Saturday, March 2, 2013

April 17, 1954 An April Letter, Postcards of Mt. Fuji, Pottery of Kamitachikui and A Little Silk-shopping in Kyoto

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"Tomorrow is Easter but it will just be another day, I guess.  The children and I went to an egg hunt this morning with the missionaries so they each got a basket.  We have a big chocolate egg for each of them that we'll put in the baskets in the morning and probably won't do anything else in the way of celebration.  It is wonderfully warm now but bonnets may get wet tomorrow for it is cloudy.

We have been on the go so much the past two weeks that I'm tired.  There hasn't been time between trips to get rested but B's classes begin Wednesday and we'll have to stay home a little more.

Our trip to Tokyo was very nice.  It was warm and sunny the whole time so we didn't have to be bothered with a lot of heavy clothes.  We stayed with Fulbright friends from the University of Illinois who live only about fifty miles from us at home.  We did not know them before but it is going to be nice after we get home for their children and ours are the same size and it will be a nice Sunday drive to see them.  They live in the "Hollywood" section of Tokyo--a fairly new section which is not crowded but quiet and pleasant.  Actually they share a house with an older Japanese couple who own the house.  It is a Japanese house and we slept and ate on the floor.  It was a real experience and a very pleasant one for the people are lovely people.  They don't speak a word of English but we all got along fine.  We took Teruko-san with us to help with the extra work and to watch after the children while we shopped.  She had a good time and we were very glad we took her.

The fields were beautiful with bright yellow rape blossoms and the rich green of the winter wheat--all in very neat rows, like our farmers up the hill do their sweet potatoes.  Rape is a very early spring crop grown for the seeds which produce a cooking oil.  All vegetables are grown on hills and there is never a weed.  Even the wheat is religiously weeded and fertilized.  Toward Tokyo where the winter is colder some of the fields have had no winter crops and those are being spaded up now in preparation for the rice crops.  Lots of women were in the fields--spading and breaking the clods in teams of six or eight.  One morning we could see Mt. Fuji from the house.  That is the biggest and most famous mountain in Japan and is very beautiful.

I got up from the typewriter and Ann wrote you a letter.  Bob and his friends have been catching frogs out of our pool and yesterday they really got a big one.  Butterflies are beginning to come out too.

To get back to our Tokyo trip.  It took a full hour to get downtown from the house so we had to plan our trips and each took a full day to shop as we pleased.  B spent most of his time in the camera and book stores.  I bought some patterns, a tablecloth and a kimono.  One evening we took all the children and went to a Chinese restaurant for supper.  We had eaten there before and enjoyed it so much.  It was late when we finished so we took a taxi home.  The driver said he had two children too and then he sang Japanese songs to the children all the way home.  The loved it.  The Japanese are so good to the children.  On the train from Tokyo a man gave Bob and box of gum.  Later he asked B where we were going.  That is another Japanese characteristic--they are all very curious.  They will ask you anything and always want to know where you are going and why.

Tuesday was our thirteenth anniversary and an older neighbor couple took us and the children on an all-day trip in their car.  A former Kwansei Gakuin student had written his master's thesis on his home village where the farmers raise rice in the summer and make pottery in the winter.  We went to visit in the boy's home and to see where and how they make their pottery.  He is the only college graduate in the village.  After we saw the pottery plant we went back to his house and had coffee and cakes.  Even the children were served coffee but it was Japanese coffee which is very sweet and doesn't taste like coffee at all.  Bob drank his and we could not say one word.  They gave us some of their pottery as gifts when we left.  On our way back we stopped at a hot spring resort and had supper in one of the hotels.  It was a real treat but it was such a long day we were all very tired.  We had intended to go to a pearl farm this week but simply could not find the time.  We can still do that.

Yesterday I went with a Fulbright friend to Kyoto to shop at some of the silk stores.  She is an old maid and wanted me to stay all night with her in Kyoto but I came home alone.  I felt real brave for it was my first real trip alone here.  I didn't buy very much.  There are literally hundreds of pieces of silk but I'm getting choosey and there wasn't much I wanted.  I got a piece of shantung for a suit and a piece of silk organdy for a formal.  Then I bought my Christmas cards for next year.

Looks like I'm out of paper."

               Love to all,



  1. You one of the things that I love most about seeing the images of and from Japan that you've been sharing, dear Ann? How there's almost always a note of serenity to them. I pop for a visit here and know that I'm guaranteed to see something peaceful and beautiful. I just love that, especially on days when I really need a hit of "zen".

    ♥ Jessica

  2. Jessica, I'm always happy when you pop in for a visit! I hope some serenity finds you during your upcoming weeks. Be well soon!


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