We had an appointment to meet the founder of the school, Father Takawa, who is 80 and a deeply venerated man. We met in the lobby of the school for instructions. Suzuki-san instructed us how to behave. We should sing out "ohayo gozaimas'" in a loud voice because Fr. Takawa is hard of hearing. We should tell him first that we want to help Yohane School's English program. Later, we should say that we are interested in Japanese culture. We should be very respectful.
Good, we can do that, and in fact would like to. We walked outside, around and up and down, and then back inside. While people were being ushered hither and yon, I bumped into Father Takawa in the hall. He's a very old man in an old fashioned floor-length priest's robe, with six or seven hairs on his leathery pate and a face that radiates peace and wisdom. He beamed, pumped my hand, patted me, and then composed himself into stiff formality for the actual meeting. Everything went as planned, except that Camilla and I hardly spoke. Mr. Suzuki said our lines for us. Probably safest all around.
We rushed back to general assembly, where we taught "This Land is Your Land" using pictures on the chalkboard and little skits with me wandering and rambling, or Camilla seeing endless skyways. I think the words are a little hard for the group, but they are eager students and very happy to sing.
We walked along overgrown sidewalks by the side of the dam. A maintenance crew is tackling it, mowing down to the dirt and a little below. We'd watched a flock of greenish-yellow sparrow-y things in the goldenrod yesterday, but today they are homeless. The slopes are very steep and all the many rivulets and runnels are brown with silt. We wonder about erosion. Why isn't everything full of deeply eroded channels? Is this kind of drastic mowing a new thing to the country? There are tiny blue butterflies, larger yellow ones, normal sized brown ones with frilly edges and black spots. There are leaf hoppers, crickets, a long, fat caterpillar the size of an index finger, and those major spiders.