Day In The Life in Atera Valley
Recently I spent a day with Kate Macnaughton's family. They just moved from Nagoya back to their home in Canada, and they felt it was important to document a day in Japan before they left. I'm so glad they asked me because it was an unforgettable experience for me!
We started the morning at their home, packing up for a trip to Atera Valley. Packing up with kids can be total madness but they kept their cool impressively well. Actually, they kept their cool pretty much the whole day. Kate and Mark are such calm and easy-going people and I think their kids follow their example.
We walked to the Macnaughtons' favorite bakery, the Baguette Rabbit. Holy moly! I was blown away at all the delicious smells and beautiful pastries.
We drove for 2 hours to Atera Valley. The kids read The Adventures of TinTin and stared out the window contentedly. Remi got bored and made some crazy faces in the back seat...
We arrived in Atera Valley and everyone changed into swimsuits and water sandals.
We hiked along this beautiful path through the forest, enjoying the perfect weather and the quiet of the woods. Kate patiently encouraged speedy Remi to slow down and let Xander catch up or take the lead.
Remi and Xander are great hikers, though they weren't terribly excited about the hike.
We got to the river and picked a nice little rocky beach. Mark jumped in right away, into the icy cold water. Kate and Remi built a little pool in the water while Xander sat and stared for a while.
We ate our lunch of Baguette Rabbit pastries and Remi basked in the sun on a big warm rock.
When the sun disappeared behind the mountain behind us, we hiked back out and drove down the hill looking for another spot with plenty of sun. It was such a gorgeous drive.
We found a spot at the base of the canyon and headed to the river.
The boys climbed these massive boulders for a while, trying to work up the courage to jump into the cold water.
I was surprised when Xander jumped! I thought surely that water was too cold and intimidating. He's a brave kid...
Every little boy needs a congratulatory kiss from his mother after a brave jump like that!
Kate watched the kids instead of jumping in with them. Looking around at the beauty around her, she asked me, "How am I going to leave this, Elisse?!" It made me somewhat emotional, to think of the beauty that is Japan and all that we have left to explore and that soon enough, we'll be thinking the same thing. How can I leave this place? How can I say goodbye to Japan?
It was so clear to me from this Day In The Life session with her family that Kate loves Japan so fiercely and that they made the most of their time here.
I hope we will be able to say the same at the end of our stay here in Japan. That we soaked up every little bit of this experience that we could.
Japan will miss this family. All of Kate and Mark and Remi and Xander's friends will feel the void left by them, and we'll be grateful for the power of social media to stay connected with their lives.
Thank you, Kate, for showing me Atera Valley, and for showing me just how much you love Japan. Best wishes on your next adventure.