Select a primary language to get the most out of our Journal pages:
English 日本語 Español Português

We have made a lot of improvements to our Journal section pages. Please send your feedback to!

My Trip to the Orient - Part 9

Editor’s Note: This series of articles is taken from a diary kept by Nikkei Canadian Alyssa Erin Woo, then ten years old, during her trip to Japan with her grandparents.

Part 8 >>

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 – My Last Day of Japanese Adventure

This morning, Emi-chan made us a fancy breakfast. We had half an egg that was cut zig-zagged and toast. There was also melon for dessert.

Uncle Kaku-san took us shopping. First, we went to an electronic store where he was going to buy me an electronic Japanese-English dictionary but couldn’t find a good one.

Then, we went to a clothing store to buy T-shirts. Uncle Kaku-san bought me 4 T-shirts. He tried to pay for the T-shirts that Ba-chan and Ji-chan wanted to buy but they argued over who was going to pay. Then Ji-chan gave his MasterCard to the cashier before Uncle Kaku-san had a chance to pull out his money. When it comes to paying, I don’t think Ji-chan and Uncle Kaku-san get along very well.

We went to Denny’s for lunch. I ordered spaghetti (again!). As soon as the cheque came to our table, Uncle Kaku-san grabbed it and put it in his shirt before anyone could take it.

Fun with Emi-chan

Uncle Kaku-san - “I’m paying”

Ji-chan - “No fair. I was going to take the cheque.”

We bought different kinds of candy too.

Ji-chan - “Get this one and that one…”

Alyssa - “OK”

Ba-chan - “Are you sure you want all those?”

When we came back, we saw Uncle Kaku-san’s goldfish. He had all different sizes and colours. We also met Emi-chan’s youngest son, Ryo-san. He is 21 years old studying mathematics at a Tokyo University and came to see us. Uncle Kaku-san, Eiko-san, Ryo-san, Emi-chan and I played Joker and they taught me how to play 51. First Emi-chan was on my team and when I started to understand the game, I played on my own.
I also had a lot of fun with Emi-chan on the piano. They had two pianos: one upright piano and one grand piano. Emi-chan and I played Für Elise by Beethoven, together. She liked to listen to me play.

We went to Oiso Prince Hotel to have an elaborate Chinese dinner and went shopping. I liked the soup and chicken but I didn’t want to eat the shark’s fin soup.

Dinner at Oiso Prince Hotel

After dinner, Eiko-san, Ba-chan, Ji-chan and I took a taxi home and we fell asleep. We accidentally left some stickers, postcards and other souvenirs in the taxi. The following morning, the taxi driver phoned Uncle Kaku-san’s home and asked, “Have you forgotten a package in my taxi?” Then Ba-chan thought about it and suddenly remembered and said, “Oh yes, we did forget some souvenirs we bought at the hotel!” The taxi driver delivered the package to Uncle Kaku-san’s home and we were very thankful for his honesty and kindness to do that for us.

* * *

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 – Good-bye Japan!

This morning, I was excited about going home to Sarnia but I was also sad about leaving Japan. I really enjoyed my special trip and I was really glad Ba-chan and Ji-chan took me there.

Uncle Kaku-san drove us to the station with Emi-chan. Eiko-san stayed home and Ryo-san was still sleeping.

First we went on a local train ride to Yokohama. We met two girls from California and they gave me an optical illusion pamphlet. Then we called Rosie and Uncle Kaku-san from Yokohama. We also tried to call home but we couldn’t get through.

We took a bullet train ride to Narita Airport Terminal 1. We were able to call home at the airport. We went to Minneapolis on Northwest Flight 20.

Narita Airport. We don't want to leave yet

I don’t like departures because they make my ears feel funny. Just chew gum so that your ears don’t feel funny … or you’ll be sorry!

I didn’t like the kids behind us as they kept banging on the seats and were yelling. They couldn’t sing very well either. Their mom kept banging on the seats too and the kids didn’t go to bed until it was really late.

I played a lot of card games with Ji-chan like Joker and 51. They were really fun but it wasn’t as much fun as when I played with a lot of people.

I stayed up almost all night. The movie that was playing was Robots and I liked that. It was really funny.

Then, we got off at Minneapolis and got onto a small plane to Toronto. When we arrived in Minneapolis, Ba-chan had to go to the bathroom but Ji-chan went first. Ba-chan was dancing around saying, “I should have gone first!” When Ji-chan came out, he didn’t go because the line was too long. Then Ba-chan rushed into the bathroom and as soon as she came out, there were huge line-ups to go through immigration. What a long, long wait it was before we got through the customs as everybody was being photographed and fingerprinted except us Canadians.

We didn’t want to see our bags in Minneapolis but we did.

Alyssa - “Are those our suitcases?”

Ji-chan - “We don’t want to see our bags yet as we checked our bags right through to Toronto!”

The flight to Toronto was delayed for almost 30 minutes.

We landed in Toronto before our scheduled time. When I saw Sheraton Hotel from the plane I said, “Let’s go back there and start our Japan journey all over again!” but Ji-chan said he was too tired. We took a taxi to Auntie Meiko’s house, where we were going to stay the night. I thought of Auntie Meiko’s house as the “Auntie Meiko Hotel” because I was used to staying in so many different hotels. Auntie Meiko made us a nice steak dinner and later we walked to the store and she bought me ice cream. Mom also called from Sarnia to see if we were back. I was really happy to talk to her again and I was excited that I’d be able to see her again the next day.

* * *

Thursday, July 21, 2005 – Home, Sweet, Home

Auntie Meiko let me watch TV this morning because I woke up too early. I was then finally used to Japan time, except at that time, we were in Canada, where the time changed again! She also gave me grape juice. She made me spaghetti for breakfast with Chinese noodles (I was also used to eating spaghetti in the mornings!). I helped grate the Parmesan cheese.

Back home to Sarnia

Then Ji-chan drove us to Sarnia. On our way, we stopped at Tim Hortons for lunch. We had soup combos. I fell asleep for the rest of the ride.

When we got home there was a sign that said, “Welcome Home – Alyssa, Ba-chan, Ji-chan”

I was glad to be home and see Mom, Dad and Brandon. Mom made a special cake and Brandon decorated it to welcome us back. The next day we ended our trip the same way we started it with dinner at Swiss Chalet, my favourite restaurant. I wanted to do it again starting from the Sheraton Hotel. I hope that when I get older, I’ll be able to go back to Japan again.

Welcome back home cake

Thank you very much for taking me on my trip to Japan, Ba-chan and Ji-chan. I really enjoyed it, and I had a lot of fun. Love, Alyssa.

More bags than we took

**All photographs are courtesy of the author.

© 2010 Alyssa Erin Woo

Canadian identity Japan Japanese Canadian travel trip