Friday, April 24, 2009

An American Welcome

There is always room at our table. Especially for family - even if the family isn't technically ours.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a dear and long-time friend in Japan. The best description I can give you for Kawa-san is to call him a host father.

Perhaps that is too vague.

In 1990, I worked for him in Japan as an engineering intern. Although I lived alone in an apartment in downtown Kyoto, he and his family adopted me. I went with them on family vacations. I played junken (rock-paper-scissors) with his children. I bathed in their family tub.

He and his wife danced at our wedding, during their first trip to America together.

As an adult in Japan, my husband and I spent many nights at their home on weekend visits. Gifts from their family still decorate our home.

Last weekend, Kawa-san’s nephew’s family stayed at our home.

I was a little anxious, quite excited, and very honored. In a very small way I opened my home in a way that doors had been so graciously opened for me, unconditionally, so many years ago.

Kawa-san sent me several emails, including basic information about their family. But, most of all, he very specifically asked me to show them “American BBQ.” The emails I received from his nephew and his wife (they have a 3yr old and 6 mos old) requested a ‘nature walk.’

We did our best to provide the best bbq and nature walk available in NE Ohio. This was their first visit to an American home since moving to the U.S.

Lunch: Homemade burgers (hand mixed by my hubby), all the toppings, grilled dogs, potato salad, and cole slaw.

Snack: Jumbo, homemade chocolate chip cookies

Dinner: Smoked pork ribs, smoked pork shoulder (the smoker was on all day during our nature walk below), six homemade sauces, baked beans, sides from lunch, fresh strawberries, blueberries & pineapple, and corn on the cob.

Dessert: Ice cream with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and sprinkles
Sunday Breakfast: Belgian waffles, eggs to order, bacon, sausage gravy, fruit, coffee and orange juice

While our bbq dinner was caressed by smokey goodness in our smoker, we went for a nature walk.

They said their daughter didn't speak English well and was very shy.

That lasted about 12.5 seconds.

Come splash with me!

Okay, Gladys!

It's okay to get a little wet.

That's what daddy's are for anyway. (I think he is enjoying it even more than his daughter, what do you think?)

It isn't easy to skip stones in Kawasaki City, Japan. But, I suppose some things just come naturally.

I think they had a really good time.

I know we did.

Thank you, again, Kawabayashi-san.


Indy said...

Love this. I'll say it one more time and try not to say it again for awhile. But, if you didn't have this blog, you probably wouldn't have taken as many photos. Aren't you so lucky that you will have these photos to remember the beautiful weekend with friends? Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

Anonymous said...

It's so great to be able to repay the kindnesses others have shown to us.

Lovely photos and the food sounds (as usual) scrumptious!

Unknown said...

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Group SJR
(212) 751-3367

AreWeThereYet? said...

Precious. My heart swells for you ... and your international friends. What a lovely visit.

MIT Mommy said...

Indy - You know me well. My pictures were never as good before, and I never did anything with them.

Splodge & 2Sexy - It really was a fabulous visit. And, I received a very kind note after Kawa-san read this post - which made it all worthwhile.

Angela said...

I love how kids speak their own language. Great shots of the American outdoors!

Flea said...

That looks like a fantastic time. How exciting to have "family" visit from the other side of the world.

I love your new truck!