The Family Arrives

It was cloudy as I left the house this day, but at least the rains had stopped for the time being. When Kiyoe saw my gel, she thought that the band that had appeared looked like the right protein. While there was no more of it than during my second attempt with the slow-growing cells, Kiyoe also thought that, if we combined the two attempts, we might have enough to do our experiments. It was clear that purifying this protein was not easy and this might be the best we could do. As I looked over my fractions from my previous two H4 purification attempts, I realized that I had often skipped fractions in order to conserve space on my gels- I now needed to fill in those gaps to know which fractions to pool together. I also started concentrating the H2A-H2B complex formation that had dialyzed over the weekend. I did not expect to be able to apply it to the size-exclusion column that day and knew that I could store it more easily in its concentrated form.

I ran a gel with the missing H4 fractions and had lunch as it was being washed. I had a nice box of sushi, not the inari sushi, which I also liked, but real nigiri sushi- with pieces of fish, squid, and eel on little ovals of rice. I bought 10 pieces for only 366 yen, which was even cheaper than the kaiten sushi places charged. I had waited until 12:30 to go to the co-op instead of going about an hour earlier to choose out a hot dish, I wondered if they discounted fresh lunches when they though no one else was going to buy some. It didn’t matter- it was good, probably my best lunch so far!

After I had my gel in stain and my concentrated complex in the coldroom, Kiyoe took me to Saty, the department store at the Kita-Senri station. During my cleaning spree, I had realized that we only owned two pillows, and that we would need four by evening. After I had picked out the pillows, Kiyoe dropped me off at home, it was about 2 pm. I had planned to take the train to the airport from Suita, but now that plans had changed and I was in Toyonaka, I decided to take the bus.

At 3:45, I walked to the Ishibashi station and took the train for one stop, to Hotaragaike. This name means “firefly pond” in Japanese, and I had been unable to pronounce it during my first month in Japan. I had gone past this stop many times but never gotten off there. This day was different, however, since there was a bus that went to Kansai International Airport from the station. I bought a ticket from a vending machine and waited for the bus that would take me on the 90-minute ride to the airport. Kansai Airport, called Kanku by the locals, was built in the 1990s to take the pressure off of Itami Airport, which was very close to our new home. The time soon came when the former handled all international flights, while the latter handled only domestic ones. Yoshinaka-san, my “Kanji Table” instructor, had worked for many years at Itami Airport before being transferred Kanku. The only problem with the new airport was that it had been built on a man-made island in Osaka Bay, and was not particularly close to the city.

I arrived at the airport at 6pm, I had checked the internet and knew that the family’s flight had been delayed, but I wanted to be there in case they were able to make up the time over the Pacific. I ate a tandoori chicken wrap from Subway while I waited, along with a chocolate Belgian waffle from a nearby bakery for dessert. Their flight landed at 7pm, and it took about 40 minutes for them to go through all of the landing procedures. Finally, after 6 weeks alone in Japan, I was reunited with my family!

We bought some drinks from a vending machine and Justin took pictures as we waited 40 minutes for the next bus to leave. All three of them alternated between looking at the scenery on the way back and dozing off. We arrived back at Hotaragaike Station at 9:30, fifteen minutes ahead of schedule and then waited there for Tadashi to pick up our luggage. His car was definitely not big enough to take all four of us home plus our luggage, but we sent Justin to our house with him to help unload and Trudy, Brennan and I took the monorail home from there.

Since everyone was hungry, I made a pizza after we reached the house, and we started putting things away as best we could. Brennan was having a hard time, and was not thrilled that he would be sleeping in his room on the floor. We put some extra blankets down to make it as soft as possible and promised him that we would get him a bed as soon as possible.

About 11:30, as we were about to go to bed- I slid the sliding glass door closed that was on the front of the house. It apparently wasn’t on its track well, because the very large glass door fell outward onto the cement and shattered with a large crash. Mrs. Tsumonori, the neighbor across the street, was out watering her plants; she came to our gate and asked if we were all ok. I assured her that we were and that we could take care of it. I hoped that the crash had not awakened all of the other neighbors! As Justin and I cleaned up the glass, Mrs. Tsumonori kept coming over and bringing us things that would help: a broom, a dustpan, a box for the glass, gloves, tape for the door, etc. Eventually, we got it cleaned up and rigged the screen door so there wasn’t a huge gap to the outside. We all went to bed around midnight, the family having already experienced an exciting first night in Japan!

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