Ever have someone spark a memory that takes you back to moments long forgotten? A gal I know is about to depart for a vacation in Japan. Hearing about her plans got me reminiscing about my last trip there in 1998. Yikes that’s almost 15 years ago!

Vivid scenes flashed through my mind. I accompanied my dad, pioneer behavioral child psychologist, Sidney W. Bijou, because my mom, 88 at the time, was not quite up for traveling. The Japanese really took to my dad’s approach to helping special needs children and so we got the royal treatment.

The people were so honored to have dad speak at their annual meeting and visit the programs they had created following his guidelines.

Everywhere he went, he and my mom were well loved. Through the years as I watched colleagues and students flock around him, I thought warmly of my parents as the “incredibly shrinking” duo that won people’s hearts. I can’t venture a guess as to how many people saw them as the parents they wish they had.

Dad and I spent time in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, and for a mini adventure took a train trip thru the beauty of southern Japan. Those trains are amazing, quiet, and unfailing. The scenery out the windows is a spectacular feast for the eyes and heart. So of course, I would recommend an extended train ride thru the countryside and villages.

I loved all the temples and gardens. Ancientness thrives. Stillness abounds. Perceptions are heightened. I can still feel the tightness in my calves from climbing tons of steps at the holy places in each town.

I really enjoyed the small towns on the water, south of Kyoto, hills and shrines rising up from the sea in most towns. Islands and rice fields and green and beauty.

And I would recommend plenty of bowls of soba noodles. yum. We think “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” They think “a bowl of noodles a day.”

And of course, I especially enjoyed the basement of all the department stores because they contain these amazing grocery stores with everything you can imagine to eat. If you’re a foodie spending a good amount of time in different grocery stores is a must. I could spend hours watching the buzz as hundreds of people were maintaining their immaculate spaces and preparing about anything you can desire to eat. I preferred to shop there for dinner than go out!

Let me know places that are indelibly etched in your mind – in a good way at Facebook.



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