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Great friends, great times 大切な友達、幸せな時

April 22, 2010

This year’s trip back to Kansai was timed perfectly for the cherry blossom season.  The importance of this season in Japan is a difficult concept for most Westerners but cultural reasons aside, it’s just nice to see and of course partake in the tradition of hanami (flower viewing) which usually involves sitting under the cherry trees with, at the very least, bento (lunch box) and if you’re with a large group, copious amounts of alcohol.  Good times.

今年、僕の関西に旅行はグードタイミングでした。何で?桜の満開でした!綺麗だった。でも、天気がちょっと難しいでした。最初に寒いそれに暑い、寒い、暑い。何の服を着ましょうか。

My Easter break this year was a little shorter than normal so the trip was a bit rushed.  That just meant that every moment needed to count.  And it did.  As usual, the first part of my trip was out West of Osaka at Kazu and Chiharu’s place.  Kazu had recently finished a couple of swords for an upcoming competition so he didn’t have much to do in the forge but I got some really good photos of him as he did some adjustments on a different blade.

今年のイースター休みはちょっと短いだったので毎日忙しかったです。相変わらず、僕の旅行は上郡に始まりました。最近、カズはコンクールの刀を出来上がった。そして、仕事があんまりない。休憩が必要でしょうね。今回、ほかの刃を直した写真を撮ったです。

Over the last few years, we’ve tried to include at least one day trip somewhere.  This year, we ventured off to Engyo-ji, a mountain-top temple complex near Himeji.  The most recent claim to fame for this complex is that this is where parts of the Tom Cruise movie, “The Last Samurai” were filmed.  Since first living in Japan, I’ve taken the rope-way (or as Kazu and Chiharu’s daughter kept saying, the ‘role play) up to the top at least 6 times.  Chiharu hadn’t been there since she was in school and Kazu, despite growing up in the area had never visited.  I got to take on the odd role of tour guide for this trip. The other thing that was lucky was that on this day, the tombs of the Honda family were open for the public to walk among.  Normally, you can only look into the area from the gate.  For those of you who have seen the movie, this is where Watanabe Ken and Tom Cruise are talking and Watanabe Ken is trying to come up with a description of cherry blossoms.  In reality, there’s no cherry tree in that area but they were the actual buildings.

普通、僕の訪問間に日帰りに行きます。去年、岡山県の倉敷に行ったり、二年前、広島県の尾道に行きました。今年、姫路市の書写山の圓教寺に行きました。このお寺でトムクルーズの映画「ラストサムライ」を撮影しました。小学生、高校生の時、千晴は一回だけに行きました。カズは近くの所に育ちたですが行った事ないです。もちろん、華ちゃんは行った事ない。でも、僕は6回ぐらいロプウエイで圓教寺に行きました。「華ちゃんの発音がロールプラエーでした。かわいいだった。」それで僕はツアーガイドでした。面白いでしょうね。

Remarkably, despite being a small town, Kamigori has amazing areas of sakura (Japanese cherry trees) just perfect for wandering through or having the aforementioned hanami.  On my last day in Kamigori, the weather couldn’t have been better.  I specifically wanted to do some family portraits among the cherry blossoms and I had this image in mind of Hana in the lower branches of a tree and Kazu and Chiharu standing beside.  The search was on for the “perfect” tree.  We didn’t find it until we went to have lunch in another part of town.  At least I got the shot I was looking for.

上郡町は大きくないですがすばらしい桜の道があります。上郡の訪問の最後の日に天気は良かったです。家に近くの桜の道に散歩しました。今回も家族の写真を撮りたかったんです。桜下にいい所と思いました。でも、イメージを考えていました。それで最適な木を捜しました。ようやく、花見の所に見つけられました。華ちゃんは木に上ったとカズと千晴が木となりに立ってました。そのイメージを撮りました。

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