This diary entry is part 28 of 28 in Lily's diary dated 25 - July 2023

Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!

Did I say I love my sisters?  Because right now I’m really really really annoyed with them!!! I can’t believe how annoyed I am with them!!!!  GRRRRR!!!!!

Okay, so let me tell the story.

Apparently when I thought they were holed up in their room yesterday playing games?  They, umm…  weren’t playing games.  They went over to Akihabara and bought some cosplay outfits.  They bought slightly anime-like middle school uniforms with wigs with different colors.  But they didn’t tell me what they did!!!  They even bought Crystal one!!!

I don’t even know how they paid for it!!! I’m going to have to do some questioning!!!

So anyway, today the plan was to do a little sightseeing.  There are some interesting things around Odaiba, like a statue of liberty replica, and also there’s a samurai castle museum we wanted to visit.  So… we hopped on the train.

Imagine this:  Me.  Wearing a sundress and looking like a typical gaijin.  And eleven girls wearing school uniforms, colored hair, and cat ears all hovering around, calling me “onee-chan” (big sister), using incredibly high voices, saying “nyan” at random times, and just making asses of themselves.  And a bunch of highly amused adults just telling me to deal with it.

They were playing a prank on me!!!

They were completely respectful – in fact, they were way too respectful.  They looked at me with doe eyes, called me onee-chan, when we went to buy tickets to a place they all said “onee-chan will buy the tickets, nya” in that insufferable high voice, and…  everyone was just looking at us like we were completely insane.  I’m pretty sure I heard “baka gaijin” muttered on the train more than once.  And I don’t blame them!!!

And they didn’t drop the act until we were back at the hotel.

They collapsed in giggles.  I… just stomped off.  I admit, I was very embarrassed and a little angry.

Were they cute?  Yes.  Was it a harmless prank?  Well, mostly.  Was it completely mortifying?  DARN RIGHT!!!  Especially in Japan where we were making a spectacle of ourselves!!!

I’m back in the hotel now.  They’re trying to make up with me.  I’m not talking with them.  Maybe tomorrow.  I’m thoroughly cheesed.

And worse???

It’s already on tiktok!!!  GRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Love you all!!! 

But my sisters are on my list!!!  The little….   I’d better stop now.  I haven’t been this mad since Beth pinched my floppy bits.

To Sabby’s credit…. when she saw them like that, she said “you know she’s going to get you back, right?”



This diary entry is part 27 of 28 in Lily's diary dated 25 - July 2023

Hi! It’s me! Lily!

So today wasn’t originally intended to be a free day.  But, we all were just tired.  Everyone agreed that we’d been doing so much over the past few days, and it was a good day to take a break.  So, we did.

Some of us went out, and some of us just stayed in or around the hotel and were just lazy.

In our room, Beth took the train to a toy store or something and got some games, and they played games all afternoon.  In Rebecca’s room, I guess they did go out, but they mostly just hopped a train and just let it take them to whereever.  They told us when they got back that they found their way to a really picturesque small town and had a pretty good time.  Emiko and family went to see some Japanese friends that none of us know, which is pretty cool.  She wanted to introduce me, but I told her some other time, I had something important to do.

I took Crystal for some sister time.  Beth wanted to come along, but I told her that while I’m not leaving her out, I had something, well, Japanese to do with Crystal, and I thought it’d help.  I was expecting Beth to be jealous, but she just nodded, gave Crystal a hug and told her to have fun, and asked everyone what games they wanted to play.  David was hanging around too because Dave and Sabby wanted some alone time.

I took Crystal to a kimono store (kaimono!  kaimono!  haha!!) and bought her kimono.  The proprietor was talking to her coworker about us in not flattering ways, until I told her I could understand her and she might want to rethink that.  She was very nice after that – even gave me a discount.  Japanese people really hate getting caught, hah.

So after that, I put my kimono on too, and we went to a Japanese garden.

I showed her how, in a Japanese garden, every plant, rock, and other accessory had a purpose, and they designed it very carefully to create a peaceful and serene place for all the beneficial kami to live.  That she and I were wearing kimono because while we were there, we were a part of the garden too.

It was already kind of hot, but very peaceful.  The birds were hopping around getting worms, the butterflies and other insects were doing their thing, there were flowers of many different colors, and grasses with many different shades of green.  The trees were casting beautiful shadows, and…  it was just a beautiful place to be.

“Why did you bring me here?”, she said finally.

“Because,” I said…  thinking about what I wanted to say.  “We’re going back to Texas in a week.  There aren’t gardens like this in Texas.  But now you’ll have this as a memory.  Whenever you want to, you can go back in your head to this garden, wearing kimono, smelling all the fragrant flowers and listening to the water burble and the wind rustling to these leaves, and you can remember that there are places in the world designed for the sole purpose of… being peaceful.”

I had her sit down on a bench next to me.  Maybe it was the obi but she sat a lot more properly than she usually did.

“let’s just be quiet for a while,” I suggested.

And we were.  She looked around for a bit, and then her eyes closed, and her breathing slowed a little, and she sighed.  “It’s… wonderful,” she said, quietly.  I reached up and gently scratched the base of her scalp, and she lowered her head slightly.  “That… tingles,” she said.

Then it was just like she deflated.  Everything just… left her.  She kind of went limp and her head started lolling and she started breathing deeply.

“I…  feel better,” she said, softly.  “Much better.”

“Sit here for as long as you want,” I said.

She sat there for a full hour.  At times I wondered if she even knew what was going on around her, but I didn’t say anything to her.  I just let her, well, be.  After an hour she said “I’m ready to go now.”

We got up and made our way back to the hotel.  She didn’t say a single word to me, but she kind of clung to me as we rode the train.  Two gaijin in kimono being a little touchy got us some funny looks, but I didn’t care.  She’s my imouto.  My little sister.

We got back to the hotel room and everyone looked up, and saw her in her kimono.  Everyone kind of fawned all over her and told her how beautiful it was, and she just let them.  Finally they saw her face.

“Crystal?  Are you alright?”, Beth asked.

“I’m… fine.  Better than fine.  I’m…  Lily took me to a peaceful place, and I…. I found some peace.  For once in my life, I found peace.”  Her eyes brimmed over a little.  “It was wonderful.”

And we played games until dinner.

At dinner, everyone noticed that Crystal seemed… happier somehow.

I’m glad.

She deserves a little happiness.

She gave me a big hug tonight and she seems so much… lighter.

Love you all!!! ❤

This diary entry is part 26 of 28 in Lily's diary dated 25 - July 2023

Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!

We went to Tokyo Disneyland today!!!

We were going to go to Akasuka Hanayashiki, but it turns out… it’s not very big.  Not a lot to do.  But Tokyo Disneyland doesn’t have that problem!  It’s in Odaiba near the big ferris wheel and the Rainbow Bridge.  It’s a lot like American Disneyland, but it’s Japanese!!!

But it was still pretty hot today.  Awww.

We did all the stuff people do at Disneyland, though!  Rode rides, saw features, ate sweet treats.. .it was fun!!! Sabby didn’t seem too happy to go but she didn’t say too much, and did get on a couple of of the rides.  The Aidol Four (which is what I’m calling Ai and her friends now, they think it’s funny!) had a great time too.  But it turns out trying to keep track of something like 25 people in a theme park is not the easiest thing.  Lots of texting and calling.  They actually have an attraction called “Westernland”, because “frontier” doesn’t translate into Japanese well.  Since we’re from Texas, everyone expected us to do well at the shootin’ gallery.  I didn’t, but Dave nailed it.  Hahaha!!!

After the fireworks at sunset, we hopped back on the train and made our way back to the hotel.

Crystal seemed really sad though.  I mean, she had a good time, and whooped it up on some rides, but she still seemed sad.

I kind of let it be until all the other girls were in their own room getting ready for bed, and I asked Crystal what the matter was.

She was sniffling and kind of doing that gaspy thing you do when you’re trying not to cry and failing.

“I…  I don’t…  Why are you all being so nice to me?” She finally got out, and then just collapsed on the bed sobbing.

“I… don’t deserve it,” she said, when she got herself a little more under control.  We were just stroking her hair and letting her cry it out.  “All I’ve ever done is try to… try to…” and she collapsed into more sobs.

“Because you’re our sister,” I said simply.

“I’m… I’m not..”

“Yes you are,” I said definitively.  “You’re my sister.  You’re.. .all of our sister.”

Beth… bless her…  gave her a headpat.

She reacted about the same way I did when Ai gave me that headpat last year.  Just kind of burst into sob-giggles and buried her face in the covers.

“Why do you think like this?”, I asked Crystal.  “Sometimes… it feels like you don’t like it when good things happen to you.”

“I do,” she said, “it’s just… I’m wondering what bad thing will happen that I’ll have to pay for it.”

I sighed.  Oh.

“If you expect bad things,” I said, “then you’ll get bad things.”  I sighed.  “You’re not getting rid of us.  Not that easily.  Not ever.  Now did you have a good time today or not?”

She nodded.

“Are you enjoying Japan?”

She nodded again.

“Then keep the memories of that that time you spent with all your sisters in Japan.  No one can tak…” I stopped.  Because, someone or something did take my memories away from me.  I can’t promise that.

“No one can take my memories away?”

I just sat there.  I didn’t know what to say.

“But something…”

I nodded.

“You need a sister too, don’t you?”

I nodded.  A tear leaked out.

She sniffled.  “I…  I’m selfish.”

“No,” I said.  “Just… you’re not the only one with problems.”

She nodded.  We all hugged.  Then we started getting ready for bed.

I feel so bad for Crystal sometimes, but…  but sometimes people feel bad for me, too.  And maybe they should.  Maybe…

Maybe sometimes life just sucks for everyone.

Time for bed.

Oh….  we did call back home today.  Marie’s doing fine, she misses us but there are other dogs to play with so she’s doing okay.  The shop is humming along, thankfully.  Katie had to do payroll, I’m glad I taught her and Baker how.  It’s not too hard.  I wonder if Cat even notices we’re gone!

And Jack misses me too.  A lot.  He told me how much.  I still blush thinking about it.

Oh, and Sabby had an amazing idea today!!!  I’ll tell you about it soon!!!

Okay, bed for real.

Love you all!!! ❤

This diary entry is part 25 of 28 in Lily's diary dated 25 - July 2023

Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!

So, today, we did something a little different.  All the girls wanted to see rabbit island, but that’s a long Shinkansen ride down, and a ferry ride too.  So everyone took off this morning for Hiroshima prefecture and ookunoshima.  Britni turning out to be a Japanese speaker is really helpful, because now she can be the “tour guide”, of shorts.  Even if she hasn’t been there, at least she can speak it, so they won’t get lost.  That also helped because Shinkansen tickets are expensive, and while we’re spending a lot of money on this trip, there’s no point in being profligate (there’s a word!) about it.

Dave, Sabby, David, Beth, Liz, and Emiko and her family stayed behind, and we went up to Saitama to see Ai and her family at their house.

Ai invited some of her friends over too, it was a full house, but at least not an explodey house, as seven girls and Rebecca’s mother were currently speeding towards rabbit heaven.

Ojiisan and Obaasan made us a nice Japanese lunch, which was very nice, and we offered to go to the store to get them some ingredients because there were a lot of us.  But they just waved us off and said it was nice to have guests.

Liz’s friends were around our age, named Takahashi Minami (not THAT one), Shinoda Mariko (not THAT one either, what are the odds?), and Ooshima Yuuko (Okay, that’s just ridiculous!).  I remarked on their famous names, and they laughed and said along with Takahashi Ai (my half-sister) they were pretty much an idol group.  I asked if they got made fun of for that, and they just looked puzzled.  “Why would they make fun of us for that?”

I shrugged.  Good question, all told.

Anyway, they were all pretty Japanese girls, with black hair and black eyes and not tall and trim figures, but their faces were different (thankfully), Minami had a slightly plump face and severe bangs, Mariko had a thin, oblate face (kind of oval but wider on top, think Chibi Maruko Chan) with twintails, and Yuuko was the spitting image of Niigaki from Morning Musume – very cute and looked much younger than her age.  After lunch we all went to a shrine while the adults chatted.  It was really hot but the shrines are peaceful places.  Ai’s friends had a hundred different questions about America and Texas and after we answered about fifty of them Ai told them to shut up and let us get a word in.

They just bowed and said “sumimasen” and we said we didn’t mind.

They made us promise to take them with us to the amusement park when we went (we were supposed to go today but pushed that back a bit) and we said sure thing but they had to pay for their tickets.  They jumped up and down and yelled “Yatta!!!”, then covered their mouths with their hands and giggled.

Japanese girls are so cute sometimes, haha!!!

David thinks so too, I caught him catching a glance and blushing.  Hahaa!!!

I made a note to myself to call ahead to see if we had to make a reservation for groups, because the number could be in excess of 25 now…  We just seem to pick up people!  Hahaha!!!

Anyway, after we walked around the shrine (it’s not as hot as before, but still pretty hot) we made our way back to Ai’s house, and after a very nice dinner made by obaasan, we said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel.

It wasn’t until later that all the others came back from ookunoshima.  Crystal was so happy!!!  She got to see so many bunnies!!!  And all the other girls were burbling too!!!  They are some really cute bunnies!!!

It ws nice to see Crystal so happy.  It’s so rare anymore.  Aww.

Anyway…  we’re about to turn in.

Love you all!!! ❤

This diary entry is part 24 of 28 in Lily's diary dated 25 - July 2023

Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!

And today was a free day!!!  It’s a day we all agreed that we could all go and do whatever we wanted, as long as we were back by a reasonable hour.

We’ve planned a couple of those, but there are also days where we’re going to go see stuff as a group, like we did the past couple of days!!!

But it actually turned out that a lot of us wanted to go see some of the “weeb” sites here, so pretty much all of us kids and teenagers piled onto the Ginza line and headed right for Akihabara.

Everyone went nuts.  Sigh.

I can only imagine what it looked like when thirteen (mostly gaijin) girls and two boys basically went nuts.  David and Hiroshi went off to play arcade games and look at video games (they could do what they wanted as long as they met up with us for lunch).  And of course all of us girls descended upon kawaii shops and bought little bookbags with animal faces and little animals dangling from them, and cat ears, and just wandered all over weebing all over everything.  We packed our bookbags full of little trinkets and curios, and I bought some Japanese language manga too at Animate.  After that, we rounded up David and Hiroshi and made a cloud of dust over to Shinjuku and Shibuya (we wanted to see the world-famous Shibuya Scramble, and it’s just as scrambly as its reputation says!).  We also went to Harajuku to heat up our feet (we all got selfies at the famous Takeshita street sign) and filled up our bookbags with cute trinkets.

Yes, we were being annoying tourists, but it was fun!!!

We went to a maid cafe for lunch, and I think David was going to explode!!!  All the girls thought he was the cutest and were fawning all over him, one called him a little man, one sat in his lap and booped his nose, and you’ve never seen such a red boy.  I asked him about his girlfriend, and he said “what girlfriend?”  He wasn’t being silly, he actually completely forgot.  All the girls giggled behind their hands, and made sure he got the best treats they had.

David loves Japan now and says he wants to move there.

I told him all those girls were paid to act like that.

He said he didn’t care.

…  Can’t blame the boy, I guess.

One of the girls actually sat in Chelsi’s lap.  Chelsi turned red too.  Hahaha!!!  I guess there’s something about thirteen girls that brings out the worst in maid cafe girls.  Then they all got up and did a jpop rendition on the stage!!!  It was funny!!!  But…  omg they an actually sing “Motteke! Sailor Fuku!”  That’s a silly song but it’s amazingly FAST.  And they pulled it off.  Props to them!!!  And they did the dance too!!!

I told them they should see if they can get a record deal, like Band-Maid did.  That’s really hard to pull off, I actually was impressed.

OMG one kissed me on the cheek.  And then blushed prettily and bowed formally.  That was so cute.

For being reserved Japanese people, this was a touchy group.

Oh well.  They managed to keep it cute instead of creepy, and I guess that’s the important thing.  That’s the whole point of kawaii, right??

When we left, David got a headpat and they told him to come back anytime, and he turned red again.

The last maid cafe I went to was… not like that.  I guess they have different personalities!!!

I’d heard of a hamster cafe in Harajuku too, and we checked that out.  It was so cute!!!  So many little hamsters and hedgehogs!!!

But… then…  umm…  something really strange happened.

Do you remember how I told you that Britni seemed to be one of the… ummm…  I guess I can just come out and say it now, because it doesn’t matter anymore.  She seemed like she was one brick short of a full load.  About as sharp as a sack of wet leather.  One card short of a full deck.  She always seemed like she was as dumb as a box of rocks.

So we all piled into the train, and it was a pretty crowded train, and I guess some Japanese guy groped her (Chikan) and she.. went off.  In perfect Japanese.  I don’t even speak Japanese that well.  She told the guy where he could shove his hands and gave some anatomically creative suggestions on what she would do regarding her foot and his rear end.  She threatened to kick him in his “chinpo” so hard that his “kintama” would come out his mouth.  (don’t look those words up.)  She was swearing up one side and down the other, until the guy finally turned red and got off at the next stop.

We all just looked at her.  Everyone on the train was looking at her.  And you haven’t been looked at funny until Japanese people look at you funny.

“Ummm…. what did all that mean?”, she said… feebly.  Then she sighed.  “Fine.  I’ll tell you later.”

So..  everyone was looking at her funny all afternoon.  It was hot so we found a frozen treats stand and got some frozen treats, and then hopped on the train and went to see the Sky Tree.  All us girls got selfies, of course, with Fujisan in the background.  And then we went to a cat cafe, had a drink, and gave the cats treats.  It was cute!!!

They have so many small animal cafes!!!  Everyone thought it was funny how the cats would roam around looking for handouts.  They had little packets of cat treats to give out, and all the cats seemed to be having the best time.

So anyway, we headed back to the hotel as evening was approaching, and all of us went for sushi.  I love sushi!  I could eat it every day!!!  We all stopped at a Lawson’s too and cleaned them out of snacks.  I mean, hello!  Japanese snacks!  And Liz really loves those, so why not.

We got back to the hotel and then the ten of us parked in one of our rooms, tore into the chocolate, and told Britni to spill.  I mean, her friends had known her longer than I had, and they’d never even seen a spark of intelligence out of her.  I sure hadn’t!!!

She said…  she speaks four languages, can play several musical instruments, knows advanced math…  basically she turned out to be one of the smartest people I’d ever met, even smarter than Beth or even her mentor.  But I guess she had a bad experience in elementary school and just decided to play dumb from then on. I guess some kids made fun of her, and she figured she’d have a better life if she just pretended, well, to be an idiot.

And, well… girl should be an actress.

No one’s mad at her, not really, but I think her friends do feel a little betrayed.  It’s going to be a bit of adjustment to getting used to smart Britni.

We’re all about to go to bed, but I asked Crystal how she is.

She said…  she’s really sad, but it’s nice seeing all the things she never thought she’d see, and Japan is really fun, and…  she’s still really sad.

I… don’t know what to say.  So I’m going to hold her tonight.  I can’t take her sadness away but I can make it a little better.

Tomorrow we’re going to an amusement park!!!

Love you all!!! ❤

This diary entry is part 23 of 28 in Lily's diary dated 25 - July 2023

Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!

And it was so hot today!!!  AWWWW!!!!!

But… stuff to talk about first.

We went to bed last night, and after a little bit, I felt someone burying her head in my chest and I heard sniffles.  I looked down and there was Crystal, crying quietly.  I guess she didn’t want to wake everyone else up, but she was…  she was really crying.  Hard.

Poor Crystal.

So of course I just put my arms around her and let her cry.  I think I whispered soothing things but it didn’t matter what I said, it just made her cry harder.

It took a while for her to get it all out.

I’m glad I have a big enough chest to be buried in…

Finally her breathing slowed and she went to sleep.  But I didn’t for a little bit.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to think about what people go through in this life.  Some people just seem to have a charmed life, like… Rebecca, maybe.  But I didn’t, and Crystal really didn’t.  And sometimes… sometimes it shows.

When we woke up, she just looked at me, whispered “thanks”, and went off to the bathroom.

She’s my sister!  If I can’t let her cry in my chest, what kind of sister am I???

Everyone in the room knew what happened to Crystal though, so no one thought badly.  I don’t know how Rebecca and friends would have responded.  I mean they seem fine, but…  that was a private moment between us.  It’s Crystal’s story to tell, I guess.

Though she didn’t mind me posting it here, so…  I guess.

I only post things here that no one minds me posting.  Sometimes I’m surprised at what I can post, but…  I guess my friends trust me.

I guess my sisters trust me.

Even Jack doesn’t mind the subscriber posts.  I… think he’s proud.  haha!!!


Oh, specaking of Jack, he’s doing fine.  We’re chatting every night, and I forgot to mention we had a date before I left.  He gave me some chocolate for the road.  I gave him… something else… for the road.  Blush!!!

So today after we all did our bathroom and get ready stuff, we all met up in the hotel lobby and decided that since today’s high was going to be 102 we weren’t going to do a lot of walking.  It’s supposed to cool down a bit after today, but today…  that’s just too much.  But what can we do in Japan that’s mostly indoors?

Actually, I suggested we go down to Enoshima.  It’s an island, it’s not supposed to get higher than 88, and..  there was very little argument.  Haha!!!  Ai and Hiroshi came down to go with us.

So we went to Enoshima.

We did a lot of the same stuff we did last year, just with more of us.  We walked around, visited the shrine (Emiko and I put ema on the prayer wall and did the bowing and clapping) and everyone else was pretty respectful.  I had to put the fear of kami into David, though.  I told him that if he wasn’t respectful the Oni would get him, and then I showed him a picture of an Oni.  He didn’t believe me… .but he was respectful and listened to what we told him.

He did mention that it was really peaceful.

Crystal asked about the Ema and bought one, and after some thought wrote a prayer on it and imitated my bowing and clapping.  Generally we don’t read other peoples’ Emas, so maybe I’ll ask her what she wrote sometime.  Britni, of all people, wrote an Ema too.  I didn’t look.  Yu didn’t, but she was watching everything intently.

It turns out there’s surfing in Enoshima!  Chelsi was really happy!!!  So we found a place that would rent her a surfboard and us some beach towels, and while she surfed we just changed into our swimsuits (I asked Rebecca to be a teensy bit more modest, haha) and lounged around on the beach while Chelsi caught some waves.  She’s really good!!!  Some Japanese guys were watching her really intently, haha!!!  I think some girls too!!!

I saw one guy get a headslap from his girlfriend!  Hahaa!!!  She is really tall and blond and pretty.. and.. ummm… fills out a swimsuit.  More than I do.

We also played a little in the water.  It was pretty fun.  All the adults just sat on a towel and soaked up the sun and chatted, and all of us girls (and David and Hiroshi) just squealed and splashed each other.  Not quite a waterpark but good enough.

When we all changed into our swimsuits though, I think both Hiroshi and David’s heads exploded!  Haha!!!

So anyway, after a couple of hours, we went to the Onsen (Rebecca and her friends are not used to public nudity, haha), we got some food at one of the stands, and took the train back to Asakusa.

It was a pretty fun day, and was really hot when we got back to Tokyo.

Sabby thinks Japan is a beautiful country.  I agree with her, of course.

Maybe tomorrow we’ll visit Akihabara.

I’m glad Chelsi got a chance to surf.  She was really looking forward to that.  We got some pictures and video of her and they went right on her Instagram, and all of her followers were way jealous!!!  I mean, surfing in Japan!!!

We’re about to go back to sleep.  I hope Crystal’s okay tonight.

Oh, one “administrative” note – I’m using the dates that would be in Central Texas.  Timezones are hard, especially when you’re 12 hours ahead.

Love you all!!! ❤

This diary entry is part 22 of 28 in Lily's diary dated 25 - July 2023

Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!

And it’s HOT in Tokyo!!!

It’s almost as hot as Texas!!!


But we’ll still have fun.

So we’re still having a hard time with sleep, you know, jet lag and everything, but time and tide and food waits for no man, or woman, right???  Robert went off to meet clients (that’s why we got such a good deal on stuff, so yay Robert) and the rest of us went to get some breakfast.  Japanese people don’t do breakfast like we do, it’s all rice and fish and savory sauces and still really delicious.

We asked Ai if she wanted all of us to go down there or to come meet all of us… and when we told her there were 18 of us, she said “Umm… we’ll come to you.  Our house will explode.”  Haha!!!  We’ll go down there a little later when we split up but we all wanted to meet Ai, so she and her family came to the hotel and we all met Ai.  I gave her a hug, and all the others felt like they knew her because of the group chat.  After we all exchanged pleasantries (Sabby said a passable “hajimemashite”), All of us then hopped on the ginza line and went to Ueno Park (Uenokoen).  There’s so much to see and do there!!!  We went to see the zoo first, then we had lunch, then we went to see the nature and science museum.  There’s so much to see there we might have to go back!!!  And we didn’t even see all there is to see in Ueno!!!

There was something for everyone.  Kari and Beth loved the science museum, and everyone else liked the animals.  I’d never seen a Panda before!!!  They’re… a bit lazy, if I’m being honest.  But very cute!!!  Basically we went to the zoo, got lunch, went to the museum, and went back to the hotel after the museum closed.  Everyone was pretty exhausted, Ai and family hopped back on a train to Saitama (with the promise to spend more time with her) and the rest of us got dinner.  We pigged out on sushi!!!

So much walking!  We were all so tired!!!

We are all so tired!!!

I had a chance to talk to Sabby and Dave before we went back to our rooms, and she said she saw how well I spoke Japanese and was really proud of me.  She really likes Japan and thinks maybe someday she wants to open a store here.

I told her… baby steps.  Haha!!

Speaking of the store, we checked back.  Everything’s going fine.  Katie’s a little worried she’s going to go into labor soon, though, so Baker is taking up most of the management.  She’s not the happiest about that because she just likes baking, but she’s doing alright.  But they’re selling and baking and doing all the stuff they’re supposed to.

So now the ten of us are in our rooms getting ready for bed.  Everyone is having a pretty good time.  Britni just seems to be staring quietly at everything, except she loved the animals.  Kari and Beth like museums, so it was good to go to one of those.  Chelsi really wants to go to the ocean at some point, but there’s plenty of time for everyone to see their sights.  Maybe we’ll go to enoshima, that was really fun last time.  Yu wants to visit a shrine, but there’s one in Ueno, and we’re probably going back before we leave to see more museums.  Diana, Crystal, and Rebecca really don’t care what we see, as long as we see stuff.  And Liz…  I think she just likes having friends.

It’s not clear what we’re going to do tomorrow, with this many of us logistics are challenging, but I’m sure we’ll figure something out!

Time for bed!  But we’re going to spend a bit of time in the onsen/hot tub first!!!

Love you all!!!  ❤ 

This diary entry is part 21 of 28 in Lily's diary dated 25 - July 2023

Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!

We’re in JAPAN!!!!

So the pilots actually landed at Tokyo Haneda airport – they can do that because it’s a charter flight!  We took the train to Asakusa station, and then had a bit of a walk to the hotel.  But it wasn’t too bad.  We’re right in the middle of Tokyo!!!

We got here and were hungry, so of course the first thing we did was check in, and get some food!!!

And then we had pretty much a full day, so we’re all completely exhausted because of the jet lag.  We napped, used the pool for a while, and then went off to get some food, again.  And now we’re getting ready to go to sleep.

Emiko, Aika, Mika, and I are the only ones who can actually speak Japanese, so…  all the other girls were actually kind of amazed.  I knew exactly where I was going and how to get there, and everyone else was just lost.  I could tell you how everyone reacted but there are 18 of us, so I think it’s enough to just say they’re all a bit overwhelmed.  Tokyo is so big.  But they like the trains and how clean it is, and everyone’s a fan of actual Japanese food.  Even Diana!  Tomorrow we’ll start doing fun stuff, but right now we’re all just so tired.  We have two beds and a cot, but we’re so used to girl-piling we’re just sharing the beds.  They’re very comfy.  I don’t know what Rebecca and her friends are doing but they’ll be okay.

Our room does have a view of Tokyo though!  It’s really pretty!!!

It’s time for bed now.

Love you all!!! ❤

This diary entry is part 20 of 28 in Lily's diary dated 25 - July 2023

Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!

And we’re over the Pacific Ocean!!!

The plane has Starlink!!!

Yay Elon!!!!

So we got up really early this morning and drove down to the airport, all…  eight of us.  We got through security and flew to LAX.  We were really tired but it was a pretty ordinary flight.  We landed and caught up with Emiko and family (I haven’t seen them for a while!) Then we found Robert…  and went through a door and right to the charter plane!!! No lines!!!

It’s amazing!!!  It’s got plush seats and wooden trim and nice bathrooms and even a selection of snacks we can put in the microwave!!!  There’s no dinner service of course but this is almost as good!!!  David loves all the snacks!!!  It’s not a huge plane, just a standard corporate jet, but still very nice compared to the cattle haulers we were in going to LAX.

The pilots are really nice, they even let David in the cockpit to see what they’re doing!!!  But he was told if he touches anything, he’s in big, big trouble.  He didn’t touch anything.  Even he knows when it’s a good idea to listen to adults.  Because it’s such a long flight, the pilots are taking turns flying, and one came out and chatted with us for a while before taking a nap.  He’s really nice and explained a lot about how planes work!  It’s fascinating!!!

I asked him why pilots say “uh” all the time when doing the in cabin announcements.  He laughed and said that there’s usually a lot of stuff going on in the cockpit when it’s time to land and their attention is on many things other than just talking to the passengers.  You know, putting down the landing gear, making sure we are aimed at the runway, that kind of thing.  I’m glad they are!!!

We’re arriving in Tokyo in a few hours.  We’re staying in Asakusa!!!  We’ll have four hotel rooms, one for me, Liz, Beth, Crystal and Diana…  one for Rebecca and her friends… one for Dave, Sabby, and David, and one for Robert and his wife.  It works out pretty well.  And us girls have adjoining rooms too, so we can have a big girl-party if we want!!!

David seems relieved he’s with Dave and Sabby, honestly.

There’s this hostel place we were looking at that has eight bunk beds, but there are ten girls, and we didn’t want anyone feeling left out, so we asked if we could do it this way, and Robert said yes.  He’s getting a corporate discount, he’s going to take a few days too, and… Asakusa has an amusement park!  Right in the middle of Tokyo!!!

Oh… ummm…  Crystal’s crying.  I should go see what’s going on.  Diana and Beth are comforting her, but I should check anyway.

Love you all!!!  And I’ll write again when we’re settled in!!!  ❤

(Crystal’s alright. I’ll tell you later.  She’s just overwhelmed that something good is happening to her for a change.)

This diary entry is part 19 of 28 in Lily's diary dated 25 - July 2023

Hi! It’s me! Lily!

Yesterday was my two year anniversary of this diary!!!

Can you believe it???

Two years!!!

I don’t remember exactly when I was found, but I’m pretty sure it’s about three years since then!!!


Happy anniversary to me!!!

I was going to do something for it last year but I never thought of anything good!! AWWW!!! But this year… I’m going to Japan!!! And I’ll have lots of stories and adventures to tell about!  So it’ll be okay!!!  And since the family’s coming along, I’ll be able to celebrate Lily day there too!!! At least the chocolate will get shoved in!!! Hahaha!!! What a silly ceremony!!!

We leave for Japan tomorrow!!!  So… I’ll probably either write from LAX…  or the plane if it has wifi… or… well… I’ll write from something!!!

But today we went over to help Allison and her family move.  They have a very nice house and they needed to get some stuff moved, so we took our car and loaded it up with boxes a few times!!!  Allison showed me her moon night light, I guess it’s her favorite thing.  It’s pretty!  Maybe I’ll get one too!!!

I didn’t know she had one of those beds with a space underneath for studying!  It’s nice!!!  I wish I had one!!! But… I have some pretty nice things already, and my 18th day is in about a month, so…  it doesn’t make all that much sense to invest in a lot of new furniture.  But it’s okay!  I like my bed!  It’s soft and warm and smells like me!!!

And I smell pretty good, if I say so myself!!! Except after I run.  Then I smell pretty bad.  Aww.  Nothing a shower doesn’t fix though!!!

And I’m still not telling you silly-billies what I smell like!!!

So next time I write I’ll either be in Japan or heading there!! I can’t wait!!! And the group chat is really hopping too, everyone is planning and talking about what they want to do…  Chelsi wants to find a place to surf.  You know, I don’t even know if there’s a place to surf in Japan… though it’s at the ocean, so why not?  Yu wants to visit some shrines and learn about the culture.  I’m not sure she’s Japanese but hey, no reason why not!  Kari wants to see Tokyo Tower and the Sky Tree, and Umeda Sky Tower, she likes buildings and architecture.  I think she wants to see Seto Ohashi too, but truthfully I’m not sure if we can see EVERYTHING.  Maybe she’ll be happy with the rainbow bridge and the Statue of Liberty replica in Odaiba. Britni…  I’m not sure she’s quite figured out where Japan is, but she asked if there’s a Disneyland there.  There is, so… she wants to go there.  Not a bad idea, actually, though probably expensive.

I’m not sure what Crystal and Diana want to see…  I think Crystal’s just happy to get away for a while, and Diana’s promised to make some tacos for Ai and family.  That’ll be fun!!!  I wonder if they’ve ever had real life Mexican tacos!!!

Of course David wants to see Shinjuku, Harajuku, and Akihabara… of course he does.  There’s also some really nice parks in Tokyo we can see, including Ueno Doubutsuen (the zoo).  But I guess the real challenge right now is just getting there, and the rest will take care of itself.

Okay, I need to get some sleep, I’m tired from helping Allison move and tomorrow’s going to be a lot of driving and flying!!!

Love you all!!! ❤