“Wow, it’s finally spring break!” It was Friday, fifth period. “What are your plans?” Sophia looked at her friends. “Well, I’m going to be teaching a course at Stanford on plankton.” Sharquiqui started. “And it’s going to be some nasty ass shit. Seriously, you’d think that plankton are not gross, but do not get me going on this topic. Somebody else, please cut me off.” “Well I’m going to Hong Kong to visit some family!” Fanny grinned. “Nice! I’m going to be spending time with my family.” Carly smiled. “My mom needs help around the shop, so I’m going to be doing that.” Carly’s mom was a very popular florist in Santa Monica. “My brother and I are going to be in Thailand.” Sophia smiled. “And what about you two?” Everyone turned to the Skye siblings. “We’re going to Japan!” Megan grinned victoriously. “Oh right! Visiting some family?” Fanny was interested. “Yup! I can’t wait!” Kendall completely forgot about their trip. Time was flying by so fast that he didn’t realize that this was the week before spring break.
“I’m so excited!” The three Skye siblings were sitting in the back of a large cab with their luggages. They were with their parents on their way to LAX International Terminal. Their excitement completely masked the taxi’s stench of plastic and burnt cigarettes. “We’re here!” Mrs. Skye looked at her three children. “I can’t wait to introduce you to my grandma!” Surprisingly enough, Mrs. Skye’s grandmother, a Japanese woman, was still alive. She actually lived in American for a little while, having moved there with her daughter at first, only to move back and settle in Aomori. “So we’ll spend one day in Osaka, three days in Tokyo, then two days in Aoyama with your great grandma, and then the last day, we will just go back to Tokyo to come back home.” She listed their schedule for the week. “I can’t wait! Mountains and mountains of takoyaki, here I come!” Gil kicked his feet up in excitement.
The airplane ride to Tokyo was one of the longest Kendall had ever experienced. As fun as it was to be in the air, he was surprised to find out that he managed to watch three movies, get in a nap, and only then, hear the pilot announce that the plane was descending. “Attention, passengers. Please prepare for our initial descent into Haneda Airport. At this time, please put your seats back to their original position, buckle your seat belts, and put away any portable electronic items. Thank you for flying with us.” “Japan!” Gil pointed out of his window as Megan and Kendall peeked over their shoulders. It was beautiful. Fields of pure green, large pools of water, reflecting the bright blue sky. It was a completely different feeling from Asia, where simple nature really embodied the landscape.
“This is so much cooler than LAX!” The Skye family was walking down a completely white, tiled hallway in Haneda Airport. It felt futuristic compared to what they were used to. The monochromatic and modern aesthetic of the airport alone was just a reminder that they weren’t in California anymore. “I can’t right now. This is amazing. I am so proud to be a quarter Japanese.” Megan was astonished by the design. “Okay, guys, we have to get going. We need to take the Shinkansen to Osaka!” Mrs. Skye urged her awestruck children. “Mom, dad, why aren’t you guys amazed by this?” Gil looked at the two. “Well, because we visited quite often before we had you guys. And we even got married in Japan. So it’s somewhere we don’t get too touristy around.” Mr. Skye admitted. “Correction. We had a wedding in California, and then another wedding here.” Mrs. Skye giggled. “Right. Those were the days.” Mr. Skye laughed.
“This is just unreal!” Kendall sighed to himself. They were on the Shinkansen, the high speed magnet train, shooting through all of Japan to get to Osaka, which was the southernmost part of the main island. The train was as fast, if not twice as fast, as a speeding bullet, as they could only catch glimpses of buildings, mountains, and fields as they sped right past them. “We should be approaching Osaka by the next hour or so.” Mrs. Skye was looking at her watch, not wanting them to fall behind their schedule. As a bakery manager, she was always stressed by meeting or making deadlines. “Calm down, honey. Even if we’re late, we can just find new things to do.” Mr. Skye reassured. “Well, improvisation will be up to you then. I like to follow a strict schedule.” She sighed, crossing her arms. “You’d think that would be the other way around, given that I’m the accountant.” Their father laughed.
“Wow!” The five of them had finally checked into their hotel room; because Mr. and Mrs. Skye were members of the Marriott Rewards program, they got a nice suite in the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel for them to stay in for the night before they headed back up to Tokyo. The building was a glass paneled skyscraper located just off the Osaka Municipal Museum of Fine Art and the Tennoji Zoo. “So your mother and I will share a room, and then Gil and Kendall will share a bed, while I get my own?” Megan counted out the three beds in the suite. Their suite was a lot nicer than their apartment, being decorated with white walls and modern decor. The windows looked out onto the city. “Yeah, it looks that way.” Kendall nodded. Sharing a bed with Gil was expected at this point. “So let’s get out and grab some food!” Mr. Skye looked at everyone excitedly. The five made their way to the streets of Osaka. Buildings with large, lit-up signs covered the area, as a large river ran through them. Food stalls and restaurants as far as the eye can see, littered the first floors of every structure. You could definitely never starve in Osaka,
Okonomiyaki, takoyaki, taiyaki, yakitori, melon pan, so many different kinds of Japanese snack foods were being harvested between the three Skye siblings, who were eager to reconnect with their Japanese heritage: more accurately, they have not eaten since they got off the plane, and were really hungry. But that was quickly fixed after about their fifth helping to takoyaki. “So what now?” Gil looked at Megan and Kendall, unsure of what to do. “Hm, let’s go to the castle? Mom and dad said to meet them back at the hotel after dinner.” Kendall suggested, looking at the sightseeing pamphlet that he received from the hotel. “Alright, sounds good.” The three headed off to Osaka Castle. The structure had white, stone walls and blue tiled roofs covering each floor of the building. “So this is a Japanese castle?” Gil was not quite sure how to react. “Honestly, there are bigger houses in Beverly Hills now, but considering the technology that they had back then, this was pretty impressive for that period, and just the fact that the castle is still up and standing now, again, we have to consider those things.” Kendall admitted, trying to convince himself that the castle was something of a wonder.
“Well, now what?” Megan looked at her brothers. They had eaten their way through the city, they have seen the castle, and the only possible thing left to do was go to Universal Studios in Osaka, but why would they when there’s one back home? “Let’s just walk around the city.” Kendall suggested. It was only dawning on the three that they were alone in a completely new country. “Hmmm… I know! Let’s play Pokemon Go!” Gil pulled out his cellphone. “Oh my god, of course you’d want to play that here.” Megan sighed. “Any suggestions on what else we can do?” Kendall looked at her while he took out his own phone. “You… have a point. Hold on, let me get my app started too.” She resigned, opening her cell. Luckily for them, almost all cities in Japan offered free city-wide wi-fi, so connecting and playing the game was possible without data. “Ooh! Look! A Farfetch’d!” Gil pointed excitedly, running off. “Hold on! Wait for me!” Megan screamed, sprinting after him. “Guys, I’m not a runner!” Kendall groaned, chasing the two. “We better not tell mom and dad about this!”
“So, did you guys have a lot of fun?” Mr. and Mrs. Skye were reunited with their children at a local teppenyaki restaurant. “Yup! I’m actually surprised by how much exercising we got done just going around the city!” Kendall grinned, laughing internally at his own omission of them playing Pokemon Go. “Well, that’s good! I hope you guys really got to explore everything.” Mrs. Skye smiled, happy that her children were appreciating her mother’s home country. “I can’t wait for us to go to Tokyo, though. I promised Fanny I’d get him a ton of stuff from Harajuku. He already Venmo’d me the money for it.” Megan laughed. “I’m just glad that I caught a-” Gil started before he realized he was not supposed to mention their afternoon activities. “A real love for the Japanese culture.” He finished, proud of his own save. “I’m so glad.” Their mother bought his lie, oblivious that Gil was originally going to say “a ton of rare Pokemon.”
The family retired to their hotel, and got ready for the night. Unfortunately, they had to leave Osaka tomorrow first thing at sunrise, which in Japan, begins at 4-5am, to make it to Tokyo. “Good night, Gil.” Kendall whispered to his little brother. “Goodnight, Kendall.” They drifted off to sleep with almost no effort. “Kendall?” The brunette opened his eyes. He was in a field of flowers. “Where the hell am I?” He looked around. He saw a slim figure with long black hair, wearing a flowing white dress, and a large white sun hat, standing in the distance from him. He couldn’t quite make out her face from where he was. “Kendall!” She called. That voice? It sounds so familiar. But who’s is it? He was perplexed. But her voice, it made his heart beat faster. He could feel the metaphorical butterflies in his stomach, telling him to be nervous. The girl laughed and started running off. “Wait for me!” Kendall screamed, getting up and running after her. “Ugh…” The brunette opened his eyes to the sound of Megan’s Taylor Swift alarm, which was blasting through the suite. That was a strange dream he had. But who was the girl?