Family trip to Japan
Family trip to Japan

A week or two after Jack was born, an ad for wickedly cheap flights to Tokyo came through my inbox. It seemed criminal to let them pass me up. In my sleep-deprived just-gave-birth state I decided, “How bad can flying around the world with a preschooler and new baby be?” So I booked them, and spent the next six months regretting my decision.

But I’m so glad we decided to go for it. Japan was enchanting. And now that we’ve been home for a few months, all I remember is the enchantment, and I’ve almost forgotten the kids awake and ready to go at 3am every morning, the politely restrained looks of disgust when Jack sneezed on the metro, an Airbnb so cold I could see my breath inside, and dizzying maps that led us walking miles out of the way of our destination.

Now all I remember is the persimmons tied from rooftops, the water bubbling up from the earth, stone paths through ancient birch groves, steaming bowls of ramen, Misa’s hospitality and the hot water bottles she tucked under our blankets each night, conveyor-belt sushi, the smoke-filled teahouse along the Nakasendo trail. There was so much magic in that country.

Wren’s favorite part was the bathrooms, and she still complains daily about our offensively primitive toilets without heated seats. Japan definitely ruined her.