Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun...
We never intended this trip to be focused on rest due to the intense amount of travel and the many destinations within Japan that we wanted to see, but on this portion of our journey we received such rest and the timing couldn't have been more perfect.
The second part of our trip began with more train rides (one of my favorite modes of transportation), and ultimately the Shinkansen, the bullet train. Away from the enormous cities, past rice fields and temples, gliding through tunnels, and zooming past snow-capped mountains, we traveled up half of main land Japan to reach the area of Sendai, a city some may recognize after the tsunami hit in 2011.
(Behind this boat, there once sat a fishing village. It was completely swept away in 2011.)
"Takayama, Takayama, Takayama by the sea... All the year, we're longing for you, Takayama by the sea..." I'll go ahead and apologize for the plethora of pictures to come in this post. But then again, part of my heart is in these pictures. Takayama Beach Company has been a haven for missionaries for so many years. Old military cabins scattered over two mountains may not seem impressive to most; seaweed filled beaches, and long trails to cart your belongings to and from your car may not sound like a vacation. But for our family, cabin #7 was home for so many summers.
My mom and I wondered out loud why was this place so special. Maybe it's because even when houses changed growing up, there was always such comfort and security in coming back to Takayama (wise words from my mama). It was a place of childhood freedom, of rustic cabins with open windows, of spiders, hoppers, and mosquitoes, yet it always had a resemblance of home.
Our little cabin #7 is nothing to brag about now, but it was the prettiest cabin on Tak & To while it was under the care of my parents. Notice my dad still taking care of it by putting back a fallen storm covering. What a blessing that fallen door was though as we were able to glimpse inside and see the table my dad had built, the curtains my mom had sewn, and the wood stove my parents carried up that mountain over twenty years ago.
People have asked what my favorite part of the trip was... Where do I begin? Spending this time with my parents has to exceed them all. Walking the trails I walked with my dad to go fishing so many years ago, again with my family was priceless. Cooking meals with my mom, savoring some of our Japanese favorites, will never be forgotten.
Our three nights here provided a time of rest, as I mentioned before. Still trying to recover from jet lag and without a TV to entertain us, we were able to enjoy the simple things of UNO and other games, of puzzles and long walks, of fire pits and cool evenings, and a lot of time on the beach.
I will most likely never have another opportunity to return to Takayama by the sea, but the memories from my childhood and now the memories with my children are enough to last me a lifetime.