Tadahiro & Kuro Uesugi
Walk in the park to the Uesugi residence. It was starting to snow.
Welcome back. We had visited the Uesugi's over a year ago and last year they came over to see us for the "3 Trees" exhibit. Both meetings were such a landmark event for me and, I don't think I'm being presumptuous, for Enrico as well. Not because of the magnitude of artist that Tadahiro is, though that should go without saying, but because they are awesome people. Damn lucky to call them friends.
Tadahiro and Kuro met us at the station and after a short cab ride and walk through a calm park we were at their home again. Visiting is such a treat, we get to hand them gifts we've prepared over the weeks leading up to the trip and we get to catch up on their lives since we saw them last.
Kuro, ever the capable partner to Tadahiro had baked apple pie. To the side was a spindle. See, she makes her own thread--and weaves them into blankets! The pie was awesome and I asked for another slice. She cautioned me that we were going to dinner and might ruin my appetite. We were to have a French dinner at one of their favorite restaurants. I almost insisted.
The last picture is an unfortunate snap obscuring Enrico. Funny, really. He's a disembodied head on a basket. Fitting for a place that has razor sharp samurai swords on the walls. Top right corner image of cat logo cuffing her young. I asked Kuro about it because it reminded me of Kiki's Delivery Service. Actually, she says, it is the logo for a delivery service. A Fedex of sorts. This company was actually an investor in that very film. Whoa, that makes so much sense.
Okay, now by the time our stay in Japan is done we will meet them every day and have dinner with them almost every night, so made good use of catching up. Let's see, after the French dinner (awesome), we headed off to Samurai Bar (Samurai master was not there but Mrs. Samurai was). Another night we went to what is reputed to be the best sushi in Tokyo. A little hole in the wall place barely able to hold a dozen people. The sushi master has had this very same place longer than I've been alive. The sushi (I really should not be writing this at lunch, making me hungry) is out of this world. I tried it all and I'm not that adventurous, but the sushi is mind-blowingly good! I mean, the quality of the fish and other critters served were shopped personally by the sushi master so it danced glorioiusly on the pallete. THIS is why sushi is such a no-brainer. All the other times one can be put off by low quality sushi is unfortunate. Ack! I'm ruined forever for other sushi.
We had such a great time with our hosts, The Tamori's and Uesugi's, they are so good to us. How can a guy not be smitten with this place? As it is Japan is an amazing feast for the senses but on top of that the people are so genuine and hospitable (more on the Tamori's next post).
Kuro and Tadahiro at the bus station to see us off. The shot from the plane window shows Mount Fuji poking through the clouds off in the distance. Sayonara.
At the end of our stay, Enrico and I are more than a little sad to see our little compact vacation come to an end. We trudge to the bus station, luggage in tow, to get on a final bus ride to Narita. As we round the corner we are surprised in a burst of hellos by the Uesugi's! Come to see us off and bearing snacks for our trip. Awww, man, they are so awesome to be thinking about us at every turn. We say our goodbyes there and they promise to come and see us by summer. We get on the bus and wave to them. They both stand there waving to us as the bus pulls away, not move from that spot until the buildings hide them from view. Sigh.
Man, can't wait to come back already.
We found some unscheduled time to browse a bookstore. Didn't find as many goodies like last time but I did find this cover by Tadahiro. I showed it to him to sign. He was elated but also started to say, in Japanese, that I really shouldn't spend the money buying his covers. Kuro translates that had they known they would have just given me a copy. I wanted to be part of the cycle of appreciating his work, I wanted to say. He drew on the cover and signed it. The ink stayed wet and we smudged it, so he did another inside the book. Nice, eh?