I hung out with tiny friends today. One of the kids came over to see if I could play. (They always want to color inside my house, but since this event we don't play inside anymore. They try to persuade me every time by saying "You can work upstairs and we'll color downstairs" but it doesn't work.)
I asked him to show me where the cherry blossoms are, so we went walking all around the neighborhood. He was like a tiny tour guide, pointing all over and explaining each area in detail. He even told me to get my camera before we left my house.
At one point he wanted to show me a new vending machine (atarashii!), so we went around the corner behind my house to a little shop with a row of machines. He explained which one was new, and showed me his favorite drink (grape Fanta). An older guy was standing there beside a bicycle drinking coffee, looking so relaxed and happy. He asked the little boy if I lived in a certain house, and then he told me "Just a minute, please" and made the universal facial expressions for trying to remember something. He knew enough English that we could have a brief conversation, and he was so nice to me. He told me that he was having coffee for lunch, and he explained that some distant hollering and music that I heard was a spring festival. I asked him when the sakura blossoms would be out, (ok, fine, I asked him what time they would be out because I forgot how to say what day) and he told me to wait just two or three more days. He was so kind, and pretty soon said good bye and leisurely rode off on his bicycle like he didn't have a care in the world.
So the kids and I went back to my porch and goofed around. The kids play so differently - the boys don't ever pass up a chance to touch something gross, stomp in mud or yell at the top of their lungs. The little girl just clung to my side and stared up at me. Actually, they're all shy at first, but it doesn't take long for them to get comfortable and start playing and climbing all over me. I really don't mind it because kids should just be kids, and I don't mind if they slime me in the process. But I do have a limit. After about an hour and a half I said, "Ok, bye" (not very subtle, but I don't know how to do the small talk of "Well, I better get going, thanks for playing" etc.) and they all looked at me with big sad eyes. They asked again if they could come inside, ("You work upstairs and we'll color downstairs!"), but I said "I'm sorry." So they hopped on their bikes and rode away yelling, "See you tomorrow!"