It’s Wednesday night here and I’ve been back from Sendai for several days. I’ve been kind of busy and haven’t been able to post my photos of the trip until now! I am headed off to Biwa Lake tomorrow morning to play the piano at a junior high/ high school kids’ camp. I have heard Biwa Lake is beautiful and I am looking forward to a fun time with the kids.

My time in Sendai was wonderful and the first thing I noticed was the change in weather. Nagoya is around 37-38 degrees Celsius (98.5 degrees Fahrenheit) and unbearably hot. However in Sendai it was in the low 20’s and we didn’t even use the air conditioning. I wore long pants and two layers and loved the cool weather. I was able to spend time with old friends, students, and missionaries. It was a refreshing week and I feel rather homesick for Sendai after coming back to Nagoya.

The Tanabata festival in Sendai begins today – I saw lots of beautiful decorations like this all over Sendai.

I spent some time with my dear friend Edie, and here she is filling her gas tank for about $52! Gas is ridiculously expensive here, about 185 yen for one liter. That is about $6.47 a gallon! Edie has a relatively small car and it was hard to believe she had to pay that much to fill her gas tank.

Here is Edie with some dear friends: Junko, Hisako, O-san, and Takako

Me with the ladies

All this food for only $9.50! Can you imagine that in the U.S.?

I also got to see dear Katie Yaegashi in Yamagata – she has been a missionary there for almost 40 years!

This wonderful lady is name Ai (love). She is like a grandmother to me! Her daughter-in-law is Junko (in the photo above), who taught me Japanese when I used to live in Sendai. Ai was telling me lots of stories about what it was like after the war ended – she was about 18 when the war came to a close in 1945. Her husband received a medal of honor for fighting bravely in the war. It really moved me to think that in her lifetime our countries were enemies and yet now we are friends.

One of the highlights of the week was staying with my former host family! The last time I saw this kid he was 8 going on 9! Now he is almost 15 and taller than me! I had a great time with this family and I could hardly believe it had been five years since we last met. We had a lot of fun laughing together and just relaxing in their home. I also fell in love with their little dog, Bambi!

Reunited with my old host mom, Kikuko

Enjoying an interesting snack called KARINTOU – it’s sweet and crunchy

With some former English students at Megumi Church (minus a few members who left early) I hadn’t seen several of these folks in almost five years.

I headed off to Fukushima next where I was reunited with the Furuta family (they lived in Philly for a few years). We had all-you-can eat maki-sushi for dinner!  I was nuts about little Kanade – she was full of spunk and a ton of fun. We played a lot of games together and endless rounds of rock-paper-scissors.

The sashimi

First you take a piece of seaweed and put some rice on top of the seaweed. Then you add some fish and roll it up – that’s maki sushi!

Kanade and her mom, Ai (love)

On Friday, I got to see my former English students from the Natori Horticultural and Agricultural Center. They were one of the most fun group of English students that I have ever had.

Mr. Yoshimura and Mr. Sasaki – funny students!

I got to see a very old friend, Makoto. He is a seminary student in Chiba, Japan and hopes to be a pastor one day.

Right after I took Makoto’s photo we saw this Gospel Festival on the street. They were singing “gospel” music and seeming to enjoy it. I’ve heard from many people that the Japanese love gospel music. This group didn’t sound anything like what I would call “gospel music” but they weren’t that bad.

I enjoyed eating soba (buckwheat) noodles before I left Sendai – soba is one of my favrotie meals. I really enjoy eating out here in Japan – it’s pretty reasonable, very filling,  and there’s no tip!

Well, I am off to back my bags for my trip to Biwa Lake. I am sure it’ll be a great weekend.