Monday, October 24, 2011

Mt. Fuji in the rain

This past weekend was our yearly choir retreat. Every year we take the music we will be learning and will present at "Choir Sunday" in early December and hold a retreat at the YMCA building in Gotemba, at the foot of Mt Fuji.

This year the weather forecast was rain, and indeed, it did begin sprinkling Friday night on the drive down from Tokyo. By Saturday morning we were having off and on heavy downpour. What is usually a very scenic spot was missing the usual fall color and lovely view.

We practiced hard all day Saturday and into Sunday until noon. There are a few very good musicians in the group. Most of us are only those who love to sing good music and will work hard to do our best to contribute to the success of the whole. There is a great feeling of sharing and camaraderie that is hard to find in groups that gather only Sunday morning or show up for a Thursday evening rehearsal once in a while.

I'm sure Mr Vivaldi was smiling down from above at what was happening to his lovely music.

There is a small chapel in the hills with a view of Fuji that might better any attempt at stained glass and we look forward to a small worship service there. But then, Sunday we saw no sign of anything but rain clouds.

Finally we packed up and started down the hill for our return to Tokyo. At the foot of the hill, just across from the YMCA entrance there is a small museum and coffee shop run by Kathy Nakajima. Here in Japan she is well known as a teacher and maker of Hawaiian quilts and other articles using traditional Hawaiian designs. I especially appreciate her work because in this day and age of quickie quilts, all her work is done by hand, and done expertly too. In a show of the 50 top Japanese teachers, many are machine pieced and quilted but I can count on hers to be all hand work and artistically designed. My riding companion suggested we stop for a quick look-see and we ended up sipping some coffee at a little table with hand-made mats as decoration and little quilts on the walls. AND... as we sat, the sun came out and what should appear but Mt Fuji, above the mist.

I had to pull the car over as we left the area toward the expressway to grab a shot. Even with power lines and buildings, Fuji-san can be an awesome sight.

If you recognize Japanese writing, you will see that many of the lines in the quilted block are up-side-down. Although that bothers me a bit, I am now thinking that it is like the rain lifting so Fuji-san will show.

Today the small group met to begin the ASIJ auction quilt and next week we will begin in earnest. Too bad I didn't have a camera with me to document the onset, fabrics laid out on the floor and pieces being arranged and re-arranged until they fell into place.

In this way it is not unlike the choir, each effort and idea combined for an outcome that will bring satisfaction to all. And so may it be.


  1. What a beautiful story. I feel your calm flow out through the screen in front of me. It is always a pleasure to visit and peek into your diary.

  2. beautiful photos Julie and love the inky blue colours in the block.

  3. It sounds as though you had a lovely relaxing weekend away even though you worked hard on the music. And what a bonus the coffee in such pleasnat surroundings and the view of Fuji-san at the end!

  4. What a lovely post and a wonderful ending with Fuji-san appearing out of the cloud.

  5. What an amazing place and your piece with the writing, gives the look of rain in a unique way.


  6. What a wonderful uplifting weekend! - Mary

  7. I loved seeing Mt. Fuji. The little quilt is a really nice piece and since I don't read Japanese I wouldn't have known there was anything upside down if you hadn't told me. :) I'm so glad you got away for a nice weekend - those often soothe the soul. blessings, marlene

  8. I love the idea of Vivaldi smiling from on high. I would love to see Mt. Fuji in person - it must be so awesome.

  9. Hi, Julie,
    I have visited before, but now my own daughter is living in Takayama, serving an LDS mission. Her companion is from Japan and speaks very little English! But she is loving it! Recently they had a service day, and the one thing she recognized in a room full of unfamiliar things, was a sewing machine. She sat down and sewed together whatever they handed to her. Love your little quilt and pictures today. Thanks for sharing a little glimpse with us!

  10. I so enjoyed your pictures and the one quilt...just lovely!