Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sunday, April 4 – Thursday, April 15, 2010-

The circle comes as circles go

I’ll make it round, of that I know

One year seems slow, one year seems short

I need that long my thoughts to sort

Pack and unpack, feel at home

One more place to call my own

Another family full of smiles

Bike to school is still 4 miles

Father, son, and…Holy Ghost?

Make that grandpa as my host.

Add the girls and the gang’s complete

The Shiozawa’s can’t be beat.

Spring is here, which makes me happy

For all things that make poems sappy:

Birdsongs, rivers, mud and flowers,

Cherry trees and April showers

Our lives may change, but so do seasons

Enjoy your day for little reasons.

Can you tell I’m feeling lazy?

Has this rhyme made you go crazy?

My days are numbered 87.

Not like that! Till home not Heaven.

All I'll post are photographs

Hopefully this has made you laugh…s


Last meal with the Kobayashi's
Like father like son
Yasunori and Rumi, my new host brother and his wife. They live in the newer section of the house, Yusu is a Toyota car salesmen (ouch) and Rumi works at the Soba restaurant. Yasu actually went to Sweden on Rotary youth exchange back in high school (he's 26 now) and his English is still quite good so we've easily been able to work out ay confusion so far, which is nice. They're both great people, I'm lucky to have such good friends in the house =)
Host mother, Takako, is on the far left, the rest are soba restaurant employees. This is us in the store
Host father, Yujie. He and I played Go the other night...not my forte! But I'm getting better
And Grandpa. Don't ask me his real name, we all just call him Ojiichan =)
A view of their house from the road
An snapshot from above, you can see the gardens all encases by a thick white wall. It's very Japanese
My bedroom with a great view of the gardens and mountains beyond. Nice big bed too!
The garden is filled with all of Grandpa's tiny bonsai pots
My first day at their house was a cold, rainy, foggy one but I spent the day enjoying the warmth of Kotasu (a warm heating blanket I'm determined to bring back to the U.S.) watching movies. A great day
The entrance to their house
A view of the creek running before the house
The Soba Restaurant : Gozeniwa Busan Center
My first soba lunch, tempura...YUM
"Tencho" the soba pro
I later got to try making my own soba from scratch
One afternoon also included me making Koisagoyaki pottery, a famous type of pottery found in the mountains to the north of us
Voila...Well, I'll keep practicing...
Last Saturday I went out to dinner with some of the guys from the Kobayshi's store. We ate (more) soba and found a nice, crowded park called Shiroyama where we could mix, mingle, party, and enjoy cherry blossoms. It was an evening I'll remember for a long time!
Different groups camped out under the sakura trees
Sakura at night
Last Sunday was a long awaited Rotary event in Tochigi City with my fellow Rotary friends. It had been over two months since I'd seen them last, so it was great to be reunited in crime once again.
Guess what we made? Soba! Haha.
This is Amberly (from Canada) and Yuna Saito. Yuna is actually going to be coming to Minnesota next year on exchange. She is currently a high school first year student and what my grandma would probably call "as cute as a button"
Sunday evening I went to the hot springs with my new host parents, out to eat at a korean BBQ, and also to a dinner comedy show
Japanese style comedy
My welcome feast. Sushi, just like I like it!
Last Monday I actually got to make them all tacos. It was a fun chance to prepare something for my host family. They all enjoyed it and asked me to make "American" food again soon. I laughed and told them tacos are actually Mexican, but I would be more than happy to whip something else up. Any suggestions of something very American that isn't hamburgers or steak, we already eat that over here quite a bit...
My first taco in eight months
The drive leading up to my school yesterday was fit for a warm Spring day. The cherry blossoms were blooming overhead
More spring flowers
I enjoyed a nice slow walk home from the soba restaurant (it's just over 2 kilometers back to the house), capturing some images of my new valley countryside along the way
An early fishermen out on the river
Koi windsocks, hung for the Boys Festival on May 5th, they are yet another major sign that Spring is here to stay
More and more flowers in bloom
...and more...
...and more
I call this one Sakura Rain. Doesn't it looks like pink raindrops

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"For once you have fallen low. Let us see in the future how high you can rise"
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes The Adventure of the Three Students
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  1. Very cool pictures, Sam. I'm impressed. I need to get there someday.

  2. What great pictures! You are so lucky! Audrey and I are playing bridge in a tournament at Gatlinburg, Tennessee this week and the spring flowers are in full bloom here. Weather great. Grandma Estenson

  3. Hi Sam,

    I apprenticed in pottery with Tatsuzo Shimaoka for three years in Mashiko and then built my own kiln and set up a studio and worked there for an additional 5 years. I am back, making pots in Minneapolis.

    Lee Love