Gorgeous day, bright and warm with high of low 70's Fahrenheit. Mr. & Mrs. K came to pick us up at the hotel promptly at . Mr. K. is the only son of my Mother's best friend who passed away many years ago. A retired school principal from Osaka, he and his wife have "adopted" my Mother as their own and treats her royally whenever she comes to visit Japan.
Our first stop, the ancestral cemetery of the Otsuzuki Family. Suddenly, Mr. K pulled his car alongside the road so I can take photos of an ancient warrior ritual performed every November 24th. It was truly fortuitous for us to be on this rural road at this particular time and day.
When I mentioned about my quest for learning Tibetan Buddhism following the teachings of the Dalai Lama, Mr. K offered to take us to Okunoin Of Rengein-Tabjyöji Temple. It is a spiritual place with large well maintained grounds owned by the Kumamoto prefectural government -- a perfect place to spend a late autumn afternoon/
After being treated to a perfect sunset over the Ariyake Ocean, we dropped off my Mother at her cousin's house and went to dinner at the oyster restaurant famous for their fresh seafoods. Guests sit on low wooden benches surrounding a charcoal burner and cook your own choice of items. I was happy to be able to take photos of this novelty dining and feasted on grilled vegetables.
Obah-San (grandma in Japanese) is my Mother's cousin. She is a healthy centurion and will be celebrating her 105th birthday on She recognized and remembered J.J. and me even though the last time she saw J.J. was about 12 years ago. I am grateful to witness the tremendous joy my Mother's visit brings to her. At parting, my Mother promised to be back in early February. She grasped my hands tightly and sang "until February, until February!!!"
Aloha -- Cathi