I found a soba shop 25 minutes drive away that was on the Michelin guide.
Chika’s mum were excited to try. After fitting Hana in the baby seat and figuring out how to work the Japanese pram, we set off on her eco-car.

We arrived at 1pm to find everything was sold out.
Chika was the happiest, because that means our next option was her favourite udon shop.
It was packed as well since it was featured on national TV the day before.
We managed to find a table anyway. I literally put the baby in the corner as we ate away.
She lied on the tatami floor, smiling.

We stopped by a bread shop on our way back.
I was skeptical like the last time, but this bread was good, like same as Melbourne good.
Japanese isn’t big on sourdough, yet they know how to make their croissants and baguettes chewy and crunchy.
This place knows Japanese butter is lacking, so they added salt.

Chika’s mum used to run a grocery shop next door for 20 years.
I asked if she would do it again knowing what she knows now.
She said maybe, maybe not.
It was very busy with kids, but at the same time, she was her own boss.
The basic struggle of work life balance never changes.

We arrived home at 3pm, only to receive a phone call that Chika’s father was in a car accident, along with the youngest nephew.
The eldest and youngest of the family.
It didn’t seem serious, but ambulances were sent.

Ryusei, the second nephew, came in and asked if he could use my phone to watch some youtube video.
At first I was startled that he did not seem to care about his grandfather and brother.
But maybe that was his way of escaping reality.
The oldest brother probably suffered the most as he went to the place of incident and saw blood.
He kept asking everyone ‘ Grandpa is not dying, right? Right? Right? ‘

We stayed home to hold the fort – taking phone calls while looking after Hana.

Chika vacuumed and cleaned the toilet.

I took a bath with Hana in a big bathtub for the first time.
It was probably the first time we were alone since arriving. My first reaction was that she had grown so chubby, even though it’s only been 4 days.
Having everyone to care for Hana was good and all, but a small part of me was afraid that she would forget me.

Everyone came home around 6pm, the nephew was completely fine.
Grandpa had to stay for tests.
We bought dinner from the convenience store.
Just like that, the tone of this vacation was thrown off balance.