On August 12, 2012 at 0600h we met Hiroko who is a childhood friend of Yayoi. They have known each other since they were four years old. About that time Hiroko's parents had a barbershop which was also their home. Yayoi's family rented the house next door. Hiroko's brother's wife is still operating the barber shop and one of the future BLOGs will show Yayoi and I getting haircuts in the barbershop in Komatsu, Yamagata.
Hiroshi and Hiroko have two daughters, the younger with her husband and three children are living together with them. I suspect there are not as many three generation families as in the past. What we saw of this family impressed us favourably. There is a teenage son dealing with hormones and a brain that is reorganizing to deal with life's challenges, a much younger son that admires big brother, while big brother pretends to just barely tolerate little brother. The little sister we suspect controls everything and everyone around her.
We were treated graciously by the entire family. Little brother, towards the end of our brief visit, wondered why we couldn't stay with them permanently. Two mornings at 0630h we joined a group that we suspect Hiroko organized. It consisted of young grandchildren and adults that were mostly grandparents. From all directions a group of twenty to thirty people converged on a small park nearby. Hiroko brings a small radio which broadcasts instructions for performing early morning "taiso" or exercises. The second morning at one point in my clumsy attempts at following the rest of the group I glanced at Hiroko and granddaughter and noticed that little sister was watching me intently. I just knew I was failing that evaluation. Later on the walk back home I told Yayoi about this and asked her to ask little sister whether she thought I had been doing okay. Little sister very tactfully replied "I don't know what you are talking about".
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