Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A little seasick

Every year our group of missionaries takes some time out of our busy schedules for some time of study and refreshment.  Since we are a small group, it is a bit like a family vacation!

Last month, the seven of us on the field took a trip to Hokkaido.  We studied the life of Ayako Miura, a Christian Japanese writer.  Since she was born and raised in Hokkaido, specifically, Asahikawa, we decided to travel there.

On Monday evening we boarded the Taiheiyo Ferry in Nagoya for the two day trip to Tomakomai, Hokkaido.

The first night the seas were a bit rough and five of the seven of us had stomachs that did not react to that well!  We were thankful for the two who did not get sick and their willingness to take care of us-which included sleeping on the lobby floor for one of these helpers!

Morning brought calmer seas and stomachs, some time to relax, and a jazz concert in the lobby.
Our group can be seen in the background
(This is also where a few of our group slept the night before!)
Upon arrival in Tomakomai, we headed to Sapporo for ramen followed by a tour of Hokkaido University, lead by Yuri's dad via Skype!
Headed to the building where Yuri's dad studied
It was a beautiful campus filled with trees and wide open spaces!
We toured the botanical gardens and Ainu museum.  Then we drove to Asahikawa.

In the morning we headed to Shiokari Pass.  This is the name of one of Ayako Miura's books about a young man who sacrifices his life to save a train-full of people.  The book is based on a true story.
We enjoyed some time in nature trying to get our fill of mountain air, flowers, trees, pinecones, etc.
Then we headed back to Asahikawa to the Ayako Miura Literature Museum where we had an appointment with Mr. Miura.  We had a lovely tour and talk with Mr. Miura, hearing stories of their life together as they sought to share God's love through their lives and writing.
Another of Miura's books is called "Freezing Point" in English.  Next to the museum is the woods that were used for the setting of the book.  We spent some more time enjoying nature, trees, the river, animals, etc.  (Since this was the book I read, I was especially excited to visit the woods!)
In the car on the way back to Sapporo we had a wonderful sing-a-long with all the good old songs from Sunday school days, some of the songs were not known by all!

Friday morning we visited with a lady who is a friend of the Miuras and has translated some of Ayako's books into English.  Then we headed to to the Winter Sports Museum where we tried ski jumping, figure skating, bobsledding, and other winter sports.
Then we went to the top of the ski jump used in the 1972 Sapporo Olympics and is still used today.  We also ate the best soft cream in Sapporo at the top of the mountain!  It really was good!

The ferry ride back to Nagoya was less eventful!  We enjoyed some time of karaoke followed by a time of communion together.
 It was an amazing trip with lots of laughter, learning, love and a little seasickness!


Lori said...

Ah what a joy to get away to refresh, worship, relax, learn, and enjoy. So glad you had an opportunity to take a "vacation" with your "family" those times are precious and bond us in ways we could never imagine.
Keep up the God work.

McMGrad89 said...

Despite the seasickness, it appears to be a beautiful trip and relaxing time. I am glad you get plenty of time to get away with "family."