Saturday, April 2, 2016

We just finished an incredible journey down memory lane.  After leaving Nojiri and visiting with old friends, we took the Shinkansen to Atami and rented a car.  Drove to Ito and found the Ryokan, K's House, that we planned to stay for the night.  It was too early to check in so we drove on 135 down the coast to Shimoda.  It was a beautiful drive through many small coastal towns on Shizuoka. Arriving in Shimoda, the air was a bit brisk so the thought was that we would go down to the beach, take a few pictures and return to Ito.

We parked in a lot just past the beach and trucked down the beach near the rocks and the caves.  Although there were flags and rope cordoning off the section to the caves, we breached the area and went over to view the beauty of the ocean meeting the land.  Chuck convinced me to go to the edge of the rocks to get a picture.  Just after I turned and posed for the picture a wave pummeled me from behind and I got soaking wet.

Instead of returning to the car as planned, we took advantage of the sun which had decided to come out of the clouds about that time and we walked the beach down to the Toga Shrine at the other end of the beach. This allowed me to get dry and enjoy some of the beauty of Shimoda.  Great memories with friends from ASIJ and my missionary family swelled up and overwhelmed me.

I remember a trek down to Shimoda on the train when my boyfriend from 10th grade from North Carolina came to visit.  He and I rode the train to Shimoda one day, spent the day on the beach and returned to Tokyo.  I remember spending part of the day in the small alcove beach away from the crowds enjoying just being together.  Child love.

I remember coming to the beach with a group of SBMK's from Amagi Sanso.  Every year we would take a trip across the mountains to the beach.  One year while swimming I came across a can, someone had left in the surf.  It was buried in the sand and was stuck. Trying to be a conscientious person I attempted to remove the can, only to rip wide open my thumb which started bleeding causing me to have to stop swimming that day.

But probably the most fond memories of Shimoda was when I came down with friends from ASIJ (DA) and spent the day and night exploring the caves and probably smoking cigarettes and drinking beer.  Shimoda has many fond memories for me.

After we spent a bit of time in Shimoda, we returned to Ito and stayed in this quaint Ryokan named K's House.  It was a traditional Ryokan with tatami mat rooms, futons and a view of the river flowing from the mountains into the ocean.  The service was exceptional, the rooms were incredibly clean and the entire stay was so peaceful.  We plan to return again soon.

That night we walked just around the corner and ate at a very small traditional restaurant and tried some of the local vodka called Shochu.  I tried the kind from Kushu that was made from the yam.  It was so strong that I had maybe two sips of it and that was it.  The food at the place wasn't exactly what I had hoped but the adventure was most certainly enjoyable.

The following day we traveled again down the coast but once we arrived in Hama, we began the climb up the mountains to the seven falls or Nanataki.  This was the most beautiful area I have seen in a long time.  The place where these falls all join into one river.  It was quite spectacular.  The road at this point was climbing straight up the mountain, but when it could not longer climb straight up because of the incline we began to ascend on a spiral bridge that had three to four circular areas until we began to ascend in a more direct way.  It was the first time to travel in such a way for me.

While we were at the Nanataki we both enjoyed the wasabi ice cream which was refreshing and very good.  Not too spicy but a kick just enough to let you know it had some spice.  From Nanataki we traveled up the valley through the mountains to Jorentaki, a place we used to frequent when I was a child.

The Japan Baptist Conference, along with the Southern Baptist Japan Mission had a place at Amagi Sanso about 1 Km below the Joren Falls.  We frequented Amagi while growing up and it has very special memories for me.  Once we because teenagers we were allowed to sleep in a huge tatami room with all our closest MK friends, that was until the teenagers from my sisters era messed it up by drinking and smoking in Takamatsu.  One year we had Mission Meeting in Takamatsu because Amagi Sanso wasn't available.  The missionaries made the mistake of putting all the high school teenagers in one inn with a young missionary couple with young children as chaperons.   Seeing that the chaperons were needing to be with their own children, the teenagers took advantage of the situation and went out on the town and proceeded to do what many teenagers do.  They would have gotten away with it but one of the MK's ratted them out and so we all had to suffer the consequences of their behavior.  Of course they disgraced the missionaries and were grounded forever. I think my oldest sister is still grounded.

I remember many nights sneaking up to the Joren Falls and climbing up higher to another fall above the Joren Falls.  We also spent time down river jumping into the freezing cold water in a beautiful pool of flowing melted snow.  Fond memories.

After we left Joren Falls, we drove back up to Atami, turned in the car and took the Shinkansen back to Tokyo.  Our next week is in Tokyo, staying at the Hotel New Otani and visiting more of Tokyo and participating in the school activities.

Today, Chuck and I decided to go to Shinjuku to see where Lost in Translation was primarily filmed in the Park Hyatt Hotel. We went up to the 52 floor to the bar where some of the scenes were filmed and then walked from Shinjuku to the Imperial Palace (4.5 miles away).  We walked around the Imperial Palace and then back to the Hotel New Otani to get some rest.

Tomorrow, we get to enjoy the morning with our new friends we met while up at Nojiri and then off to ASIJ tomorrow afternoon to get a sneak peek before the day on Monday.

Overall, it's been an incredible trip recapturing some of my childhood memories and being able to share them with my closest friend, my husband, Chuck.

Tomorrow will bring many different memories I'm sure. Will see how we hold up in all this.

This morning my devotional was very clear as to who is in charge.  I read Deuteronomy 20: 1- 4.  I'm holding on to the truth as I know it.

If you are following this blog, you can also follow Facebook with all the pictures.  If I were savvy enough I would post them with the blog, but I'm too lazy to figure out how to do that.

Stay tuned for more to come.

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