I learned from the English speaking doorman that a new family with three children was moving into the vacant apartment on our floor. I had high hopes that it would be another expat family with three children, the same ages and genders of our kids and that they would attend the same school, although it would be okay if they went someplace else. I can hope right? I then learned that they were Japanese - sigh. But, their nameplate was in English unlike all the other Japanese families whose nameplates were in character form. Maybe they were Japanese American. The movers came, no sign of the people. Then we saw a kid's bike, looked like Nicholas's size - red, a boy maybe? Okay, now I would just be happy if a boy Nick's age moved in. We wait.
Today the doorbell rang. The family came by to say hello. They came bearing gifts- a nice assortment of cookies from the bakery down the street. You see in Japan, when a new family moves into the building they bring you something. Now that's one tradition that just doesn't make sense. Why should they have to go to the trouble? I did explain to them that we do just the opposite in America (or well, some people do). Then I felt badly because I hadn't brought them anything. But in all honesty, I wasn't even sure they were living there yet, all we had seen were their things. No noise, nothing.
They were very sweet and obviously spoke English. Hooray! By their side were two little ones, a 6 year-0ld girl, and a boy about 18 months. They also had a 2 month-old boy. Oh well. Yes, I am a little disappointed. The genders were the right order, unfortunately, they were just 4 years behind us. They came from a nearby Tokyo neighborhood and moved to be closer to the girl's school. Before that they lived in Hong Kong and Singapore, so they are familiar with the expat life. I imagine I will see the mom around a bit, and maybe even become friends, who knows. At least I'll have someone I can ask to explain my rice cooker to me. I did buy one, and this time it is actually a rice cooker.