The warm summer days in Fukuoka do not suit the active life of a two-year-old who wants to be out playing all day. It is a long wait for him between the morning outing (sometimes we go to the community center in the mornings, sometimes to the local shopping mall, if the sun is behind the clouds we take the bike to the sea) and the evening exercise; whenever possible we stay away from the midday sun.
Lately our little family always go out in the early evening and enjoy the cooler beautifully tasting air that coincides with the setting sun. When we started our evening routine, I imagined my wife and I walking the country side roads, our son jumping around and when getting tired enjoying a ride home on his little three wheeled scooter. How wrong was I; the first few times we brought the scooter and he not once wanted to use it. Instead another pattern soon emerged, to my great surprise. If someone had told me that a two-year-old would be running more or less nonstop for more than two kilometers I would not really believe it, but that is what our routine has become – a daily evening run.
We start down the slope from our house – our son tells his mom and dad bye bye so that we give him free space to run at top speed down the hill; we try to give him as much space as we can while also keeping his speed in check – full speed ahead and I do not really want to think about what would happen if he falls or cannot stop when the road turns sharply. We run past the little playground and our son takes us up a narrow lane where there usually are a few trucks parked in the evening. A brief stop to look at the trucks before heading down towards the bypass and all the cars and buses and the occasional emergency vehicle that gets our son very excited.
We always try to avoid going to the convenience store, konbini in Japanese, much to our son’s disappointment who wants to have juice instead of the water we bring, but just past the konbini there is an elevated pedestrian crossing that our son finds lots of joy in climbing and descending. Then we head south and make our way home through little countryside lanes with old houses and rice fields and beautiful nature. Sometimes we end the day with a little play in the playground, sometimes he enjoys a sip of water on a pile of stones that he calls his staircase.
It truly has become a beautiful summer routine that I regret will soon vanish as the days are getting shorter and the sunset will coincide with the end of my wife’s workday. Maybe it will be just our son and me that continue this tradition in the autumn, or who knows – maybe something even more fun will turn up. Being together with our son, it has a habit to.
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