanese woman - well, in fact she's now a grandmother - and she's a little unusual in that after her son left home, she packed up, left her husband at work in Osaka, and spent a year in Sydney learning English. She's been back to Australia numerous times since, but this was her first trip to Perth, so she decided to join a tour group as she didn't know the city at all. Unfortunately that meant that her only free time (amidst trips north to Monkey Mia and west to Rottnest Island) was three hours on Sunday afternoon.
The three hours flew by but it was fantastic to catch up with Mieko, and introduce her to my life in Australia, albeit briefly. I'd almost forgotten quite how generous the Japanese are but of course she came bearing numerous gifts, including (after asking me specially what Japanese item I was feeling sentimental about) some of my favourite DARS chocolate. With each of her gifts, we were left admiring not only the contents but also the packaging, all done in the perfect Japanese style. All of which has made me rather "home"-sick, and very keen to get back to Osaka in the near future!