Friday, November 04, 2005

Yasu trying to go back to Japan

On November 3rd Yasu's plane was supposed to leave Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam at 12:00. It was a day which I had been dreading for two months. The day we were going to bring Yasu to that horrible airport which was going to take him away from me... again! It was hard to let him go and saying goodbye was painful, but hey at least this time we weren't high on spacecake like last year.
Yasu & Lou just before check-in at Schiphol Airport
My mother and Gyano came along to see Yasu off and the three of us went to the panarama deck to see Yasu's plane take off. But the plane did not take off, instead it stayed still on Dutch ground... A long while after the scheduled departure we actually saw all the passengers being unloaded again. What was going on? A guy next to me had some kids on that flight in possession of a cell phone and they told us that the plane was delayed for a couple of hours but they were going to take off later that day. Possibilities like what-if-something-is-wrong-with-the-plane-and-Yasu-will-have-to-spend-a-night-in-some-hotel-here shot through my head, but my mother quickly pulled me back into reality and told me that we had to go, we had waited for two hours to see a plane fly which did not happen. We had no way of reaching Yasu because he had no working cell phone with him and he could not reach us because the only number he had was the housenumber back in Neerpelt, where we weren't going to be until late that night. And there were still other things that had to be done that day and we wanted to head back south before the heavy traffic started appearing on the highways again... So we left.

My mother, Gy & Lou at the panorama deck

My mother and Gyano tried to cheer me up all day, we went shopping for a new TV, went to dinner in the city of Eindhoven, and we visited Guido in the evening. All day I was thinking, what if Yasu did get stuck at Schiphol? Then we could have had another day together only I did not know because he had no way of reaching me... And indeed when we finally got home at 22:30 the phone was redblinking like crazy with the dozens of messages that Yasu left on our voicemail! He was still here! Well that is in some hotel near Schiphol and I was hours away in Neerpelt...

Yasu's flight to Kuala Lumpur delayed, delayed, delayed...

I think I went slightly crazy then! Ow no! He was still here and I missed this chance to see him again! And I am not going to see him for another 10 months!!! I was exhausted from not having slept enough the last few days, because we wanted to spent as much waking time together as we could, there was always time to sleep after he left for Japan, is what we reasoned the previous nights? Now he was a long-long drive away and I already fall alseep driving to the supermarket around the corner. But I did not care, he was still in Europe so I was going to go there, now! I called his hotel, I could not reach him it was chaos at the hotel, but the friendly hotelmanager was very touched by this "case of real love" as he called it and he made sure I knew how to get to the hotel and that Mr. Kotera would be notified that I was driving there.
I was looking like a ghost after days of hardly any rest and crying my eyes out because of the departure of my Yasu. But there was no time to lose, no time to waste, so no time to freshen up and make me somewhat attractive for Yasu. Just before I left, Yasu called to Neerpelt. He had an extremely frustrating day, he had been calling me all day hoping there would be a possibility to meet up, but by now he had already given up hope of seeing eachother and all he was hoping for now was a talk on the phone. He was extremely surprised to hear (Are you serious?!?) that I was ready to jump in the car to drive back there to see him. No time to talk sorry baby, gotta go! Gotta go see you!
Gyano went with me to keep me awake behind the wheel, but there was no need because I was so hyped up about seeing Yasu again that I think I could have driven to Paris and back without falling asleep. Two hours later we arrived at the hotel, in the middle of the night there is no traffic congestion so the trip took only half the time. Yasu was there!! Gyano went to sleep in the fancy hotelroom the Airline had provided Yasu with and Yasu and I went roaming about in the hotel, just enjoying eachother's company as much as we could. This was bonus time and it was awesome!

Yasu & Lou hardly awake at the hotel

At 07:00 in the morning busses were leaving for the Airport again and Yasu and I had to say goodbye again. This time Gyano and I brought several cell phones and gave Yasu all the numbers just in case something like yesterday was going to happen again, you never know right? It was still hard to say goodbye, but less sad, because we lucky enough to have had a few extra hours together! Completely exhausted I tried to head back home, but very near to the airport I had to take my first rest because my eyes just did not want to stay open, and that makes it tough to drive you know!
Soon Yasu's calls started coming in, stuff was still wrong with the plane and they were delayed another hour. His phone call woke me up and I started driving back home a little. When I was halfway home Yasu had called so many times with changing information about his flight that I decided to drive back to Schiphol Airport. I thought what if he has to stay here again or is delayed for many hours, then it is going to be easier to meet up with him if I am in the neighborhood instead of somewhere in Belgium.
Yasu had called many times, but of course once we changed the plan and headed back to Schiphol and when we were actually walking around there, Yasu did not call! We were in the same building, we were so close, but he did not know! We had his name announced all over the airport, which he did not hear because of his iPod, we called the Diner's lounges but we just kept missing him. All the while it was getting later and later and it was about time for Yasu to start boarding because this the time the flight did not seem to delay anymore...
Then finally he called! "Yasu, we are HERE! At Schiphol!" "What?" So then he rushed out of his side of passport control, but we knew he was going to have to head back in soon... But if I could just get one extra kiss from him, all this trouble would have been more than worth it! Then just before he went to get his passport inspected (again) and his bag x-rayed (again), we checked the departure board: his flight was delayed again! Until 17:00!!! The man at the desk where we went to verify the delay, said we were the first people he had seen who were happy with yet another 3-hour-delay!

Lou & Yasu during their bonus, bonus time!

We had three whole hours bonus bonus time! We were so happy, we were amazed at our luck and kept wondering what we did right to get this lucky. The airline had given Yasu vouchers with which mostly Gyano enjoyed a Burger King dinner, while Yasu and I enjoyed the unrealness of still being able to see, touch and kiss eachother, more than 24 hours after that horrific goodbye. We both were exhausted, pale and zombie-looking but utterly happy! After those three awesome hours, I still cried when we had to say goodbye for real this time, but hey I am a girl! But this goodbye was a much lighter and happier goodbye, because we had our bonus time and our bonus bonus time to last us until we meet next... And the next time we meet we will not have to say goodbye anymore!

Yasu & Lou's last picture together

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Monday, October 31, 2005

Yasu back from his Eurotrip

The two weeks of Yasu's Eurotrip were two very long weeks for me, but it in the second week of October the Eurotrip was finally over. Yasu and Yuka 'train'ed from Switzerland to Brugge, Belgium. They heard that this city was so beautiful that it should seem like one big open-air museum... At the station in Brugge, Yasu and I crashed into eachother after having missed each other so much. It was only two weeks, which is nothing compared to the many months we normally have to miss eachother... but still those two almost unbearable weeks were behind us, finally! In the city we did a decent amount of sightseeing, Japanese style! We inspected buildings, paintings, statues and some strange urine-art. We found a tiny and very cute chocolateshop, where Yasu crawled behind the counter to retrieve his dropped coin and scared the old lady working there. We bought many different kinds of Belgium chocolate bon bons to make up for it!

Yuka, Yasu & Lou in Brugge

Back in Neerpelt, Yasu claimed his space in my room again and this time we also had to make room for another guest, his sister Yuka. Yuka stayed with us for a week until she was going to travel on to Paris to catch her plane back to Osaka. She visited Antwerp, Brussels, The Hague, Delft and Rotterdam by herself, but of course we could not let her go to Amsterdam unsupervised. Gyano, Yasu and I joined her during her discovery of the prostitutes in the red light district and joints and spacecake in the coffeeshops. Later she ate her chocolate spacecake at home, and found out that she will never ever eat some again. It was a once-in-a-lifetime-but-never-again-experience for Yuka, and great live entertainment for Yasu and me!

Gy, Lou & Yasu in Amsterdam

When Japanese people think of the Netherlands three things pop into their minds: windmills, cheese and wooden shoes. So my uncle Henk took Yasu and Yuka on a trip to the Zaanse Schans, and Gyano and I came along because even though we are Dutch we were also quite unfamiliar with those 'typical' Dutchie things. At the Zaanse Schans, we took a look at the Cheese Factory to see how all that stinky matter gets produced, Yasu and Yuka were brave enough to taste the many (goat) cheeses. But I am sure they enjoyed the taste of their syrup soldiers, bought at an old fashioned Dutch candy store, much much more! Next was a tour through a real working (color) Windmill, where we had to watch out that we did not get grinded ourselves. At the wooden shoe factory a demonstration was given of the production of wooden shoes, and afterwards Yasu and Yuka enjoyed a whole lot of wooden-shoe-fitting-fun at the Factory store where they sold thousands of wooden shoes in every size, color, shape and taste.

Yuka & Yasu sucking on stroopsoldaatjes (syrup soldiers)

Of course during their stay in Europe food also needed to be eaten. Dinner at my uncle Henk and aunt Janny's house; my aunt cooked a fancy 3-course-dinner which was another big success with our Japanese eaters. Then on Yuka's last night in Neerpelt she cooked us a traditional Japanese festive dinner: delicious sukiyaki. And of course I could not let Yasu go home without having had dinner at a Japanese restaurant in Europe with me. Nobody ever wants to join me for a Japanese dinner because they are all afraid of Japanese food, Yasu being Japanese did not have this fear. So we enjoyed a very tasty Japanese feast at Yokohama in Eindhoven, and Yasu my Japanese food expert was very impressed by the food!

Yuka cooking sukiyaki

The day after Yasu's return from his Eurotrip I took him on a trip through the Efteling. We were lucky because in October the Efteling is not busy at all and therefore there were no insane 90-minute-lines-for-a-3-minute-ride situations at all that day, instead we could almost run into the roller coasters, fairy tale rides and (wild) water boats. I heard Yasu (and myself) scream of excitement but mainly fear several times and oddly we thought the scariest ride was the Carrousel (merry-go-round) horse.

Yasu in a revolving cup at the Efteling

Another October highlight was a Backstreet Boys' concert in Brussels where we went to with my sweet mom, her crazy boyfriend Guido and Gyano. Yasu is a living Backstreet Boys jukebox for some reason, maybe it's because he has done too much karaoke in Japan? Anyway therefore it was easy enough for him to sing along to all the tunes played on stage. And really you don't have to be a 12-year-old-girl to enjoy a BSB concert, it is actually entertainment for all ages and both genders!
Yasu and I visited some more places, one of which was the cow farm of a friend from the gym, Coen. Yasu enjoyed inspecting and fearfully petting the cows, which ended in a whole bunch of huge cows being scared of the tiny Japanese man jumping around the stables trying to pet cows and at the same time trying to jump away from the cows. Antwerp was another place we visited which is cow-less but it did have a funny looking statue with some midgets staring with awe at some Giant's crotch.

Lou & Yasu in Antwerp

But what we enjoyed most about Yasu's stay in Europe were the days we stayed at home and simply played house. Of course to most people this is utterly boring but to us it was new and fun. He lives in Japan, I live in Europe we have never really been able to enjoy some normal uneventful life together. So to us the days we just hung around in the apartment doing our own things but still being together were absolutely wonderful and a nice change from chasing around from city to city and event to event.
We closed October with a 1.5-year-anniversary. We were in different countries for our 1-year-anniversary and so will we be for our 2-year-anniversary, so we used our being together for 18 months as a big festive occasion instead. My mom, Guido and Gyano were so friendly to leave the country (as in go to Guido's house in the Netherlands) and be gone for a day, so that Yasu and I could enjoy a romantic day together, complete with breakfast in bed, dinner, flowers, candy, and a midnight walk through (not so) beautiful Neerpelt. Of course there were also presents, Yasu bought a beautiful heart shaped necklace for me and I ... I gave him chocoladebollen (big chocolate balls filled with whipped cream) and pantoffels (winter slippers)... oops. But rest assured, he loved it anyway!

Yasu's anniversary presents for me :)

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Friday, September 30, 2005

Yasu back in Europe

After months and months of waiting, the moment was finally there: Yasu back in Europe! September 6th at 6:35 his plane landed at Schiphol Airport and a not too long after that we were reunited after being apart for almost 8 months! We had a lot of catching up to do and plenty of time to do that in as his plane back home would not be leaving until November 3rd. And let me tell you there is nothing as great as having your boyfriend at actual kissing distance after 8 months of just talking on MSN and Skype!

Yasu & Lou finally together again after 8 months

After Yasu unpacked in Neerpelt and claimed some space in my room we spent the first week visiting big cities in the Netherlands he had not yet seen during his first visit to Europe, last year. In Rotterdam we were true tourists while chilling out under the Erasmus Bridge, lunching on the top of the Euromast and even sightseeing in one of the cubic houses. In Utrecht we took it easier as we sat talking by the city canals for hours and ended our day shopping for a new outfit for Mr. Kotera. In Delft we went to a small factory to see with our own eyes how real Delft's Blue is manufactured and in The Hague we checked out the Queen's chair in the Hall of Knights at the Binnenhof.

Yasu & Lou lunching on top of the Euromast

Then the second week we expanded our horizons and took a plane to New York City. Yasu took part in an Anthony Robbins Seminar in Secaucus, New Jersey, which is really near to New York City. And while he was learning about NLP, I roamed the streets of NYC armed with my digital camera. Of course it wasn't all work and no play for Yasu; he had two days off and we spent those days scaring the people of NYC together. We also managed to go to a Broadway musical (Hairspray) and even see a Bon Jovi concert, which just happened to take place in the new Nokia Theatre on Times Square in the small amount of time that Yasu and I were in NYC! It was unbelievably hot in the city, but we still had a great time!

Yasu & Lou in blistering NYC

Just before we flew to the States, my mother had a long overdue housewarming party with a champagne toast in her new apartment and then dinner in an American restaurant in Neerpelt. It was a great evening, but after that party Yasu was full for two days on ribs and fries! But that still did not stop him from pursuing his newfound love for (heaps of) fries in the days after that, how he stays so skinny, I have no idea!

Yasu with his ribs and fries

Then at the end of the third week, Yasu left :(. His sister Yuka and Yasu were going on a two-week Eurotrip by train. I was supposed to join, but my bank account could only survive one expensive trip and of course for me NYC had priority over Europe! Yuka flew over from Japan and Yasu took a train from the Netherlands, and they met up in Heidelberg, Germany. They traveled through Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Austria, and they absolutely hated rude and dirty Italy and they absolutely loved beautiful Switzerland...

Yuka & Yasu in Interlaken, Switzerland

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