I took the Shinkansen (Bullet train) up and back and it was an easy 3 hour trip which would normally take at least 6 hours by car. 30 years ago when I first came to Japan there was no Shinkansen going up to Morioka and it was consider the Tibet of Japan, a very far off town with very few foreigners (we could count the number and would stop foreigners who were on the street asking excitedly where they were from.) Not any more. Morioka has become a bustling metropolitan and I felt much like the country girl visiting the big city while I was there.
Besides getting together with Nobuko-san and the Lammers I had an opportunity to visit with a few of my old students. Wow! 30 years is really 30 YEARS! A couple of the students remembered me but it wasn't until I was chatting with them for awhile that I could vaguely recall their "younger" faces when they were in my class. This smiling man in the kimono was one of my favorite students and he and I used to discuss loads of topics. He came to visit the Lammers on this day and we had a wonderful time talking about our lives these past 30 years. I just loved that he came to visit in his kimono and when I saw him come up the stairway I yelled out. "My samurai!"
Nobuko-san even thoughtfully offered to take me to our family grave site without me even suggesting it and so I was the dutiful Japanese wife and brought flowers and posed. We wandered around the cemetery with Nobuko-san pointing out dates of people who have passed on that I once knew. It is a Christian cemetery and the Christian population is not very large so it is sort of an extended family grave. I just had to include the picture of the Morioka scenery from our family grave. Lovely sight to look out on isn't it?
And speaking of lovely sights, this is a shot of Morioka City from off one of the bridges. In the distance is Mt. Iwate which is the pride of this area and is considered the Mt. Fuji of northern Japan. So nice to be back in the place where I first started my life in Japan. I wish we could get back more often.