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  • You might not know it, but there's a strong connection between the other side of the world and Life in Japan,

  • for even though we're Americans, before there was Life in Japan, there was our life in Brazil.

  • This summer we're retracing our steps, going back to where our family began, and making powerful new memories along the way.

  • Get ready for a feature-length, real-life adventure like no other, deep in the heart of Brazil.

  • Get ready for our Amazon Adventure.

  • This is what we call adventure.

  • Let go! Let go! Now!

  • [Life in Japan Theme Song]

  • Mid July 2022...

  • Well girls this is it. Today we're going to go to Brazil.

  • Yes! But I have school.

  • But you have school. Get back from school and go to the airport.

  • Yea yea yea! Are you excited Dude?

  • You've got school tooyour last day of school!

  • Bye!

  • On our way to school, getting a little swinging in.

  • We're going to Brazil! That's right.

  • Your last day of school today before summer break

  • And a big, big trip on an airplane for a long time

  • but it will be fun.

  • I'll tell you what, this time we're packing lighter than ever

  • each one of us one bag a piece.

  • Of course that's all we get to go there

  • but it really helps when you're packing to be able to pack light.

  • What do we have here?

  • Why are we carrying plants home?

  • This... is a flower.

  • I don't know which one it is but it's a Marigold.

  • Or it might be "hosenka" (Garden Balsam)

  • This is "asagao" (morning glory)

  • Oh yea

  • Getting our shoes on, this is it!

  • Say "Bye bye house"

  • Bye bye! See you again in a couple of weeks

  • See you again in a couple of weeks.

  • We're on our way and what's our new family tradition?

  • Kurazushi!

  • Kurazushi! Here we come!

  • So many families these days are not limited to just one culture, but are a part of several cultures at once,

  • and that's certainly true for us.

  • America and Japan makes up a big part of who we are,

  • but we're taking the kids on a trip to discover for themselves a third culture that has greatly influenced who we are today.

  • It's where Ruth and I lived for seven years before moving to Japan and where all the girls were born: Brazil.

  • Here we go!

  • There's our airplane, waiting for us.

  • Oh, you ready?! Yes!

  • Yes! Fun fun fun!

  • Hey, who's over there?

  • You girls ready for takeoff on our big trip? Yes.

  • Becca, all ready? All ready?

  • Sarah Bear, going night night? Night night?

  • Flying over Tokyo at night was a sight to behold,

  • and we even saw something near and dear to our hearts.

  • That's our Tama River down there.

  • Bye Tama River.

  • Now we would sleep the rest of the night and hopefully wake up only close to our next stop.

  • 8 hours later

  • How is the flight so far?

  • Fun. Fun?

  • I slept about halfway I think. You slept? I know!

  • That never happens. That was great.

  • I slept a long ways too. With your hoodie on.

  • I was very comfortable.

  • Guess where we passed? We passed India.

  • Descending to Doha

  • We have come across India and China and a bunch of places I have never been.

  • It's fun to fly over.

  • We're getting ready to land in Doha.

  • What's up guys?

  • Here comes the landing.

  • So we arrived at Qatar at Doha airport, and the airport is amazing

  • It's just huge and there's tons of things

  • And there's playground for the kids

  • I mean it's just very amazing and impressive

  • It's a giant bear with a light stuck in its head.

  • What's his pose?

  • But it is so expensive!

  • We bought Joshua just this tiny little bottle, I mean I don't think it's even 500 ml.

  • But it was almost $5.

  • So then Nate found some water at the Duty Free Shop

  • But he had to show boarding pass and all kinds of stuff because it was duty free

  • But it was half the price, so we were thankful that we found some.

  • Sarah, what did we find here?

  • A Doha vending machine

  • Doha's vending machines.

  • Like all for COVID

  • All for COVID stuff.

  • I just saw some desert!

  • You saw some desert?

  • Yeah! Look I saw it!

  • You saw the desert? Yeah!

  • Wow, look it really is just desert.

  • Anna! You got the window seat this time. Is that cool?

  • We'll see the desert real well.

  • Yeah, this is the first time ever in my whole entire life that I saw a desert with my own eyes.

  • Wow, cool huh?

  • A whole lot of desert down there and it looks hot. Hot hot hot.

  • Africa.

  • 12 hours later

  • There's the ground, we're going down. Yea!

  • The forever long airtrip is almost done!

  • What?

  • There's São Paulo.

  • Going to land, here we go.

  • We landed!

  • Say "bye bye plane."

  • And we are finally in our hotel room!

  • Joshua's been out like a light.

  • Anna's ready for bed.

  • It was not easy

  • No, not easy.

  • But we made it.

  • We're going to sleep, then we wake up at 3:30 to catch our next 2 flights which will get us to Santarém tomorrow.

  • Look how close the street is.

  • There's a gas station. We could literally fill up.

  • Today I have the lovely ladies next to me.

  • Such a red sunrise!

  • Look at my little guy on the other side.

  • Somebody else loves looking out the windows.

  • Brasilia

  • OK guys, just one more plane!

  • One more plane!

  • This is the last flight!

  • This is the last flight!

  • So the next stop is?

  • Is grandma and grandpa's house.

  • Ruth's parents, who we call Vovó and Vovô, the Portuguese words for Grandma and Grandpa,

  • live in the heart of the Amazon Basin in one of the oldest Brazilian cities.

  • Not only did we live there for seven years, it's also where Ruth grew up,

  • so for her, going back to Santarém is going back home.

  • But getting there from Japan is no small feat, and requires several plane rides and over 2 days of travel.

  • It's the kind of trip you can't do very often,

  • and for us it's been over 6 years since we've even been back to Brazil.

  • This will be a trip that the kids never forget.

  • How about that?!

  • Santarém!

  • Yea, we're here, we're here, we're here!

  • Are you excited Dude?

  • I can't stop smiling!

  • You can't stop smiling? That's good!

  • Did we all squeeze in?

  • We all squeezed in!

  • Santarém is the city where the beautiful blue Tapajós River meets the immense Amazon River and causes a Meeting of the Waters that the region is famous for.

  • With around 300,000 people, it is the largest city for hundreds of kilometers in any direction

  • and is the center for health, education and business in the area.

  • Agricultural and natural resources are the regions huge exports

  • and has caused the area to prosper more and more as large ships come up the Amazon River to take the goods to far off lands.

  • All of our girls were born here, so they are dual citizens: Brazilian and American.

  • This trip will be a time for them to rediscover a big part of what makes us who we are.

  • Guess what? Grandma and Grandpa used to live on this road.

  • Yea! This one right here, right?

  • Yea. Whoa!

  • Oh they divided it! How about that?

  • We even got to drive by our old house

  • Aww- the framing is just right, Vovô.

  • But the new compound. Yea!

  • Finally at Vovó and Vovô's. Aww!

  • Brazil is exactly on the opposite side of the world from Japan, 12 hours difference,

  • so the family was to bed early and up early as well.

  • The excitement of all we would do was palpable.

  • Sarah's having some breakfast nice and early.

  • It's early.

  • Some kids excited to go out to the pool.

  • Look at Anna!

  • Oh my Anna.

  • We getting ready?

  • Ready to go to Alter do Chão.

  • Alter do Chão is a nearby community famous for its beauty,

  • and it's where Ruth's parents have a small property with a pool.

  • We used to come out here whenever we had time off and wanted to relax,

  • and so we're kicking off our time in Brazil here.

  • Rebecca and Anna learned to swim here

  • and this summer, Joshua wants to learn how to swim,

  • so Vovó has promised to help him out.