I arrived back to Nagoya this morning after wonderful, refreshing, delightful  nine-day trip to Sendai, Fukushima, and Yamagata (in the northern part of Japan). I went by overnight bus which is the cheapest way to get from Nagoya to Sendai and back. I really can’t capture in words how blessed I was during this trip – I loved being with a ton of beloved, old friends and laughed so hard I cried, ate a TON of delictable Japanese food, and watched a lot of goofy Japanese TV. I got to see and do a ton of things and enjoyed long, relaxing chats with old friends. I left feeling like I want to go back to there again…even live there. But I doubt that is possible; at the very least, I hope to be able to visit there regularly for many years to come.

One nice thing: While I missed the cherry blossoms in Sendai they are in full bloom here in Nagoya so I am thankful I got to see all the pink beauty! I will go out and take photos of the cherry blossoms tomorrow.

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Here I am with my former Japanese teacher Junko (in red) and her mother Ai, a FABULOUS cook!

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Ai with her delicious okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake

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With dear friends Kikuko (my former host mother), Suk Hui (from Korea), and Edie Cummings (dear missionary friend)

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Being silly with Kikuko, wearing our masks (Japanese wear masks when they have a cold or to prevent one).

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My former host brother (who I call my Japanese little brother) Yotaro being cool

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I got to see and do a lot of things – I got to go to a butterfly exhibition and loved it! They were so beautiful and lovely to see.

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Here I am with two of my favorite English students, Eiko and Yuko  – what goofy, sweet ladies. I had fun chatting and laughing it up with them for over three hours over dinner.

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Eiko tried to set me up with her 32-year old son in Tokyo which was a source of a lot of laughter. She even went so far as to give me his email and phone number but I won’t be following up. 🙂 

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I headed to Fukushima next – I met my friend Ai and her children. I met Ai in Philadelphia and taught her English. I especially hit it off with 8 year-old Kanade, an energetic, smart, and affectionate little girl.

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Doing karaoke in the car

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Wonderful soba dinner with Ai and her family

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Kanade and her soba noodles

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While we were out we saw a display of needlepoint. Can you believe this is needlepoint? It looks like a real painting!

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Needlepoint #2

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Needlepoint #3 – gorgeous!

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Stopped by Eiko Church Sunday morning

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Had tea with a friend Sunday afternoon

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Met old students for dinner Sunday night

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Delictable dinner of sashimi over ice (raw rish)

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Yakitori – chicken on a stick

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I went for a drive with wonderful friends near Zao mountain.

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We stopped at a foot spa on the way and soaked our feet in the water for a while.

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We passed by a giant carton of milk on the way!

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Stopped to eat soba at a delightful place out in the middle of nowhere!

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We enjoyed a fabulous sushi dinner!!!

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Group shot – Kankako, Atsuo, me, and Atsuo’s sweet Uncle Tadamichi

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For dessert we had delicious egg custard baked into these egg shells!

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Last night I met an old friend, Roberto, from Mexico and Cal and Edie Cummings, missionaries to Japan. I had a wonderful dinner with them and enjoyed catching up!

I have to get to bed but I couldn’t before posting photos and expressing my thankfulness for such an incredible trip. I can hardly wait for my next trip to Sendai, a place with is my home away from home here in Japan. In a few days I will post a bunch of photos of silly t-shirts and signs I saw during my trip – very funny! Oyasuminasai (good night in Japanese).

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