Bury Your Vending Machines

First some random things:

  • Michael seems to have inherited his mother’s sense of direction. It is most evident when we are on our way back to a repeat location. He does not hesitate to take the lead and we often lose sight of him until we get to our destination and he is sitting their waiting for us.
  • The octopus title from yesterday was a quote from Melanie when describing her dinner.
  • The kids were playing a game counting vending machines as we walked the streets. We do this counting horses on long car drives. The competition was fierce the first couple of dash, but I think it has been mostly abandoned at this point. This did not stop Melanie from burying her brother and sisters vending machines when we saw a cemetery today.
  • I am usually aware of all of the autocorrect “corrections” when I read the posts again the next day, but I am trying to get things down quickly.
  • Today we took it easy in the morning, left our suitcases at the ryokan and headed out to our alma mater, ASIJ. On our way we met up with our friend, Richard Oue, on the Chuo line train platform. Kira and Richard used to meet up there on the way to school back in the old days. Richard lives here in Tokyo with his family and in addition to just being great to see him again it was also really nice to have a guide who speaks and reads Nihongo.

    Richard got us on the right train out to ASIJ and things started to look familiar once we switched to the small train line that goes to Tama. I don’t think I realized how far the school is from Tokyo. This was the first train station where we exited and handed our ticket to a person. And the first time we walked on the tracks. The walk to school was hot and you would think that after walking this path everyday for a year it would seem more familiar. The memory that did come back was traveling out to ASIJ with my parents to register for school. There is a little 3-4 inch high sign with arrow letting you know when to turn right.

    Thanks to Richard they were expecting us at the entrance. We signed in and headed in to begin the flood of memories. The front of the building was cry different and the is a new building for athletics that is only a couple of years old, but once we entered the main hallways I easily found my home room. A 2011 grad was interning in the admissions office and offered to give us a tour. We accepted and got her to let us into the rebuilt and expanded Ricketson Theater. It was all state of the art and Melanie was quite jealous. It wasn’t as fancy back in our day, but it was still a nice theater then as well. The three of us wandered the hallways spouting off memories, while our tour guide and the children endured our nostalgia. When I mentioned Rob in one of the stories, Michael said, “Wait, Rob went here too?”

    Near the end of the tour we made our way out to the courtyard got a picture of the family sitting on the senior stone. The court yard seemed the most familiar to me, but that cold just be because I have more old pictures from here than from inside the building. Our tour guide even got us into the cafeteria, but the vending machines I remember were not there so I couldn’t complete my experience with a goo-goo cluster.

    While the kids were rightfully a little bored they also seemed impressed with the school. Michael jokingly asked if he could go to school here next year and Melanie stated that it seemed more like a college than a high school.

    After school got out we had a very complicated lunch with Richard that we might not have figured out at all if he hadn’t been there. Then we collected our luggage from the ryokan in Akasaksa and made our way to the Shinkansen out to Fugi station. Kira booked us place right at the station that we will use as home base for our ascent tomorrow. Wish us luck.

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