Gaijin meet Japan – Arigato Forever Okimori Family 2 –

February 5, 2014 Juju Kurihara Gaijin meet Japan, Travel Tags: , 0 Comments

Trying not to be lost in translation
Trying not to be lost in translation – Olenka and Yuriko Okimori. Photo by Cedric Hernandez.
Here comes the second part of the Japan adventure of Oleñka and Cédric. 


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Our adventure with Okimori started on the 30th of December in 2012. We wanted to spend the New Year´s Eve in Tokyo and they took charge of letting us live the New Year´s ceremonies in the most traditional way. Our 2013 started at a beautiful local shrine of Saitama prefecture where we were the only Westerners. Along with the rhythm of the roar of the bell, we shared our tradition of 12 grapes with Okimori. Originally our first stop in Tokyo was going to be very short but thanks to their determination, we left there with so much desire to come back in summer to see them live the traditions.


Our journey continued to the Southeast Asia and six months later the Okimori received us again. This time it was less cold than our previous visit and we had a frantic diary full of Japanese festivals and activities to celebrate Odori (Natsu Matsuri /Summer festivals).


Very few times of my life, I´ve witnessed so much generosity with my own eyes. I´d seen the Okimori only a few times in our life but going back to their home felt like going our home.


We missed our Japanese mother, sister and little brother, so much that we hugged them when we arrived at the airport (I have to emphasise that they had to travel four hours to and from the Haneda airport and even so, they came and took us there), and we felt home. Their smile stayed us as an image. It was exactly how we left six and a half months before.


Special gift for our japanese family
Special gift for our japanese family. Photo by Olenka
75sqm flat turned to a party hall for five people. It was a palace where never stopped us to enjoy those feasts, cocktails, presents and life in family. Our room was left as it was after we left and all prepared for us to start a new stay.


The Okimori has our dream come true.


In total, we were almost 20 days only in Tokyo and however we tried, we couldn´t travel to other cities. Something magical retained us in the house of the Okimori. It was a pleasure when the girls took out their handmade yukatas (typical women´s summer kimono) and put it on me, and when they took me to shops so that I could have my own. Cédric was delighted to take photos of all those traditional festivals where the Okimori took us. With them, we could understand what would happen.


The neighbourhoods of Tokyo were so colourful just because we were in the hand of our family. If we re-count all the things we tried, we´d have to open a gallery. Only we can say is the Japanese food was far beyond our expectations but we´ll tell you about it later.


The ranking of Tokyo for us has a name and we are glad to have crossed the threshold of the attractions to enter the real world of a Japanese family who gave us all they had within reach so that our stay became more authentic possible.


Welcome to Spanish Paaati
Welcome to Spanish Paaati – Gift for Okimori Family. Photo by Cedric Hernandez
From our part, we gave them a Spanish evening (it was in Madrid where we got to know Hiromitsu Okimori), which they had fun, danced Macarena, drunk tinto de verano until we got really drunk, tasted my first Andalucian style gazpacho and dressed as flamenco dancers for us. We put all our moments together in a small book for the Okimori. And thank to a help of Juju Kurihara, who was my old Japanese teacher, we read a thank you letter to them in Japanese. None of those was enough for the love, the care and the dedication we received from this family.


We appreciate forever that they blessed our journey from the beginning to the end, that they filled us with such a beautiful energy shared our steps. Now we are back to our home in Europe but a part of us stayed in our Japanese home. Like this, a part of the Okimori family travelled with us and wait for them here in Europe.


Christmas 2014 from Okimori Family
Christmas 2014 from Okimori Family. Photo by Olenka
Early 2014, we received a sweet letter from our Okimori family as a beautiful present of the day of the Three Wise Men (6th of January). Inside the envelope, there was a beautiful calendar that Yuriko Okimori chose for us. It was so touching to feel something they had prepared for us, something it was once in their hand. And during all our journey, the Okimori never stopped receiving the postcards from us to keep them posting our adventure and it was also to be able to travel with us.


To be honest, I still miss them and keep counting the days until I go back and see them again.


To be continued…


The next episode is : Chapter II. Happy New Year from Japan.


Are you interested in following our adventure? Here, you can see our blog :


More about Gaijin meet Japan

Arigato forever Okimori Family 1

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