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Oriental Stork - Kounotori brings us Luna

Updated: Jul 25, 2022

Kon'nichiwa......the last time I wrote my blog for A Deer Cottage, we had left the rolling hills of Kaukapakapa overlooking the gorgeous Kaipara Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand, where we have fallow deer dotting our pretty little rural setting, to swap our next month in Kyotango, Kyoto prefecture, Japan, to catch up with our son, his wife, and newborn baby girl Luna. I had no idea at that stage, Lachlan would have more deer surrounding his home, snakes, spiders, killer wasps, mosquito and bear than I could imagine....I also had no idea, he would like me to get into his garden to help them clean it up, and to add length to a lovely kiwi 100% wool jumper, I also had no idea we would be hitting temperatures regularly of high end 28+ degrees.......However, the biggest thing I had absolute certainty over, was the love I would feel for seeing my son, his wife and meeting little Luna would feel like, and how tough it will be next Thursday when we make the trek back to Tokyo to fly home to New Zealand.

Can you spot Aiko and Desireé sitting happily in Luna's bedroom, I'm glad to see they made their safe trip to Japan..... I am also loving all the greenery that surrounds us everywhere we go, the rice paddies are looking so lush and seem to be growing rapidly in the warmth and rain!

We all were super happy to have the Kounotori (Oriental Stork) come to visit - I wonder if one of these storks was involved in bringing Luna to us all?

Te Kani and I have been so very grateful that Lachlan, Hisae and Luna have just fit us into their perfect existence, it makes this Mum so very proud to see how happy and contented they all are, and in between all this happiness and joy, they manage to take us on some pretty cool trips. And some of it, just a few minutes walk from their home - an abandoned campground at the end of their road, where the wildlife is a little scary, especially if you are from New Zealand where we do not have any poisonous creepy crawlies, other than the Katipo spider which I am not sure if it even exists....when walking through the forest, Lachlan tells me to look out for the bear up in the trees, watch where I walk in case I step on a snake...he is waving a stick in front of him, to disturb the spider webs..and I am most conscious, "did I put on my mosquito spray?, have I got my adrenaline?" and I have an ear out for the Suzumebachi (Japanese Killer Hornet), through all of this, I am wanting to go a little further to see what is around the next bend.

One of the most special moments for me, has been able to visit the Shinto Shrines and Buddhist Temples, especially when Japan is so quiet from visitors coming to their most beautiful country. The day after we arrived, we walked just a few minutes up the road, to a peaceful Shinto Shrine, we could make these visits all the more special being able to take Luna with us, and for the Priest to be able to bless her and her family, was a priceless experience at the Motoise Kono Shrine at Miyazu.

Hisae and Lachlan bought Te Kani and I some beautiful Yukata (Summer Kimono) and we have been able to wear them with pride not only at the Onsen (Japanese public bath), but also at the magnificent fireworks display at the Hamasaka beach festival. These two trips will forever leave a lasting memory. I was quite nervous to enter the Kinosaki Onsen by myself, but I had absolutely no reason, what a liberating experience this turned out to be, one I wish I could frequent more often! and I am sure when we return, one that will be on the top of our list.

It was a perfect opportunity for Lachlan to catch up with some of his International friends when we took the trip out to Hamasaka, I thought I had seen some pretty cool fireworks in my time, but I was very mistaken when we went to the Hamasaka beach festival, the first in the area to open up after covid, the crowds of 30,000 really did not feel like that at all, we fit in quite comfortably and watched in wonderment after grabbing some yummy Japanese street food, we settled in for the two hours of fireworks and good company. After all the celebrations finished we walked back to Lachlan's friends house to wait for the traffic to subside before we made the two and a half hours drive back to Kyōtango.

As I mentioned previously the Shrines,Temples and Castles we have visited will leave me with a feeling of peace and tranquility, the incredible architecture of the castles built many centuries ago, hold fast with a sense of awe, the history is just so amazing, and the grounds around all these special places are impeccably worked, I can only imagine how many hours are put in to maintain the upkeep. The golden walls and adornment of the Kinkaku-ji Temple is painted with gold leaf; the vivid red of the Kiyuomizu-dera Temple; the strong stone walls surround the moats at the Nijo-jo and Himeji Castles, the magnificent huge wooden floorboards, are just so impressive, along with the collection of muskets. I was so interested to hear about the half fish/half dragon that adorn either end of the roof to protect the castle from fire, so fascinating!

And of course, I have to mention the Japanese food, the sushi train, the soba, ramen, udon, octopus, bbq, and delicious authentic meals that have been cooked for us, it is such a wonderful experience to eat with Lachlan, Hisae and Luna, the culinary art is evident everywhere we go, and as an added bonus to be in the country my son has chosen for his home, to meet his friends, neighbours and work colleagues, this has been incredibly heart warming, they have all taken Lachlan under their wing, his knowledge of the Japanese language and culture is a real credit to him, it really gives me much joy that he is so contented and settled , I love to hear all the banter and laughter in the conversations he has with his many friends.....all of this is going to make it difficult to say goodbye...