In case you were wondering what's up with the lack of blog updates, well Abigail's college friends Geoff and Kristin Grosenbach are visiting us from where they currently live in Taiwan. Here they are on the bridge in front of Okazaki Castle on Sunday, looking in vain for the cherry blossoms. Not only are they famous for being from Taiwan, but they are also the lucky winners of a free trip to stay with us.
It is interesting sharing with people who have been through very similar experiences to us, despite those experiences being in different countries. We are having a break from late-night chats now as Geoff and Kristin have gone off to Kyoto for a couple of days, but we are looking forward to spending more time with them before they head back to Taiwan on Sunday.
This morning I put the laundry out in the dry sunshine, kissed Stephen goodbye in the snow on the front balcony 20 minutes later, and am admiring the white puffy clouds and blue sky again.
Had fun making chocolate chip oatmeal cookies with Miki and Ikumi, two of my former students. They are going to high school in April, but said they will come back and visit again. They both love English and they are two reasons I will miss my job.
I took this picture of the Pacific when we went to Atsumi Peninsula yesterday. It was a national holiday, and it didn't seem too cold, so we wrapped up and headed for the coast. When we got there, we were surprised to find that it was really not that windy at all and, in fact, in many ways the bay was a bit of a sun trap.
There are two adjoining beaches there: The one that runs for several kilometers to the left of this picture is rather gravelly (as you can see) and then there is another beach, again several kilometers long, to the right of where this shot was taken.
It was so nice being able to soak up some sun and listen to the waves. In fact, it made me rather sleepy and I ended up napping in the car whilst Abigail (being a very industrious person) wrote letters.
Wow, it seems like it has been a total blur since Abigail went away. I picked her up again last night at the new international airport (it is getting to be "old" for me pretty fast) and it seemed like so much time had past, and yet I had only just taken her there just a moment before to leave the country.
Well, in the meantime, I had worked my way through four 24 DVDs, done enough shopping for 2 people for 10 days and eaten hardly any of it and been to Tokyo to visit Andy Game. I can now say that I have seen Tokyo, as our main target on Saturday was the Roppongi Towers. Within walking distance of Andy's pad, it is over 50 stories high and gives excellent views over the city. For someone who has only seen Tokyo from below (the subway) before, it was certainly a much better place from where to observe what was going on and how it fitted together. The only sight that did not oblige was a reluctant Mt. Fuji sulking in a bank of clouds. (The best place to see Fuji from is definitely the plane: Get a right side window seat on the way to the States and have your camera ready.)
I was actually very impressed that we could see into Yokohama and other relatively far locations without a layer of haze getting in the way. I'm sure that will change when things warm up. Maybe it was the brisk, snowy weather that kept the air clear. Yes, you read that right - snow. Not enough to build a snowman out of (as Andy's mini-friends did last week) but enough to make you pull your coat around you and wonder what had happened to the promise of spring.
Abigail felt the cold immediately after getting off the plane. 80 degrees in Florida makes for a big shock if you are heading over here at this time of year, but it is definitely warmer than when she left. Just a few more weeks and the cherry blossoms will be here. Now that is something to get excited about.
Ah, how romantic! Stephen and Abigail get to relive their courtship again for ten days: In different continents and timezones, our only connection being email and phone.
Well, as you can guess, I do not miss those days at all. I love being married and being able to see my Abigial every day. I don't know how we put up with that torture at the time. I can only imagine that it was because we had no other option. Roll on next Tuesday evening!
In the meantime, I am off to Toyko tonight for a weekend with my friend from YWAM years, Andy Game. Hopefully the weather will improve (it is raining heavily) and then we can get out and look around a bit. I have always avoided going to Tokyo, and can proudly say that, up to now, my closest encounter has been a stressful ride through the rush-hour subway system - with a large suitcase. Not something I would like to repeat. Anyway, I am sure there must be something good about the place, so I will attempt to find out what that is this weekend.
I just learned yesterday that a very good friend from high school and college passed away unexpectedly on Monday. It's been a complete shock.
I'm going back to Florida tomorrow and staying 10 days for the funeral and to grieve with friends.