Kyoto and Izumo Friends

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Three of our "daughters" led us on a wonderful tour of Kiyomizudera in Kyoto.  From left to right: Sachiyo Yoshida (nursing student), Kayo Yoshida (pharmacist and our Kyoto Boss) and Haruna Tanaka (teacher).  You know who is in the back. We took a photo of a couple from Turkey and they in turn took our photo.  The ladies declared "Ichi nichi, ichi zen!" and explained that each day you should do a good deed for someone else. We all joined the crowds checking out the tokens for good luck.  Haruna posed for Steve with a very happy smile. Our Kyoto Boss chose a wonderful restaurant for lunch, not far from Kiyomizudera - she knew we would spend the entire monring there!  We ate every delicious mouthful of gyoza and side dishes. Haruna and I traded teaching stories, which greatly amuzed our dear friend Rinako Kamei who joined us for lunch and stayed with us for the afternoon.  Dr. Kamei is from Osaka and is a UC graduate in computer programming. Later in the afternoon the crew stopped at a Starbucks next to Sanjobashi.  We enjoyed our coffee on a deck overlooking the Kamo river.  A hostess seated us and gave us a brochure explaining that the tradition of these decks dates back over 200 years.  It also included directions for enjoying the deck. Haruna's boyfriend, Shota (schedules television advertising), joined us for dinner.  We enjoyed a fantastic dinner - four maybe five courses?  We were talking and joking so much we lost count.  We were in our own private dining room so we didn't annoy the other diners.  We wanted to eat dinner out on the deck, but we would have had to make reservations one month ahead! Kiyoshi (Shimane Department of Agriculture) and Sachi Imaoka were our wonderful hosts in Izumo.  Sachi taught Japanese at UC and knows many of our "daughters."  She returned to her hometown of Izumo and in January 2007 married Kiyoshi who she originally met in high school. We enjoyed a visit with Sachi's mother in their lovely old home.  This garden was the pride of her father and we had a beautiful view from the dining room. Sachi has led a very interesting life.  In her younger days she and her friends traveled around Japan on motorcycles.  She still rides ocassionally.  Go Sachi! Sachi teaches Japanese to American who are teaching English in the local high schools.  She also teaches English to elementary students.  In her spare time she is starting a business growing herbs for local restaurants. Her favorite coffee shop now features one of her Italian herbs in their sandwiches.  We enjoyed the complex but not quite bitter taste as we looked out at the beach. Helen ordered lemon tea and was charmed by the method of presentation, so she captured its beauty with this photo. We posed for photos with the shop's owner, Mr. Okada.  He's living his dream, with a shop on a beautiful seacoast.  The great weather and the sweeping views made us linger.