maybe you didn't know this about sebastian but he has known a kindred spirit for a long time. he met the lovely shara-chan soon after moving to japan the first time and they remained in contact during the intervening years. having the two of them together again was a huge motivating factor to this trip. after the initial five minutes of shyness, they were back where they left off. it is amazing to watch them, both tall and gangly, speeding along like young antelopes. and yes, they held each others' hand the entire time.
for their first day together, her parents' invited us to go see the dinosaur exhibit in the neighboring city of osaka. there were fossils, and many robotic dinosaurs (that were very frightening according to one boy i know), and a long train ride home, back to nara and more green tea kakigori.
and then, after we were refreshed and the two littles of the group (shara-chan has a little sister about a year older than nico) woke up from their naps, we headed to nara koen, for space and lush green carpets of grass bordered by pines. and, of course, the deer (shika-san in japanese). the deer of nara are wild but tolerant of tourists, especially tourists bearing gifts of deer crackers.
at the end of our first day together, after a nice israeli dinner, we said good-night, knowing that tomorrow we would be reunited.