Location: California, United States

There are no random acts. We are all connected. You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind. (the five people you meet in heaven)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Memories of a Life Past, Part II
和紙人形の先生・The Doll Teacher

The period of my life when I lived in Gifu was hectic. It didn’t necessarily have to be; it’s more that I chose for it to be that way. I spent most every weekend engaged in frantic activity, trying to make sure that I took advantage of the time that I would be there. I attended festivals, visited historic sites, went on cycling trips (the longest was almost three weeks), and jammed in time with friends. If I think about it now, it makes me a bit tired, but I am glad for all the opportunities I have had.

One activity that I participated in stands out among the rest. It was not only a hobby but a friendship. During the three years I was in Gifu, I spent many Saturdays at the home of the Doll Teacher learning how to make Washi Ningyo (和紙人形) or Japanese paper dolls.

I have fond memories of sitting in the classroom in her home spending hours making the dolls. The dolls are themselves gorgeous and don’t look like they’re made of paper, but the Sensei and her kindness are what made me determined to go as often as possible.

During my last months in Gifu, I would go at least once a week, often after work, in an attempt to make all the dolls in the collection. I succeeded, and it is something that the Sensei is proud of. I visit her each time I return to Gifu. This year she turned 80. It makes me sad as I see age mark her. I will always remember all the kindness she showed me, and she will always have a special place in my heart.


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