Last week, we were fortunate enough to share our home with two guests from Nagano, Japan. Shiori Ikeda and Yoshiko Tomii are students at Iiyamakita High School. They were here with eight other students and three teachers on a science-oriented tour of East Hawaii. The four days in Hilo were spent exploring Seaside Aqua Farms, Richardson Ocean Center, Imiloa Astronomy Center, Subaru Telescope, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and Puna Geothermal Ventures.
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After each full day of science immersion, we dug in at our favorite feeding sites in Hilo. The Ds insisted on dinner at Restaurant Osaka the first night, in spite of me telling them the tempura udon in Japan was likely to be far superior. The girls ate nabeyaki udon and both proclaimed it "delicious". The second meal had a very real purpose: to sample loco moco. Some of their classmates had been talking about loco moco that day so they were curious too. We opted for Kuhio Grille over the ultra casual Cafe 100 (sorry, proximity to shopping and Yogurtland beat out the home of the loco moco). We joined the Rents for dinner at Miyo's (yes, another Japanese restaurant. . .but we knew spaghetti was going to be served at the aloha dinner the following evening).
In spite of a lacking the usual "take your friend to school" day, the visit did not lack in bonding opportunities. Shiori and Yoshiko enjoyed cheering on HHS' boys basketball team in the quarterfinal match against Keaau. They even took turns as passengers in the M. . .for most of the year, Japan is not suitable for convertible driving/riding. Not one to be left out, D2 immersed herself in the bonding activities. . .she slept with the guests on their last evening, crowding in bed with Shiori.
Long gone are my valentines day celebrations which involve fancy dinners, flowers, and gifts, but I can't say I'm missing it. I'm finding that the gift of friendship is much more rewarding and timeless than long-stemmed roses, dinner at La Mer and Prada. . .well, maybe not Prada. Sigh. . .