Over the last couple of weeks I've had the chance to catch up with several old friends.
I first met Miki when I originally came to Japan, over 12 years ago, and our friendship has covered relationships and break-ups, births and deaths. We have even worked together. Now she is living in Vietnam with her husband and little boy, and she has another little one on the way. At the moment she's back here visiting friends and family and it was great to meet up with her and little Rento, and hear about their life in Vietnam and the new hotel they will be opening soon.
I hadn't seen Miki for almost a year but my next visitor, Meiko, and I hadn't met for about 7 years! She was also one of my first friends here, but she is now living in New Zealand with her husband and sons. She is also back here visiting now and she brought her 2 boys to our house last Friday. It was the first time for each of us to meet each others children and we had a really nice afternoon together, comparing stories of family life in our husbands countries. Her husband David will be arriving in Japan next week, so I'm sure we'll have another get-together then, with husbands too.
And last but by no means least, Nicole, who is back in Japan for a month or so. I feel like I have known Nicole forever and it's always strange to realise that she has only ever known me as a married woman - a mere 8 years or so! Last Saturday I went down to Niimi to see her and pretend to help her with her moving preparations, the first time we'd met (not including Skype!) in over a year. Then she and her dad came up here on Tuesday for dinner and stayed the night at our place. Next week Nicole will be back staying with us again for a few days until she flies back home to Canada, and I'm looking forward to relaxing and hanging out together.
Quite apart from the excitement of seeing people you haven't met for years, this little flurry of visitors had another positive effect on me; there's nothing like guests, especially overnight ones, to prompt me to do some much-needed housework! Our house is the cleanest it's been in ages (although that's not really saying much), and the spare bedroom and the Japanese style guest room, both famed for their junk-attracting properties, are looking lovely. I may even show you some photos one day...