My great aunt Marty first proposed the idea of coming to visit me last year. I have had so many people tell me they were “definitely coming to see me” (high school acquaintances, college friends, etc) that I did not put much stock in it until we saw each other on the December cruise. It was then that we actually started planning her trip. From there the next few months were a whirlwind of planning. When my dad came to visit, I knew what activities to plan without him having to give me too much guidance. For the most part, he wanted to see the kinds of things I normally see when I travel here: castles, ninjas, historical sights, surprise katana museums. But with my aunt, she had no interest in most of that, so I ended up doing a lot of research. The whole planning process was really good practice for me as I am now exploring the idea of working in the travel industry when I finish my time on JET.
By the time she arrived, we had an extensive itinerary hammered out, but with the understanding that things would be adjusted depending on our needs. After I provided her with a few maps, useful Japanese phrases, and some basic directions, Aunt Marty got herself to Tokyo, got the bus from Narita to Haneda, checked into her hotel, picked up her pocket wifi from a different terminal, all on her own. The next morning she got herself checked in for her next flight with no problems and made it to Miyazaki. I took off the morning from work to pick her up and bring her back to Hyuga.
I had made some chicken stir fry for dinner the night before, so we had that and rice for lunch before I had to go back to work. While I was gone, she rested and showered at my apartment. By the time I got back from work and the gym, she was more or less awake again and ready for our evening. We walked to the grocery store and picked up some things that she was fairly confident she could eat for dinner. A little before 8, two of my taiko teammates picked us up for taiko practice and drove us to the school.
Just like when my dad visited, the team ran through a full set of songs, such as we might do for a performance. All while Aunt Marty sat on a chair and watched. My teammates made me perform in the middle of the group the whole time and even made me sit in on a song I’m normally not even involved for, so I just sort of made up a part for that one. Aunt Marty joined us in playing for the last song and seemed to have a good time, even though her arms were sore by the end of it.