Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Domo Arigato" Card

"He looks just like Grandpa!", said the girls practically in unison. As we ate lunch with Uncle Hal and his daughter Naomi, the girls picked up on his mannerisms that reminded them of their Grandfather. Still, at the age of 91, there is no denying that Uncle Hal and my father-in-law Bob (fifteen years his junior) are brothers. Their smiles capture your heart quickly, and you can't help but marvel at their good health. 

Uncle Hal and his seven siblings were born in America. He served in the U.S. military during WWII in spite of his family being forced to live in an internment camp in Arkansas. Upon release from the camp, Uncle Hal was stationed first in Europe. When I researched American soldiers of Japanese ancestry, I discovered his regiment is recognized as the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare. (That statement deserves to be pondered.) He was later sent to Japan as part of the occupying forces, and the fact he spoke Japanese was an asset. It was in serving the local people devastated by the effects of the atomic bombs that he met his wife. He served our country in two more wars, and then settled with Aunt Fumi near Tokyo. His daughter Naomi is an English teacher, who is proud of exacting proper pronunciation from her students, especially those tricky "r"s. To say I am happy our girls met their Uncle Hal and Cousin Naomi in Japan is an understatement, but this blog post will end up way too sentimental if I attempt to include words like: heritage, significant, proud, and once in a life time.

The card says "Domo Arigato" (Thank You) and so does my heart. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Souvenirs That Will Be Cards

It's Friday, and I am almost on a regular schedule. On Monday our family returned from a vacation in Japan. Everything about the trip was fascinating and unique. The girls and I met family for the first time (Uncle Hal and Cousin Naomi); tasted new foods (ate every bit actually, because there wasn't a food we didn't like); traveled by Shinkansen (the bullet train); visited temples and shrines; hiked up and down mountains; petted bunnies and deer; marveled at the even flow of commuters traveling on foot, by bike, in a car, on a bus, metro, or train. It did take us three days, however, to remember to walk on the left side of the sidewalk!

I enjoyed everything about Japan - in the city and the country. The mountains reached out of the ground with curves and crevices not seen in the U.S. Seeing women and men in kimonos and yukatas never got old, neither did eating with chopsticks. This summer I will share a few stories here along with cards inspired by the trip. 

Yes, the Land of the Rising Sun is also the original home of Washi paper and tape, and that's a stamp of "happiness" on top. Literally!