February 15th to the 28th I will be in Otawara, Tochigi. My wife and two little boys have been there for a while visiting Ojichan (Jiji) and Obachan (Baba). Now I will come out for a couple of weeks before we all return back to Los Angeles. I can't wait to see everybody.
Otawara is a small city in Northern Tochigi. There is not much to say about it but I really like it there. I love the small city atmosphere and the rice fields and the simplicity of Otawara. Here is the Wikipedia article about Otawara, which I wrote the majority of.
I will also be visiting Nikko where the rest of my wife's family lives. Nikko is my favorite place in Japan and it is about 30 or 40 minutes West of Otawara by car. I have been there so many time I know the route from Otawara to Nikko by memory. It is not like jumping on the highway or freeway in the US. There are many different small Japanese streets and roads on the way to Nikko. But I am pretty certain I could make it from Otawara to Nikko without help if I had to.
There are no specific plans for after I arrive. But one thing I will do when I get a chance that I always do everytime I visit Japan is I will go for long walks around town and exploring the neighborhoods. By now Otawara is so familiar to me that I can walk pretty much anywhere and I know exactly where I am.
I remember the first time I came to Japan, I went for a walk by myself but I was so worried that I would get lost so I just went to the main road near my in-laws house and walked one direction and then back the other direction.
There is one new thing that I will be doing for the first time while in Japan. Driving. I am going to get an international drivers permit so my wife and I and the boys can go places on our own. She can't drive in Japan because she did not get an international license so I will be doing the driving. I am a little nervous about the driving on the left side of the road though. If any of you are in the Tochigi area, better watch out on the roads for some foreigner driving on the wrong side. It might be me.
Maybe I will drive to Nikko.