Am on holiday this week, and most of next for that matter, so have a little time to post (I said it was only adieu, not goodbye).
So. this week I have mostly been going to the park. Most parks in Japan are a bit rubbish, like the one near our flat. That one is a smallish expanse of white gravel, with about four trees, some playground equipment (which is ok), a toilet (into which I once threw up whilst 'looking after' the young 'un) and a water fountain. This is fine in the autumn and spring but in summer, with 35 degree days, it is like a furnace as you get heat from the sun, reflected heat from the ground and nowhere to hide. The metal playground equipment often reaches temperatures of 850,000 degrees during August, causing small children to combust on the spot.
But the park near the station is different. First of all it's bigger, which is useful, and this space has been put to good use. Firstly a shitload of trees were planted a long time ago. I have posted before about the trees in spring when the cherry blossoms are out, and jolly nice and plentifulthey are too, but they also have maples (to look nice in the autumn) and lots of what I think of as 'western trees', such as beeches, chestnuts and sycamores, giving the place a bit of height as well.
But more importantly than that the good burghers of Kawaguchi also decided to build a small, paddling river that runs from the top of the park to the bottom, with several sections, with little rapids and places that kids, and their hot parents, can easily get into the water. I cannot begin to describe the pleasure of standing in cool, calf-deep water, under a tree, on a blisteringly hot day whilst the little fella mucks about and generally enjoys himself.