First of all, Happy Birthday today to my ‘little’ brother Dennis !
Since we last ‘chatted’, Ernst and I have spent 12 days in Japan ! It all started a couple of years ago at a New Year’s Eve dinner when everyone around the table was asked if they could go anywhere in the world on holiday, where would they go ? Ernst said Japan ! I was amazed, he had never mentioned Japan to me before, but said it was such a different culture, it would be very interesting. So I thought “why not ?”, we are not getting any younger and no-one knows what is round the corner, let’s go for it. However, we did not want to visit huge westernised cities, we wanted to see the ‘real’ Japan. After doing quite a bit of research I came across a company called ‘Walk Japan’ which runs guided walks through non touristy areas, sleeping in local Japanese auberges and eating very country cooking. Sounded great, so I booked us in for a five day walk followed by four days at an Airbnb on a nature reserve in Kyoto. It was FABULOUS ! The ‘walk’ turned out to be more of a hike, but within our capabilities and the rest of our group were of a similar age. Everything was arranged for us from A to Z, we just had to get to the meeting point and off we all went. We walked for about 10/12 kms., per day, a lot of which was up hill, then ate and slept in family inns. Our rooms were typically Japanese, futon beds, and we had ‘onsen’ hot baths in the evenings. I was rather anxious about these communal baths at first (though men and ladies were separate) but soon got used to them and looked forward to the relaxing chat with the other ladies. So, so much I could bore you with, suffice to say the only downside for me was the very remote possibility of seeing a bear, though our guide had bee doing the tours for over 20 years and had never seen one, and the food, which, sadly, I could not get on with. However that was personal and my loss. The others in the group were not at all worried about bears and you can see from this photo why not, guess who is the idiot in the bright “dinner’s ready, come and get it” pink jacket !!
For the last four days our Airbnb was amazing. A truly Japanese house set by a river, with delicate paper walls, sliding doors and a ‘squat’ loo. Our host was so kind and organised trips for us each days with explicit directions so we couldn’t get lost ……..we did, but not often and in Japan you only have to stand looking puzzled for a second before someone comes and offers to help. Japan is so, so clean, no litter anywhere and no graffiti. However menial your job, you have a uniform to be proud of and white gloves. As for the loos, well I will miss them ! Apart from the ‘squatters’ most are western in shape, but have heated seats (!) and a row of buttons. You can press one to create the sound of a waterfall to hide any ‘noises’ you may inadvertently make, after you have flushed you can press other buttons to spray wash your nether regions, another to blow dry them and finally a deodorising button !!
I’ve not come down from my Japanese cloud yet !
Adoptions went crazy whilst I was away ! Dear Toby finally went to a great home, as did Nestor and Nelson. Don’t worry, the adoptions page looks a bit bare at the moment but more have come in and I am waiting for them to be assessed before putting them on the website.
Regular readers will recognise the lovely Nick in this photo, he went to the best of homes and owner on the Cote d’Azur last year. Here he is on his first day of work – where he helps out his owner, he’ll be running the joint soon !
I have started collecting second hand clothes in preparation for our usual stall at the Montcuq Vide Grenier in August, so as you sort through your wardrobes getting ready for Summer (that’s the period which is supposed to be between Spring and Autumn), please let me have anything you don’t want/need anymore. Handbags and shoes taken also. As for men’s things, casual wear is ok, no suits please. Thank you so much !