Monday was a very important day for us. It was one of the reasons mom needed to come on this trip. She needed to make sure the translations would be accurate for Art who understands very little Japanese.
Several generations ago, Art's grandfather (a second son) left Hiroshima to come to Hawaii. Back in those days, the eldest son inherited the family farm and all the other children needed to find their own way. It's very much like the English system. After several generations nobody in Hawaii knew what happened to the family in Hiroshima or where they even lived. It wasn't until one of Art's cousins researched the genealogy of the family while doing Mormon missionary work in Tokyo that he discovered the long lost relatives. Other cousins had since made contact but Art, as one of the few male members carrying the name had always wanted to see what the family homestead looked like. It was a very moving experience.
We started the day with a gorgeous sunrise over Miyajima.
We had a very nice, not fancy but substantial breakfast at the Coral Hotel.
We took the train to Hiroshima Station and transferred to the Kabe line which is a town on the outskirts of Hiroshima.
One of the first things we did was to pay our respects to the family ancestors at the home altar.
I was surprised to find that they had terrific Internet connection so I could show them my blog! I also have their e-mail so the Hiroshima and Hawaii families can now always reach each other in an instant.
Here is Hiroyuki whose father is the one who inherited the farm comparing cameras with Dennis. Coincidentally, they had the very same camera.
We made a discovery here that the mon (family crest) we always thought was our crest was NOT. Hiroyuki showed us his father's picture proving what is supposed to be the real crest on his kimono.
Hiroyuki showed us where the graves of his family are buried. There are too many stories of discovery here to share at this time.
I spotted this gorgeous rose in front of their house.
When Hiroyuki learned that Art loved persimmons, he picked several from his tree to have Art taste. He said that too many people had persimmon trees in the neighborhood that it was not considered very special. Many people didn't even bother to pick them all. Sigh...
Mayumi and Kayo are Hiroyuki and Setsuko's daughters. Mayumi arrived with gifts for us. We were surprised and extremely touched by her kindness and generosity. She even had gifts for us to give to our friends and relatives in Hawaii. She is a middle school home economics teacher. I already know her students must love her.
Here's a family photo with the translator in the middle.
Here's the family homestead from afar. You can see their forest in the background. Hiroyuki and Setsuko told us that it is filled with deer, monkeys and tanuki that love to raid their garden and are fat, strong, big and healthy unlike the deer at Miyajima.
We bumped into Hiroyuki later working on the rice he'd harvested. He said we would be eating rice he'd harvested last year and these grains would be next year's supply. He was surprised that we wanted to take so many photos of this. We have a new appreciation for rice and the work it takes to grow it.
Chanel is a papilion breed of dog. He is very, very smart and well trained. He wanted desperately to come into the bedroom but knew he wasn't allowed there. He just waited patiently wagging his tail.
Setsuko is a fabulous cook! She spent much of her time in the kitchen creating fabulous dishes. Hiroyuki got to cook the sukiyaki at the table and it was incredible. Setsuko had added matsutake mushrooms from their own forest. We'd seen matsutake mushrooms in Tokyo selling for $90.00 for a couple!!! Seriously!
This was a day we would always remember!