Slowly Coming Back

by Tokyo Terrace on August 31, 2012

Photo by The Jenn Cheesebrow of Minnesota Image

Life changes every day. Some changes are so small they go completely unnoticed while others cause an uncontrollable tidal wave, sweeping through every part of what made your life “normal”. I’d say an international move, coupled with buying and renovating a house, all while raising a nearly 9 month old child falls into the tidal wave category.

Yep. No question about it.

The tidal wave began months ago when we found out we were moving to Denver. Saying goodbye to Tokyo started early, thanks to my parents, who know how to make a long goodbye even longer. They taught me well. When my parents would drop us off at the airport after a visit home, they would stand in view of security until we made it through and turned the corner out of sight. All the while I would be crying my eyes out. I would say that leaving Japan was something like that. During every walk from my apartment to the grocery store or the train station, I would do my best to take mental pictures of all my favorite pieces of our neighborhood for fear they would slip from my memory all too quickly. At the moment, in the haze of transition, life in Japan seems almost like a dream. But I have occasional flashes of what we have left behind.

Here are a few things I will never forget.

(Brought to you by Instagram.)

Our last meal on the floor of our completely empty apartment: somen noodles, kabocha salad, Orangina, and a green salad.

My last ride on the train with Riley. We rode in the first car by the driver:

One last look at the produce vending machine in our neighborhood and the elderly woman who kept it full:

And of course, packing up our life into boxes before journeying across the ocean:

This is the first time I’ve really taken the time to look through photos of those last precious days in Japan. There are many more things I will remember outside of these pictures of course. Many of them captured in photos that are on our desktop computer that has just made its journey across the Pacific Ocean with the rest of our belongings. Hopefully unharmed.

Deep down, I still feel like we are returning to Tokyo, to our cozy apartment with our crabby landlady, and the daily walks and bike rides to the grocery store. Deep down, I feel like that is my home and I am simply playing pretend here in Denver. Did you ever play House when you were a kid? It’s like that. Probably a coping mechanism of some kind. And yet, this new place is now home. With the Rocky Mountain back-drop in place of Mt. Fuji, I will keep exploring the culinary culture that surrounds us and will share it here with all of you.

Did I mention that we bought a house and are completely renovating the inside? It’s nothing fancy- just a small ranch-style home in a suburb of Denver. The house is similar in size to our last apartment in Japan. It has actually been really fun to create our home the way we want it. And the kitchen! Oh the joy of the kitchen. I got to pick out new appliances, which include a beautiful OVEN! I have not had an oven in 4 years. This is very exciting for me.

While this is not a forever home, it is exactly what we need for now. And thinking back on our time in Tokyo, the smallest of our three apartments that we inhabited brought us more opportunities for growth and exploration. Perhaps that will be the case with our little fixer upper.

I am excited to share the finished photos with you, but here is a little taste of what has been evolving over the past weeks…this is the living room/dining room.

LR/DR Before...

LR/DR Between Before & After. We raised the ceiling and since this photo was taken have also replaced the floors. The french doors were added in place of the window that was there before. More pictures to come!

It doesn’t look like much in these photos, but trust me when I say the difference in the final product will be well worth the wait.

While all of this has been going on, Riley has learned to crawl, clap, climb the stairs and wave! Holy Hannah he’s growing up so fast…

Well, I think that brings us up to speed. I will be getting back on the blogging train now and I hope you will join me- and bring your friends! Who knows what the great state of Colorado has in store for us. And our bellies.

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  • Mardi

    Great update Rachael :) I loved those last few memories of Tokyo and I love seeing Riley growing up.  Good luck with the house and enjoy your new kitchen!!!

  • Origamiliving

    Oh my goodness look at all that delicious wood. My parents house has a lot of wooden finishes so when I saw your ceiling and airy space it reminded me of that. Nothing like our pre-fab rental apartment that we are in now in Yokohama. But the light in the afternoon in our dayroom makes up for it all. Can’t wait to see more and Riley is so cute!!

  • Jon @ vodkitchen

    Great to see more posts from you post-Tokyo… enjoyed this one!

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