My parents are not quite as keen on roaming the world as I am, but for the Golden Week holiday I finally had the great opportunity to show my mom around Kyoto, her first experience in Asia. She`s 65 now but as `genki` as ever. After spending 10 days here in the Kansai area we went to Nikko, about 1.5 hours by train from Tokyo. We had nice, sunny days but being over 500 meters above sea level, a little cooler, especially in the evenings. I was still fine in my t-shirt however my mother would have none of it and forced me to wear a sweater. She says I still eat too fast and complained that I continue to refuse healthy vegetables like cucumber and tomato which I hate but you know , mom`s will be mom`s. The temples are impressive and an easy walk from the station. From there you can hop on a bus to access the lakes, falls and hotsprings much higher in elevation. We hiked from Lake Chuzenji to Lake Yunoko on the plateau. Soon after I fell asleep in the hotspring which finished me for the day but there`s plenty more challenging treks to the nearby peaks for no doubt spectacular views. I`ll definitely plan a motorcycle trip to this area again soon.
Some of my students go abroad for business and use English frequently but others have little or no contact with the outside world thus my mother being here became a great chance for a fun exchange – my mom got to know my students, locals from Kyoto who were fantastic tour guides and my students could get to know someone new from a foreign country and of course get some more English practice! The best kind….in person, showing all that Kyoto has to offer. The food proved to be a bit of a challenge and she wondered why people here seemed to be in some sort of trance-like state over their cell phones. The thought has definitely occured to me. But I`m certain she went back to Canada with great memories, new friends, a better understanding of this part of the world and maybe even a bit of a headache from the hot sake. Now I just need to get my dad over here……….