I will never forget the first day I arrived in Japan in front of Seminar House 4. I carried my luggage through the cozy park in order to arrive at my new place in Seminar house 3. Walking for the first time through this park, I noticed the coffee shop called Café de Raffinee and some children playing around; however, I could not pay attention to any more details since I was rushing to the dorms.
Next weekend I went with one of my new friends to the park. After chatting for a while we decided to have lunch in the small coffee shop that caught my attention since my arrival in Japan. Once I entered the place, I discovered that Japanese families actually come to have lunch with their family, friends and/or neighbors. I was interesting to be the only foreign person in the coffee shop without a family or children. As I observed some of the Japanese families from my neighborhood spending their Saturday with family members, I must admit that became a little surprised.
After a while, I revisited the place since we decided to celebrate Jessica’s 22nd birthday there. Being together with my new friends and seeing some familiar Japanese faces (from my first visit) was a nice experience. After having lunch I went to the bench and I saw how small children were running though the water fountains and how older children were playing sports together or with a member of their family.
Unfortunately, I cannot speak Japanese very well and therefore I could not talk to the people for long time about the activities that they do during the weekend in this neighborhood. I asked for permission to take pictures of them and they politely agreed. I am fascinated to see how Japanese families spend their weekends together – here activities are very different from the place I grew up. Every Saturday I walk through the park and watch them for few minutes- it makes me feel better…