Well the plane door closed....it was pretty well booked. I had a window seat in the coach section right on the edge of the wing of the plane....so I could see everything growing smaller as we lifted higher away.
I had brought some books to read as I knew it was a long flight..this is all before they had movies or anything for entertainment on board....although they did feed you better than today. Unfortunately, the person sitting next to me decided I was going to be his "best friend" for the entire trip. Well, I was trapped he was sitting in the aisle seat the middle was vacant but that didn't stop him from talking for hours.
I asked for a blanket & pillow to try to sleep, he still talked. I finally got up and went to the little restroom just to get some relief from the constant chatter. To make matters worse, he smelled of heavy garlic - it permeated the air around him - with each word that he spoke I received the full ripe smell of the garlic. Finally, I was able to pretend to sleep and he fell silent.
I wanted to relax and ready my mind for meeting Tom and his family...I was nervous. As we were getting ready for the approach to the Tokyo Airport I could see the multitude of beautiful lights coming from the city area. My "best friend" decided that he was going to "help" me find my way about the airport and make it easier for me to find Tom. My internal "creep moniter" started shreeking inside my head...I told him "no, thanks"...I didn't have any carry on luggage so I was able to get ahead of him in the plane's aisleway.
I made it through custom's and through the glass enclosed space I could see Tom! I made through those doors in record time and into his arms! It was winter and a little bit cold.....but I felt very warm. Tom had shipped his faithful little grey VW Bug over to Japan when he left, so we put my luggage in and off we went.
It was night when I arrived, so I did not get to see too much of the city as we drove through it. We turned down a small, narrow street that had all types of walls around the houses, real high so that it was hard to see behind any of them. Tom stopped the car in front of a pretty stone structure and opened a wrought iron gate and proceeded to drive the car into the carport area. The house from the outside looked really nice, it was made of white stucco, some sort of shinny rock - it shone like mica and lots of dark wood.
When we entered the house, the foyer was a large step down from the rest of the hallway...that was so you could sit and remove your shoes. Even though this was a "western" style house no shoes were to be worn inside. (actually ladies if we were to adapt this to our lives today...our houses would stay alot cleaner). The hallway in itself was pretty...the little foyer was tiled, there was a dark wooden closet for the shoes to be placed, slippers were provided for everyone too. The hallway on one side had the same rock tile that was on the outside of the house, the floors were the long wooden plank type...mainly cherrywood. There was a large sliding door to the left, another sliding door at the far end of the hallway and stairs leading upstairs to the right.
As we entered a very small immaculately groomed Japanese lady bowed to us and said something in Japanese. Tom turned to me and said "Sandi this is my mother....Oka-san" . I smiled at her and said that I was happy to be there and it was nice to finally meet her. She did not speak any English...so Tom had to interpret. Tom explained that his Mother would stay with us at the house as it was not proper for us to stay together until we were married...so she was to be a chaperone.
At that point I had no idea just how determined a lady Tom's mother was. Little by little I learned about his early life and their struggle to survive during the war and afterwards. Right then I was just glad to finally be where I wanted to be, to feel loved and wanted....and looking to the future with great eagerness.