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Dear Samurai

Dear Samurai - Aiko & boys ...

The news from Toge - It just gets better & better ...

The swallows have left the nest and are making trial flights backwards and forwards in the hallway

We have been for an Onsen with Komi san, Junko , Kucho san, Izuru san & gang. It was a new Onsen to us (& seems even to them as we got lost!) and the ladies were one side of a Bamboo wall and the lads the other - they had been there for some time when we arrived (drinking) and serenaded us with improvised versions of "Hoi saka hoi" apparently with words pertinent to the Onsen - Komi san sang back. All this after they took us out for dinner too ...

We even had ice cream at the end made from rice - it doesn't get much better as a night out.

We have now made friends with the man who runs the swimming pool and he lets us in after hours when we have the whole place to ourselves, it's a bit like Hollywood in the mountains as Karen keeps her sunglasses on.

Our afternoon of bonding with the village ladies over the 'sheilds of Toge' with some marker pens (& Aiko's powers of persuasion!) has bought about a gentle revolution in house life. The door to the village is now even further open, the hallway is a shop (buy rice and you get cucumbers free), we pass hours engaged in communal craft activities & Junko has practically become a Samurai.

Yesterday we all made those material shoes that the village were selling in Tokyo. Karen and I's initial efforts - a pair of small misshaped child's shoes - bought about much hilarity.

Tim your yellow T shirt has been recycled into shoes.

The only thing to interrupt the idyll is the constant stream of visitors, they come by the coach load now & seem to like the chaos of our shoe making etc. later today we're trying to move into communal model painting. I'm not sure if mould making has been quite 'the start of an incredible journey' (to quote Lilliput) but we do have some fairly credible cottages to decorate.

The Toge rice is walking off the low table.

Even the Triennial drumming event was quite a laugh as we went with the Toge gang. Cha Cha Cha man broke away from our rather sedentary party and practically jogged across the middle of a rice field to join the action when a French Samba band came on.

Kondo bought round a TV but there seems to be no way to tune it to the DVD player.

We play the DVD of the Ikebukuro live feed on a loop on the laptop - much to the hilarity of the village ladies, we've spent a lot of time laughing at the shaman routine but also admiring your legs Marcus in those kitten heels.

Must go a second shoe workshop seems to be happening spontaneously and Mitsuko san is dismantling the screens between the two rooms main rooms.

VERY hot here, missing you all ...

N & K

Our 'shields of Toge' Ladies afternoon!

Shoe making workshop