Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Week 60 - March 25-March 31, 2014

Wednesday we attended the Hanamirutaikai.  It was a picnic under the cherry (sakura) trees associated with our International Center Japanese Class (Kokusai Kouryou Kaikan karasu).  It was raining so the picnic ended up being held at the Kokusai Kouryou Kaikan on the fifth floor (go kai).  The picture is looking out a window on the fifth floor at the cherry blossoms on the castle grounds.
This is the sign for the dinner.  Kanji is beautiful when written but challenging for me to read.
Sakari on the river bank as we rode to the Kokusai Kouryou Kaidan on Wednesday.  They were beautiful to look at.
We enjoyed the sakara blossoms by the local bus stop were we drove missionaries to and from on transfer day which was Thursday.
I enjoyed the beautiful sunset from our balcony of Mt Kimbo.
We took the Elders to an appointment in Kumamoto outskirts.  We passed this stone bridge constructed using a Roman arch.  The construction is amazing.  This bridge is still used today.
Elder Koberstein and I picked up our oldest son at the airport in Fukuoka Friday evening.  It has been fun to have family visit in Japan.  The picture is at the International Terminal in Fukuoka.
The sakara blossoms were beautiful on Wednesday (suiyobi) when we were at the castle.  We did not think they would last another week so we braved the rain on Saturday for all the castle activities along with many other people.
This pictures was taken from to top floor on the main tower.  To your right is pictured the Honmarugoten, which is the building used for government but also as the living area for the local lord and rooms for visitors and areas to entertain.  This building had 53 rooms or 1570 tatami mats before it burned down.  The reconstruction of the area begin 2003..
A Koberstein samurai warrior in front of the main tower of the castle.
Beautiful art work is displayed inside the Honmarugoten.  I think these must be in the rooms used for entertainment of guests.
This was a group preforming in the Honmarugoten.  They are playing traditional musical instruments called koto.  The koto has thirteen strings.  The music was beautiful..
Many different groups were preforming around the castle and in competitions.
The cherry blossoms were beautiful even in the rain.  It was hard to tell if we went for the cherry blossoms or to see the castle.  Both were very enjoyable.
We toured the Uto Yagura (Uto Tower).  It is the one and only existing tower at Jynaniti Castle that was not burn down during the Seinan conflict (1877) and subsequent battles. It has deep dry moats around its west and north sides.  The height of the stone wall is about 20 meters and the tower is about 19 meters tall, making it quite practical for battles.
This tower did not have as many people in it which was nice.
We were fascinated by the place to shoot out of and the part of the wall that would have been visible to the shorter.
Picture from the top looking at a wall that was being repaired.  The stone walls are stone on the outside and dirt filled on the inside.
As we left the castle it was interesting to see the water falls as water ran off the castle grounds. They were fun and beautiful.
Dinner was shabu shabu.  We cooked it all in one pot and enjoyed it together.
Monday we visited the 400 year old cherry tree on south Mount Aso.  I did not realize Cherry trees could live that many years.

We then visited Aso.  It has been on a stage 2 alert which means it was throwing out rocks.  We attempted to drive up when we first got to Aso and were turned back as the mountain was being closed.  We then decided to go shopping and while shopping the volcano opened again so we went to the top.  It was throwing out lots of bad gas and they had loud speaker warnings for people with asthma and heart problems not to go to the observation points.  We were able to look.  It had changed from the beautiful blue water we saw a year ago to a smoking belching volcano.
There is Aso.
Kome-zuka Mound of Mt Aso.  It is a small cinder cone.  I think it looks like an upside down rice bowl.  This was visable from the road as we drove back to Kumamoto.
We enjoyed ramen at Bunryu.  We call it the dragon ramen shop.  It was fun to share this place with our son.  It was a different experiment to order our meal without help from the younger missionaries.  As you can see we were successful!  

Scripture of the Week:
Ether 12:4
Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

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