It was Sunday, but we woke up early and gathered at Hachiman Shrine at 8:30 AM for the taiko drum performance. Despite being late September, it was unusually scorching, with the sun beating down relentlessly. Even standing in the shade made us sweat profusely; that’s how hot it was.
The children, dressed in their not-so-breathable Happi (traditional summer festival wear), must have found it even hotter. I doubt the kindergarten anticipated such sweltering conditions.
First, we took a group photo. As I mentioned in my Day 2 blog, Mikey, being a professional taiko player, was eagerly looking forward to the children’s taiko performance!
After the photos, we had about 20 minutes before the performance started, so we helped the kids cool down by removing their happi and trying to make them as comfortable as possible. Mikey was such a sweetheart; he kept fanning everyone to keep them cool.
Then, it was time for the Soran Bushi dance performance. Mikey adjusted the headbands (called “hachimaki”) for Fionn to make it looks cooler with a slight angle. They all danced with all their might, and it was incredibly adorable.
Next was the taiko drum performance, and luckily, we were right in front, so we got some great shots. I’m sure they practiced tirelessly for this moment. They all played exceptionally well, and the determination of these young kids was touching, especially considering them were in their final year of kindergarten.
Following the performance, there was a Yosakoi dance performance at the same venue, but the unbearable heat and the fact that most of us hadn’t had breakfast made us decide to leave quickly.
We headed to the newly opened McDonald’s for breakfast.
After that, we returned home to take a short break and then drove to the airport. The farewell moment came all too soon.
Fionn had been saying he’d be sad about Mikey leaving since the day he arrived, but we managed to keep him distracted with various activities until the last moment. However, when the time finally came to say goodbye, he burst into tears, and I couldn’t help but cry along with him.
Once Mikey disappeared from view at the baggage area, Fionn kept crying nonstop. It was heart-wrenching. We went to the departure deck, and he was still in tears. The farewells are always tough because even though Mikey isn’t a family member, he feels like one.
Mikey told Fionn, “Come to Hawaii again! Then we can see each other soon!” And Fionn was really serious, repeatedly saying, “Mommy, buy tickets to Hawaii soon!” He’s already planning the next visit.
During our conversations with Mikey, we talked about how, as we get older, the world seems so much smaller. Not just Perth and Hawaii, but the ability to visit friends in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and even having family in Ireland makes the world feel more accessible. Considering the unpredictability of events like COVID-19, I found myself wanting to spend more money and time on travel.
So, I hope the yen strengthens, and ticket prices return to more reasonable levels. Then, I’ll definitely go visit Mikey in Hawaii soon! Thank you so much for coming all this way this time—See you soon!!