leaving country road youth hostel

a few weeks ago yoshi called me from work (where he was having a stressful time) and asked if i wanted to go to the yufuin youth hostel during the holiday weekend in july. of course i said yes (but, since i'm an asshole, i forgot that kuri had mentioned the pinglet's birthday party would be that weekend...thankfully she's a kind and gracious friend and happily told us to enjoy our weekend. i'm sure she didn't want three more rambunctious children at the pinglet's party!), and we've been looking forward to it for quite some time! this is (i think) the third time we've visited the youth hostel so it's not like we have any touristy things to do around there, so i was really hoping to have an opportunity to meet a couple of bloggy friends!

yoshi had a drinking party on friday night, so the plan was to leave on saturday. the navigation tells us it takes between four-and-a-half and six hours to get to the youth hostel from our house, but it usually only takes about four (for some reason an hour disappears from the arrival time somewhere around usa). of course, we left our house at ten, had to go back for the bottles of sparkling wine and actually left at 10:30 and arrived at about 5:30. well, you know, stop for lunch, stop for changing diapers, stop at usa shrine (but change your mind because you don't want to pay for parking, especially since two thirds of the children are sleeping), stop for potty breaks and stop for drinks. phew! it's quite a trip just to get there (and a beautiful drive, although half of it is through cities) so the plan is to just get there.

we arrived before dinner (which is at seven) and they set up the men's bath (yay, onsen!!) for a family bath and so we had the chance to freshen up before dinner. very good in the summer season where just sitting makes me feel grubby! dinner the first night was a bit of a disappointment, the chicken was under-seasoned and the soup was too salty! a surprise because the food there is usually excellent! after dinner there was a group walk but the kids were exhausted so i tried to get them to sleep. the family is not used to tommy sleeping with everyone so after a few frustrating minutes ("i don't WANT tommy sleeping HERE!!!") yoshi took tommy on the walk and i got hiro and sasha asleep. when yoshi got back he was having some kind of allergic reaction and wanted to take a bath so i got the lovely task of trying to get tommy to sleep. wasn't happening. tommy was nearly asleep, too, when yoshi got back! argh! i think tommy didn't go to sleep before midnight...in fact, i think it was after one!

and then...everyone was awake before six! this does NOT happen at home, oh what torture! yoshi and i were quite tired on sunday. after breakfast i could tell yoshi was being overwhelmed so i took the kids for a short drive around town (and if you've been to yufuin, then you know that's a short drive!) there are only lawson conbinis in yufuin, too. LOL anyway, we got back to the youth hostel at nine, picked up yoshi and were on our way to play with gaijin wife and her family! the owner of the youth hostel told us it would take about four hours to get there, and navigation (a bit wishy washy if you ask me) predicted between two-and-a-half and three hours (and a bit) but it only took us about two hours, through the mountains.

you may have already seen pics on GW's blog but i have a few of my own and i'm sure you won't object to me sharing. hee hee i would also like to take a moment to say that it's times like these that i wish i had photoshop or something so i can make cute little smiley faces or anime characters to cover nakkid kid bits....LOL

happy water babies

hiro and shou had a great time 'shooting' babies in the pool....

and GW may have done a good job making sasha look sweet and innocent, but what the hell sasha?!

DON'T PUT THE BROOM IN THE POOL!! (btw, cute smile on shou up there!!)

GW puts out quite a lunch, it was so yummy! the kids scarfed most of it down (except maybe sasha? and marina was only just awake and didn't eat right away, so of course tommy came by later and ate half of her plate!!). the guys got on alright i think, yoshi had a great time chatting in japanese (for a change! ha!) and of course i enjoyed speaking english in full sentences and at normal speed (and on topics not involving 'do you have to go potty?' questions--GW probably would have given me a slap upside the head if i asked her that! LOL)

after a few hours it was time for us to head back to the youth hostel. dinner was much better on sunday night, though the kids hardly ate any. then we took baths separately (me and sasha only, woo hoo!) and got the kids to sleep fairly early. tommy had slept during the morning drive, and on the way back to the YH, hiro had slept on the way to GW's house, and sasha also fell asleep on the way back to the YH, but luckily they all slept early, and well, on sunday night. after hiro and sasha had fallen asleep (yoshi had taken tommy for a walk) i went downstairs with my knitting. the owner of the YH brought out the wine (and i should definitely apologize to GW because one of the bottles was meant to come to your house on sunday, but airheaded me forgot!!) and opened them up, told everyone it was for my ten year anniversary in japan, and was nearly about to compai when he said, 'i don't know where her husband is...oh! just in time, there he is!' and so we all got to toast together. after a few (small, i swear!) glasses of wine i took tommy up to bed, where he fell asleep quickly and slept until seven, as did hiro and sasha!

our drive home was pretty uneventful, though we did drive to hiraodai in kitakyushu city to look at a cave (recommended by the owner of the YH), but the walk up to the cave was too wet and muddy for small children, so we took them to a nearby park and had fun splashing around and playing on roller slides. finally we got home, unloaded, took a bath and kids should be asleep in bed (fingers crossed) and i need to go to bed, too!

as an aside, the son (and maybe daughter) of the owners of the youth hostel, who is about six months older than tommy, had chicken pox. when we first arrived they told us about it, apologizing that their kids couldn't play with ours, but this morning as we were about to leave, the boy was downstairs with a pokemon toy, which he handed over to tommy. sasha gave it back to the boy, but then he handed right over to tommy who put it in his mouth! i think i might be on chicken pox watch out, and won't be able to spend time with anyone for a while! *sob*