(I am writing this entry after having returned home. The actual day of these events was April 9th 2007.)
Art gets lucky and is able to change our frequent flyer tickets home. He will return to
I manage to escape mid afternoon for a last foray along
Late afternoon sunlight drenches this picturesque area of cobbled streets with stone walls and historic buildings. We sip iced coffee together at an outside café, our table tucked under a huge Aka tree alongside a crumbled hillside pottery kiln and pay $5.00 each for our icy drinks. Our impending departure has been sudden and I am not ready to take leave of all of this but I console myself with the knowledge that I will be back again soon. My melancholy is replaced with the rush of the caffeine and the 6 of us take leave of our table beneath the tree to continue our wanderings. I am familiar with the narrow side streets now lush with spring foliage clinging into the crevices of the ancient stone walls. We walk along the pedestrian path, with beautiful and historic houses secreted behind stone walls, gates and spirit walls. One of these properties has been converted into a pottery studio where guests can make their own Shisa’s or pottery bowls. The grounds of this pottery studio are beautiful, the workshop opening out into the front garden. A few students are working on projects and Michael wishes that Annya had time to make her own special guardian Shisa and I wish the same for John. I am not sure there will be another chance for Annya, but I know that John and I will be back. We continue along our side loop reconnecting with the main street of this district. Pottery shops line the street, many with adjoining studios. At our favorite Shisa shop, John and I part from our friends and take a taxi back to our now empty apartment.
Our landlord comes by with a gift of cake for us and two tea cups. Narumi has left us flowers. Shigeru stops by briefly to hand Art a formal decorated envelope of money for him to take to Mizuho’s wife, Satomi. Later in the evening, Tadashi and Harruyo give Art similar envelopes to carry back to Satomi. Everyone is so very kind.
Tonight’s impromptu farewell dinner is at Kai Restaurant in Shintoshin. The party is small, consisting of just us, the Schulman’s, Takaaki, Tadashi and his mother Harruyo. We are seated in a private room away from the activity of the central kitchen and dining room and I wish for the distraction and energy the main room has offered us in the past. There is a solemn finality about tonight’s gathering and I am sad to be leaving in such haste. Harruyo has dressed simply and elegantly and I note how beautiful and composed she is. Tonight’s meal is disappointing, or perhaps I am just disappointed to be returning home under these hurried and sad circumstances.