on sunday, we had a lazy morning, and then we went to lunch at the omuraisu restaurant. this was very yummy! after lunch, we stopped by the au shop, because my phone had seemed to die while i was away in kansai. turns out it was just a very dead battery, but i remembered that the screen didn't work a couple of times a few weeks ago, so we asked them to check it and give us an estimation (if we needed to pay for repairs.) i got a loan phone instead. then we went home and got ready to go to rachel's house.

sunday was rachel's birthday. she was having mini celebrations during the weekend, but as i was in hyogo until saturday, i could only make it to the sunday gathering. we got there in the late afternoon, just in time to see S and her husband. then we waited until almost 7, and then we all went to the river, where the festival was. the main attraction (for us) was the fireworks, but the festival itself was very interesting. i don't know the meaning or the stories about it, but i do know it's very noisy. it was also quite dark, so the best 'pictures' i got were actually video! for your viewing pleasure:


festival lanterns

we sat to watch the fireworks, but to be honest, they were a bit disappointing. but we were at a festival and that was fun! we met a lot of friends there, and enjoyed festival foods. yum! after the fireworks, the 'floats' with the drums and flutes packed up and left, each to its own shrine. then the crowd began to thin and we soon left.

after getting back, we got the kids ready for bed and then they all went to sleep. it was a very late night for my kids! then rachel and i went out by ourselves, to have a cocktail and then to enjoy karaoke. we had a great time, we both love karaoke! it's great having a friend at karaoke because you can select a song while your friend sings. but since it's just the two of you, you don't have to wait long for your turn! we also did a couple of 'just punch in a lot of numbers and see what comes up' songs, which was great fun.

then we went back to her house and had a lovely late-night chat. eventually, i went to bed at 4, because i knew hiro, sasha and tommy would be up early! monday morning started soon enough, but we mostly hung out and watched videos. after lunch, the kids wrapped up all their games and then we were on our way back to munakata. i know that i had a great time and the kids really enjoyed themselves! thanks for having us, rachel. i hope you enjoyed your birthday!