Sunday, July 1, 2012


Mike served in the Tokyo South mission.  His second area was Kofu, which is not in Tokyo, but about an hour away on the west side of Mt. Fuji.  While he was there, he met a couple who wanted to go to the US.  Mike hooked them up with his parents in Provo, and I think they lived with his parents for a time.  When they got their own apartment, it was in the same complex as Mike's brother Merrill and his wife and they got to be good friends.  About a month ago, Mike got reconnected with Miyuki through facebook and we learned that, after spending 10 years in the US, they are back in Kofu.  Both Mike and Merrill were keen to see Rei and Miyuki again, and Mike has been wanting to return to Kofu, so we thought last weekend was the perfect time to make the trip.

Whenever we are in the mountains or some beautiful place in the US, Mike and I fantasize about how we could make a living there.  I've often wondered if those people that relocate permanently to Japan are perfectly happy here, or if part of them always wishes to return to their original home.  I've been in some lovely places in Japan and have been very happy here, but I haven't ever felt like it was a place I wanted to stay permanently.  Until I went to Kofu.

Kofu is still very agricultural.  There are rice fields everywhere, terraced up the hillsides.  The area is also famous for peaches and grapes, so there are orchards and vineyards.  Add to that the beautiful mountains surrounding, and you have all the desires of my heart - farmland and mountains.  I'm already making plans in my mind about when we can go back, and I want to weep at the thought of someday leaving Japan and never seeing Kofu again.  I'm smitten.

We took the ropeway to the top of Shosenkyo Gorge and went for a little hike from there.

I was basically in tears at this point.  I am terribly afraid of heights, and Mike took my little Beaver out to the ledge and set him there with the other kids for a picture.  I managed to pull myself together enough to take the picture after Mike promised to stay with Beaver.  It made for a nice picture, I confess, but I was terrified.

Later we went to a park that had all these fun pools to play in.  We told the kids not to get wet since we didn't have a change of clothes with us, but Annabelle slipped off a little raft and got soaked.  Miles followed soon after.  It was useless to try to keep them dry from that point.

This is one of the five lakes surrounding the base of Mt. Fuji.  Although you can't see it because of the clouds, Mt. Fuji is behind us.  At one point, the clouds parted for about 2 minutes, and we were able to catch a glimpse of the side of the mountain.

The next day, Rei and his boys had a baseball game.  In this picture, Rei is the umpire and his son Shin has just hit the ball.  I love watching little league.  Takes me back to my younger days.

We also stopped at a shrine near the ballpark.

And that is Kofu.  Merrill and the kids left for home on Saturday.  It was so fun to have them here and a great start to our summer.  Less than two weeks and we will be on a plane headed for the USA!