Recently, Kanako visited me between flights to Indonesia, which is fine by me. Coming home after work to someone, rather than an empty house really is so much better. And for this trip, she was able to stay from Wednesday to Saturday. On that first night, we didn’t do too much, I just made some balsamic vinegar chicken over rice, and then we sank into a documentary about host clubs and then slept.
Thursday was a bit more interesting, we had a small dinner party. I had invited Makita Sensei over for dinner, in an attempt to repay her unending kindness, and also because I had been wanting her to meet Kanako. I really worked some magic in the kitchen, churning out some homemade garlic bread and udon spaghetti. Udon is a big wheat noodle that my prefecture is renown for, and I decided to try it in place of typical noodles. That plus some sliced veggies, and a few choice pinches from the spice rack, I had some marveling Japanese folks ooing and aahing at such a concoction. Kanako says she loves my American style of cooking, but I assure he that it is really nothing more than me being a single guy with no standards of taste or presentation. Once I exhaust my extremely limited repertoire, I have no doubt that she will have a change of heart. The time played out well, and everyone enjoyed the food and company. Once she left around 8 we fell right asleep, which was glorious till about 1am when I woke up and couldn’t return to sleep. I ended up taking two very long naps that day.
I’m dating the one on the right
After a little networking with Makita, Kanako was able to join in on the kindergarten classes in the morning. This was fun to show off what it is I do, as well as get her involved in the fun too. After coming home from work that afternoon, she insisted on making that night’s dinner, a task I was more than happy to yield to her. After waiting about an hour and a half, it turned out that this dinner from behind closed doors was actually a surprise birthday dinner! Made from scratch, we had a seafood salad with raw tuna and octopus, a delicious steak (more on just how delicious it was later), cheesecake, and a nice bottle of champagne – the real kind, from France. In addition to the food, she also gave me a great big National Geographic book of 500 great trips to take in a lifetime, with the idea being that we knock ’em off together. It’s in Japanese, which will certainly slow me down, but I really like it. Between the amazing dinner and the gift, and all consideration that went into both of them, I certainly felt special.
The next morning however joy was fast fleeting, and my stomach wasn’t feeling so great. Like the rage of a tsunami an evil energy swelled on both ends of me, and I was pinned to the toilet for a couple hours before Kanako insisted on the hospital. The dinner the previous night had been under low light, but I knew the steak I was eating was as pink as any I’d ever had. Also, mine being a bit thicker than her’s didn’t help during the cooking process. But, it still tasted great, and having had no problems in the past, I wasn’t about to send such a thoughtful dinner back to the chef. My misery persisted until Kanako insisted that we go to the hospital. There, I was explaining that anything I tried to eat or drink would only come right back up, which the doctor was meeting with minimal concern, suggesting only that I rest. I showed him who the big man was and proceeded to throw up in the sink. They kept me there for about 2 hours, and gave me an IV to get some fluids back into my system. At this point, Kanako was feeling pretty bad about things, it was her fault after all… Highlight of this trip was probably the doctor talking to me about the success of the Detroit Lions. (At time of hospitalization, they were still undefeated.) Yes I have health insurance, but being able to see a doctor immediately, having prescription medication dumped on me, and also being treated for about 18 dollars still impresses me.
At somewhat less than 100%
After we left the hospital, we went on to the Shionoe Art Museum. On this day only, we could paint bricks that would be used to make a big flower planter. I was really excited about leaving a mark like this in my town, but my health kept me from getting much out of it. In addition to simply feeling bad, I also had to make many more trips to the lavatory to spill my guts. After putting the base color on my brick, I just went and passed out on the lawn until it was dry. I’m sure that the other people thought this was quite normal. When it was time to continue with the project, I had essentially lost my entire will to do it. So, I slapped some garbage down and called it done. Not my finest work by a long shot, but at least I had her’s to justify us even coming.
Our two bricks
Back at home, I could only continue to be worthless. I slept and Makita was kind enough to take Kanako to the airport for me. While my trips to the bathroom has become infrequent, my energy levels were still at zero. Kanako left that day feeling terrible for what she did (not that I was mad) and was legitimately concerned that I was going to die. She promised to come back in a couple days to check on me, despite my health coming around the next day. I was more than happy to play host again to someone I usually expect to see only once a month.
So, on the following Tuesday, she returned from Indonesia to make sure I was up to 100%. One of the missions during that time was to get our Halloween costumes sorted. So, we went to Don Quixote and found just what we were looking for. I’m not going to ruin the surprise, but I would anticipate some amount of facepalm and headshake from my readers. Then, the other day we carved a Jack-O-Lantern while watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall (not bad). This was her first time dabbling with a lobotomy, but she was eager to dredge up all the muck inside, so I happily let her do that. I also put her in charge of the design work. I on the other hand mostly coached and oversaw the operation. She enjoyed this activity simply because it was an activity, apparently Japanese guys don’t really do things for dates and are instead inclined just to go somewhere. I also realized it was my first time carving a pumpkin in a number of years too.
The weekend had its ups and downs, but it certainly offered some quality time together that will provide fodder for ribbing, many years to come.