Monday, November 26, 2012

October 31, 1953 The Next Long Letter, Walking Through Rice Paddies, A Swing, A Bike and A Car, The Festival of Autumn, Beautiful Japan and Halloween on the Hill



Dear Mother & Daddy,

"We have slowed down a little bit and haven't been doing quite so much lately.  B and the children have had bad colds but are about all right once again.  Somehow I escaped.

B's classes have started so I've been doing quite a bit of typing for him.  He mimeographs every lecture (at least a summary of it) and gives it to his students so he's sure they understand.   It is like vacation time having him home so much.  I'll be spoiled by the time the year is up.  The clipping (if I remember to enclose it) is from the school paper.

We put a swing up in a Gingko tree for the children and they liked it for a little while.  There are several Gingko trees in our yard.  They have fruit like an apricot with a big seed.  The Japanese save the seed, dry it and roast it as a treat at New Year's time.  The fruit is useless but stinks like everything if it is left on the ground.  Several groups of children have come and asked if they could gather the fruit.  B took some pictures of them.

Gathering gingko



Two weeks ago today we went to a tea at Kobe College for Fulbright friends of ours.  The only way we can get there is to walk (about 10 minutes) and I felt like a ninny walking thru the rice paddies dressed for a tea party.

Bobby has had his first hair cut and although he asked for an army cut (that's the Japanese name for a burr) he came out of the shop looking like all the little Japanese boys.  He looked sweet though and was satisfied so it's all right with us.

The children get bored easily and miss the Watterson children so much.  We bought Bob a bicycle and Ann a little car and that helped for a while.  Bob needs to be in school and Jimmy gets his cast off next week so maybe he'll go back to school then.  When we were buying Bob's bike Ann put on a real show.  She climbed in the little car and drove like she was really going someplace.  Old and young gather around and she had quite a big audience.  Ann wasn't silly but perfectly natural and her audience seemed spellbound.  Someone told me that the people stared at the children because they didn't get to see many little American children.

The Embassy in Tokyo called B one day (or tried to call and finally wired) to ask him to speak to a group in Shikoku Island.  That is one of the smaller islands of Japan and south of us here.  He wired back to accept and a man was at our house at 8:00 the next morning to talk to B about it.  The Board of Education is sponsoring an international meeting on Group Dynamics.  You'll have to wait for B to explain that but B is going to give one of the speeches.  It is to be in mid-November and we're all planning to go.  The trip will have to be by ferry-boat.

One afternoon I went to a museum of Buddhist treasures with the Women's Club and then a Japanese woman had the whole group into her house for tea.  The house was beautiful beyond words--3 story, big sliding windows, a garden and lovely furnishings.  Part of it was western and part Japanese.  We took off our shoes but she had felt house slippers for everyone to wear.

We have our bedroom curtains up and our bedspread made now.  Teruko-san is a graduate of a sewing school so she has a machine and does sewing for me.  I miss a sewing machine more than anything.  All the beautiful materials make me want to sew.  I bought one piece of black silk gabardine for a suit and a piece of pink silk taffeta to go with it for the blouse.  B had bought me a couple of Vogue pattern books one day when he went shopping and one has a suit in it that I liked.  Teruko-san says she can make the suit from the picture without a pattern so I'm going to see what happens.  I saw one suit she made and it was made beautifully.  I'm going to ask her to make it while we are gone to Shikoku since she won't have much to do while we are away.

On the 22nd we went into Kyoto to see their big festival of autumn.  The main event and the only thing we saw was the parade which depicted the moving of the capital from Nara to Kyoto in the 800's, I believe.  Between 2000 and 3000 people in costumes were in the parade.









The next day one of our neighbors gave a party for all the families on the Row (that's what we call these 10 houses).  Part of the entertainment was by three of us new women who each modeled five garments.  Most of the women have been here a long time and they are very interested in different or new clothes.  I modeled my gold dress with pleats that I've had so long, the green dress I made last winter and two suits.  Then I showed them how to tie a sari.  We have some Indian women in the Women's Club and they wear such beautiful saris.  We all had such a good time at the party.



We have been taking walks up into the mountains.  We all love the walks and you can see for miles in all directions.  There are several old air raid shelters left in the mountains--dark, damp tunnels.  They make me shudder to look at them.  From the top of the mountains we can see Kobe in one direction, Osaka the other direction & the ocean all in front of us with big ships anchored in the docks.  The goldenrod is beautiful here--taller than B--and each time we walk we find some different flower.


 I wish you could have one of these maple trees for your yard.  Some of them are turning red now and they are simply scarlet.  Japan has so much beauty.  No matter how shabby a house or how small the garden there is always a clump of blooming flowers.  Cosmos and dahlias are everywhere.  Even the vegetable gardens are beautiful--rows so straight and never a weed.



I had a letter from Roger and answered right back.  I had written to Bessie and she had sent him my letter.  He expected to be here in February perhaps so we should see him at least once before we come home.  People tell me there aren't any navy bases near here so he'd probably have to have several days leave (2 or 3) to come here.

Today is Halloween and we have been out to "trick or treat".  Our neighbor lent us costumes and the kids all got together and went to the houses on the hill.  Everyone was ready for them and they came home with sacks full of goodies.  The missionaries are all American or Canadian and we are truly lucky to have such a nice place to live. 


I found time this week to read a little in the Journal.  We can get most of the magazines we want except radio magazines.  B misses them.

I am so glad you are feeling better.  Beulah wrote me a good letter and she said you were fatter and looked so much better.  Maybe this arthritis will be the short term kind.  Let's hope so.

The American all star baseball team has been touring Japan and have been making a real hit.  They played in Nishinomiya today but tickets have been sold out for days.

Bobby said to tell you he was sending you a big kiss and hug.

Tomorrow is the first of November but it is still so nice and warm in the daytime.  We have a rainy day once in awhile but not often.

B still goes to prayer meeting every Wednesday evening.  They asked us if we wanted the group to come to our house since they take turns at having them so of course we did.  They come here for the first time next week.  They usually have singing and prayers and someone gives a short talk or reads poetry.  Last week B was asked to talk to the group about education so he is talking again this week on education in the United States.  He has also been asked to talk to some Japanese high school teachers soon.  One of the missionaries is arranging it.

The work of these missionaries is very interesting.   Some do so much and others do very little.  One of them has a group of Japanese in her home practically every day of the week and serves them some sort of refreshments.  Teruko-san is one of them.  She plans to be baptized at Christmas time.

It is late and I must stop.  I hope all of you are taking care of yourselves.  Before we know it we will be on our way home.  The time is going so fast."

                   Lots of love to all of you,

                            Bonnie


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