Thursday, 18 October 2012

Norio and Kuniko

Norio-san and Kuniko-san graciously gave up their weekend of October 13-14, 2012 to host and entertain us. Norio-san works for a ski lift company and Kuniko-san, who likes to ski met Norio-san through his work. Kuniko-san is the daughter of Yayoi's cousin who is currently living in Shin-Osaka. About thirty years ago as we visited Osaka, Kuniko-san took Yayoi, myself and our two boys to Kyoto and set us up in a hotel there. Earlier this year Kuniko-san had planned to take us to Nara, but when the weather news indicated a fresh snowfall in Kyoto, she contacted us and the three of us were off to see Kyoto in the snow. This is a rare treat and we were definitely not the only ones to see Kyoto that day. Click Kyoto to see the Picasa photographs.
The two appear to be a well adjusted couple who have survived living in the mountains of Otari Village for 8 years. Kuniko-san is a city girl who married a mountain boy and this may have enhanced the bond of Debbie-san and Kuniko-san as the foreigner and city girl lived as neighbours in Otari village and adjusted to life far away from the city. Both ladies were quite noticeable by the residents of this small village, but I suspect both were accepted and well liked. Both Norio-san and Ryoji-san share the same surname and are probably descendants of brothers hundreds of years ago.
Kuniko-san's work tends to be during the week at school, while Norio-san's follows the tourist trends with weekends being busier. He gets up very early and leaves the town of Omachi where they currently live to go to work in the mountains. He has been responsible for the upper end of the lift and when it shut down at the end of the day he had to find his own way down the snow covered mountain. Well, of course, you ski down and probably in the dark. The slope he skied down has the reputation of being the longest ski slope in Japan measuring 8km.
We drove through the mountains to Otari village, but Norio-san says he used to walk through the mountains to get to school. He cannot remember how long it took, so I suggested he got to school in time for lunch. In high school he had a motorcycle to go to school. I suspect there was a bit of envy at that school.


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