September 12th, 2011

Ryuoko Yoshihara is my grand aunt who I never met until yesterday. She lives in a 'group home' in Kanagawa-ken in Japan on the outskirts of Tokyo. She is 90 years old and as far as I know never ever left Japan, she has a fear of air travel.

We were visiting her home which she shared with Jyunji Yoshihara. He passed a few years ago and now the house sits empty but is the same as the day he left it.

My grandma's other sister Fuyoko was going through the closet and started pulling out Ryuko's old art works that were mostly rolled into one narrow wooden box and a few were framed. There was at least a dozen of them.

I took notice that they were mostly mountain ranges and when one of the Hakuba 3 peaks surfaced I was taken back. The 3 peaks are fairly famous for mountain types in Japan. Last year I rode off the top of all 3 over a 2 week period, this year I went up again and just today I took my mother into the range so she could see it for her self.

While I was starring in delight at her drawings I was lost in the moment. This was the first time I had ever met any of my family in Japan. I knew Japan was always special but I thought it only went as deep as my family being from here, for the most part they are all from the south coast and far from where where I live now. So when I learned that 50 years ago my grand aunt was painting the mountains I now ride and can see from my house with a pretty similar view as the one below, it was a pretty good feeling.

I don't really question my reasons for leaving Canada, but those moments over the weekend put some convincing light onto why I ended up here.

I don't know all the locations if any one does recognize any (other than Fuji) please let me know.