Friday, July 31, 2015

Birthday Surprise

A beautiful morning greeted us; and while most of the party got a couple hours of morning sleep,  the girls and I took a walk in the quiet mountainside community.  After another great breakfast we were off on an art tour in the valley next door.  Japanese roads don't go over mountains; they go through mountains.  After just a short night together as newly weds Calvin and Sassa joined us.  Sassa's parents rented a twelve passenger van and brought us to several art museums and venues near their hometown of Tokamachi.  Every three years the valley takes a month in the summer to put on an art exhibition.  Tourists come from all over Japan to enjoy the exhibition.  Both of their parents are connected to the production of the tour, so they were eager to share the local talent.  We viewed forest exhibits, the world of dirt, a traditional mountain home and a modern art museum.  The highlight of the day was a surprise visit during lunch of preschoolers dressed in kimonos came to bring Sassa flowers and sing songs to Calvin and her.  The teacher was the same preschool teacher that Sassa had as a child.  They also sang Happy Birthday to Esther.  For our evening accommodations we are staying at a youth hostel.  The day ended with a visit to the local Hot Springs to experience Japanese bathing at its best;)

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