Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Come the In-laws

No, seriously, I am attempting to maintain an every-other-day blogging schedule, really. However, as they say about the best laid plans of mice and men surviving first engagement with the enemy...

The enemy in this case were my in-laws, Beloved's parents, her two sisters, their husbands, and one niece. Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE my in-laws, they're great people. The language barrier makes it somewhat difficult to talk to them at times (Not, this should be noted, that it saves me from a lecture from time to time when Beloved's parents feel that I need to buckle down a bit and behave myself), but for the most part we get along well and manage small talk.

It helps that Beloved's mother, father, and one of her brothers-in-law loves wine and while California wine is somewhat rare here, I've had some good luck with introducing the family to it.

The "Indian" Marumochi. 
So last weekend was a three day with Japan celebrating Sea Day (海の日) and so her family trooped up to Nagano from the southern end of Japan for a bit of a vacation. Like all good ideas of course, this one snowballed out of control fairly quickly. It started off as a camping trip. Last year for the holiday, Makoto and I went off to a place called Karuizawa for Makoto's first camping trip. Camping being a family tradition (I went on my first when I was 6 months old) that I wanted my sons to partake it. Makoto of course, adored it. Daddy was a bit dubious about the "Indian", but enjoyed it as well and the suggestion was made that next year we should invite Mommy and Hikaru along.

Which is where this whole thing started as I casually mentioned to Beloved about booking a campsite and then suggested that she invite her folks given that they had stated they wanted to come with us sometime as well. That's when we added one sister, who doesn't like to camp, and her daughter, and then the other sister, and finally their husbands decided to tag along as well. What was camping for 6 turned out to be a vacation for 11, and sans the camp.

But it worked out for the best really given that no one expect Beloved's parents had seen the new house three members of the group had never been up to Nagano.

Nagano decided to welcome them with open arms, mainly by feeding them. As always our neighbors just HAD to bring over fresh veggies and when they saw we had guests, they brought over MORE fresh veggies. And more. And more. And still more to the point where I was about ready to suggest that they leave their clothing here and just take the veggies back with them, please!

The main issue I had with my Beloved's family was their, shall we say, aggravating lack of planning. Now, I'm not quite OCD about planning trips and vacations, really. I don't like being late, but there are times when I just want to go and see what's over the next horizon; that said though, usually I prefer to have a general idea of where people want to go and do so I can plan where to go, how to get there, and make a time schedule that works, especially if we have other places that we need to be at various points in time (I.e. I had patrol with the firemen Sunday night and I kinda needed to make sure everyone got to the station and airport on time so they could get back to their homes). My wife's family has more of a grand indifference to such things which lead to a weekend of last minute scrambles to get to places.

The plan was pick up the parents, one sister, her husband and their daughter from the airport, head over to Daio Wasabi Farm for lunch and a bit of fun, return home and pick up the other sister and her husband at 6 from the station and go enjoy dinner.

Day two would be at Karuizawa, returning to the house before 7:30pm so I could go on patrol.

Day three would be spent at the house, then get people back to the station by 2:30 and the airport by 3:30.

What actually happened was: Pick up group one, get told we need to go back home to drop off luggage, decide to detour to two different watermelon markets to feed some delicious watermelons (Best in Japan!) to group one before heading home. Get told, after watermelon, no, let's go to the wasabi farm now.
Best watermelon in Japan, hell, probably the world!
Get home a bit late, ordered to pick up group two from the station with dinner now at 7:30, leading to very cranky kids.

It might have been a bit wet, but it was beautiful.
Next day, decide to go to Kamikochi instead, and once there, head back to go to a shopping area, but, no, wait, the rain's letting off so let's hike a wee bit.

Final day ended up with us driving around in circles with the destinations and times changing with every stop. Decide to start screaming in my head as I'm still expected to get everyone off on time, with soba, MORE VEGGIES, and the like.

And somehow, I DID make it all work and a fun time was had by all, so much so that everyone is already talking about coming back up in the winter when the wood stove is working and enjoying some fun in the snow... I'm thinking I'm going to be somewhere else, like Southern Japan.

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