Thursday, June 23, 2005

Trip to the North of Kyoto Prefecture

Maizuru Bay seen from the window of a hotel
at the top of Mt. Goro, Maizuru, Kyoto.

From June 12 (Sun.) to 14 (Tue.), my wife and I made a trip to the northern cities of Kyoto Prefecture: Fukuchiyama, Ayabe and Maizuru. (Cricking blue characters below, you can see the the photo of each place in a new window, though explanations are in Japanese.)

On Sunday, we arrived at the JR Fukuchiyama Station in the early afternoon, and visited Fukuchiyama Castle. The castle was originally built by Mitsuhide Akechi around 1580, but was destroyed in Meiji Era except for stonewalls. The present castle tower was reconstructed in 1986.

Then we walked on Otonase Bridge over the Yura river to go to Sandan-ike Park. We were surprised to see that there was no water in Sandan Pond. Leveling of the ground was proceeding to make a playground there. I wonder if it is a good plan to destroy a big pond and accordingly the ecological system of Sandan-ike Park filled with many plants and creatures.

The place of our stay at two nights was located at the top of Mt. Goro in Maizuru. From the window of our room, we had a fine view of Maizuru Bay, and I made a sketch of it. The sketch of the next morning and that of the morning after next show views further to left (west). The mountain at the center of the last sketch is Mt. Tatebe, which is also called Tango-Fuji because of its shape similar to Mt. Fuji.

On Monday, we arrived at the JR Maizuru Station rather late in the morning. So we hurried to Ayabe Friendly Ranch to have lunch at a restaurant there. We saw Yura River again on our way there.

Walking for 40 minutes or so in the foot of Mt. Takashiro, we lost a way and asked a countryman the way to the ranch. He told us that there was no ranch there any more and that it was being converted to a site of a riding club. Alas! Anyway, we had to go to the old ranch. Leveling of the ground was also in progress there. Luckily, there remained a restaurant, so that we were able to have lunch there.

Coming back from the old ranch along a path through rice fields, we saw a small scoop wheel and a field of irises in full bloom. The scoop wheel seems to have been constructed for sightseers by drawing its model from those that actually helped agricultural laborers in old days.

In the morning of Tuesday, we walked near the JR Higashi-maizuru Station to see Kitasui Railway Tunnel, the Maizuru City Commemoration Hall and the World Brick Museum. All these brick constructions, now preserved as cultural heritages, were originally built for the former Japan Navy. Looking at them, I thought that we should never make such buildings for war again.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Then We Couldn’t Have Been Your Pupils!

The reunion of our class at the former Ishibiki Elementary School in Kanazawa was held at the Japanese style hotel Takitei in Kanazawa Saikawakyo Spa from the evening of June 2 to the morning of June 3, 2005. Participants were our teacher Mr. A and his wife, 16 class OGs including Prof. H.I. from USA and her younger sister to help her travel, and nine OBs including myself; a total of 27 people. The number of pupils in our class was 61. Among them six OBs died already.

The party of the reunion took place from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. We were seated along the three lines of tables put in the shape of the Greek capital pi, with Mr. A at the center of the shorter line. Mrs. A who has a problem at her knees took a seat at the corner of one of the two long sides. The other particiants' seats were determined by drawing.

The organizer in chief, Y.T., presided the party. He explained that this reunion celebrated Mr. A's age of 80 (actually he is now 83 years old) and ours of 70, and then asked Mr. A to give a short talk. Mr. A began saying, "I came to Ishibiki Elementary School just after you finished it." Some OGs and OBs said, "Oh, no! Then we couldn't have been your pupils!" "It's wrong!" "Let's say for his honor, 'Mr. A is quite right.' " and so on.

Does Mr. A have Alzheimer's disease? No, that was a slip of the tongue. He wanted to say, "I left Ishibiki Elementary School soon after you finished it." Thus the reunion started with a big laughter, and merry mood continued all through the party and a party after party, which ended at 11:00 pm. It was an experience like a time slip into elementary school days.

At the party after party, H.I. told me that she had had the disaster of losing the memory of her lap-top computer by exposing it to X-ray inspection at an airport. On June 5, I called her at her mother's house in Takarazuka to ask if I could help her with her computer. However, it seemed that I could have nothing to do, because she had lost only document files and because she had back-up files back in USA. Wishing to get a copy of her publication some day, I sent her the book "Kagami-no Naka-no Hidarikiki (A Left-Hander in a Mirror)," in which I had written a comment of twenty pages.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Middle Name

The photo shows the entrance of the Hotel Takitei in Kanazawa Saikawakyo Spa, where the reunion of our elementary school class was held (taken June 3, 2005). Click on the image to see the real size one.

For some days after getting the announcement of the reunion of our class at the former Ishibiki Elementary School in Kanazawa, I was unable to decide whether I should attend it or not. It was because I saw some of my classmates on the occasion of the reunion of the same year classes of that elementary school held last autumn, and because I visited our teacher, Mr. A., last summer. So I sent an e-mail message to one of my classmates and good rival, Prof. H.I., who works at the University of California at Santa Barbara, to ask if she would attend the reunion this time.

But, alas, the next day I found that the message had not reached H.I. Then, I made the search of her name on the Internet and learned her new e-mail address from the home page of the university. Her name on the home page newly had the initial of the middle name "G." So, I wrote her not only the question about her possibility of participation in the reunion but also the guess that her middle name came from her nickname in elementary school days. Her nickname given by some boys in our class was Gacha, meaning an "unattractive look" in the dialect of Kanazawa, and she admitted it as her nickname. So I supposed she adopted it as her middle name from the sense of humor.

H.I. wrote me back promptly, "I am planning to attend the reunion with my sister. My middle name comes from my mother's maiden name!" Her planning of attending helped my decision to do the same, but I was ashamed to think that my guess might have been rude to her. For the sake of her honor, I have to write here that I do not think her look unattractive. Sure, she is not such a woman as is regarded as beautiful by men's average standard, but her look filled with strong will, high intelligence and good health is a different kind of excellent beauty.