Thursday, June 07, 2007

Day 17 - 10 hours of travel time and 7 changes of vehicle - wow!

Our next leg of the trip was to visit my cousin Miyuki and her family in Mashiko. Kanchan was going to travel with us part of the way, and Miyuki’s sister, Minori, was joining us in Tokyo. We took a final group photo (including Riki!)

Kouichisan had to work so he said his farewells as the bus left.

Don’t forget, Takayama is Japan’s Tibet, so it takes a while to get to Tokyo. We had to leave Takayama at 6:30 am and weren’t due to get to Mashiko until 5:00 pm! We took a bus that went through amazing scenery and the skinniest roads we’ve ever seen.

When we arrived at Shinjuku station in Tokyo, we had no idea what a special stop we were at.

We met up with Minori and had a Chinese lunch at a department store.

We made a stop on one of the legs to visit my mom’s aunt who lives alone near one of the stations. Although we didn’t have pictures, it was nice for Rob to meet another member of the family.

Kanchan came with us to the next stop, where we all took photos. Mama joked that people would think they were celebrities with all of the flashes popping.

One of the most common sights we’ve seen in our travels – people getting some sleep on the trains.

It's a good thing Minori came with us - she kept checking train schedules on the train and kept track of our complicated journey. For one transfer, she told us calmly we had three minutes to get to the next train. We had to run to catch it, but we did it! We had to transfer one more time before getting to the last train – a one car train that acted more like a bus than a train.

My mom, Minori and I took the opportunity to catch up and have a laugh.

When we arrived in Mashiko, Miyuki and her husband, Kinta, picked us up. We went to their house, where their son Souichi took us for a tour. There was a cool catwalk on the second floor that led to Souichi’s art room.

Souichi shared one of his art pieces.

Souichi has a younger sister as well, Hiyori. I hadn’t seen Miyuki since her wedding, so it was so much fun to meet her kids as well as get a chance to eat some of her delicious cooking. The whole family was entertainment personified, between the crying, laughing, and clowing around.

All in all, a wonderful start to our short time in Mashiko.

Next – exploring Mashiko with two insiders.


goosefairy said...

the scenery, as usual, gorgeous. and, awwwww, check out the lower lip on that little cutie! has anyone told her that if she keeps sticking that lower lip out she might step on it? what a wonderful family you have.

yumi said...

What great scenic pictures. It's so great to see the family pictures.