Birthday on the Beach

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May 22nd 2007
Published: May 22nd 2007
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the "duder" girlsthe "duder" girlsthe "duder" girls

Craig, deep in a teaching session
How lucky for me, my lovely brother decided to make the trip out to Japan this May and arrived in Matsuyama the morning of my birthday! The Handa family was kind enough to drive me out to pick him up at the airport, skipping the train and bus commute routine. Luckily Craig had packed the U of M shirts on the outside for Sayoko Handa and her daughter, Sawako. I am still attempting to convince Sawako to come live in Minnesota with my fam next year after she graduates high school. She's an uber talented student and speaks English pretty well. Maybe because her mother is a private English teacher. But thus far she plans to attend college and then become a housewife. I just want her to experience a little of the US of A before becoming a Japanese housewife. Even though most of my friends here are just that, and ridiculously talented at it.

Anyways, we finally made it out to the beach with a few of my friends for cocktails and frisbee. Craig was followed by some "dudes" (actually they were 3 junior high girls) to whom he taught his frisbee moves. A few jellyfish later
beach birthdaybeach birthdaybeach birthday

Did you remember your suntan lotion??
we headed back to the flat.

Craig attended Junior High classes at Hojo Kita. My teachers were excited to invite him to their classes. He maybe felt a bit used, but the students loved it. Especially the 1st graders. Some of the popular questions included..."Who is your favorite movie actor?" "Who is your favorite Japanese baseball player?" and "How tall are you?" Of course all of these were asked in Japanese and Craig was at a loss for the last two (they measure height in centimeters here).

That evening my sadou (tea ceremony) ladies came over for a lesson in the art of making udon. They jabbered away in hyperactive Japanese, poking jokes at Craig and asking how much he liked their cooking. Which was great! They brought sooooo much food! Funniest part of the evening; comparing our love of fresh veggies and their love of fresh fish. I owe them all a big thanks, especially for the yukata birthday present (cotton kimono)!

Tuesday I went to school without Craig, so he could relax a little at the beach. My building manager, Issao, invited Craig to his home to pick out a scroll of his original work.
hard at workhard at workhard at work

"or hardly working?" -Grandpa Nelson
Quite an experience for Craig in the huge traditional style home. Tuesday evening we took to the streets of Matsuyama; Dogo onsen and a few beers at the brewery, strolling Okkaido shopping arcade. Accidentally ran into my junior high principal but he looked a bit intoxicated so we veered the opposite direction.

3 whirlwind days later, and we're off to Tokyo!

Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10


dance dance!dance dance!
dance dance!

...or just some udon
very carefullyvery carefully
very carefully

I tried the cutting, but the professionals soon took over
all that food!all that food!
all that food!

no wonder we had sooo much leftovers

fresh veggies! Don't you crazy fools cook these things??
oh, yes!oh, yes!
oh, yes!

A new yukata for a new look.
making friendsmaking friends
making friends

Craig and Issao, with an Issao original behind
ready to relaxready to relax
ready to relax

Dogo Onsen, another original

28th May 2007

oh man, I want that food! De-lish! And your hair Mar, has it really been that long since you've been away?? Craig looks like he had a blast, and I love the questions from the kids...I can just see the blank look on Craig's face in response. Can't wait for you to be home again, keep up the fun there and love the kimono. It suits you!
10th June 2007

Happy Birthday!!!
Marla, I've been reading your journals. I love them. So glad Craig was able to visit--looks like you had a great time. HAPPY BIRTHDAY---See you soon. Love. Mary Lynn

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