The Day I Think of My Aunt

March 3rd is Girls Day in my country, Japan. This is the day to celebrate girls for their good health and happy life. We decorate Hina dolls in the house for this day. I have my own Hina dolls which was a gift from my aunt when I was little. The dolls are very small and I wanted bigger dolls which my friends had back then. However, I thought these tiny dolls are very special and I became to love them when I got older. I think of my aunt when I see Hina dolls.

My aunt was a career woman and never married. She built a big house and took care of her parents/my grandparents there. Since she had money and time, she often went to a trip to America or Europe and always brought me a gift from different countries. This was in 1970s and there weren’t many people to go on a trip abroad around me, so my aunt was really cool to me. I loved to hear the story of English guard soldiers in London or a sculpture in a French museum. Her souvenirs are a Holland doll wearing a traditional costume, a beautiful scarf, a beautiful peacock image on leather, and so on. One time, I remember that my mother and I went to Haneda airport with my aunt to see her off to another trip to abroad. It was really cool to ride a monorail and I was so fascinated with the city view to see from high up in the monorail.

The Hina dolls always made me think how she was generous and kind. Since she was single and had no her own child, she might love me as her own child. Maybe because I was her first niece out of 3 nieces and 7 nephews. It passed many years since then and I now live in America. Although my daughter left home and live independently, I decorate Hina dolls every year to celebrate and pray for my daughter’s good health and happiness and thank my aunt who gave me these beautiful Hina dolls.

今年も3月3日、ひな祭りがやってきましたね。我が家には私が小さい頃に伯母がプレゼントしてくれた小さな雛人形があります。子供の頃は友達が持っていた大きな七段飾りの雛人形に憧れたものでした。でも今はこの小さな伯母からもらった特別な雛人形がこの上なく好きで大切に思います。そしてひな祭りにはいつも伯母のことを思い出します。

伯母は一生独身でキャリアウーマンでした。自分で家を建てそこで私の祖父母でもある両親の面倒もみていました。経済的にも時間的にも余裕があったのでしょう。よくハワイ、ロスアンジェルス、ヨーロッパなどの海外旅行へ出かけてました。そしていつもいろいろな国のお土産を買ってきてくれたものです。私が子供の頃の1970年代、私の周りに海外旅行に行く人などいませんでした。だから私にとってそんな伯母の存在は何か特別で大切なものでした。

私は伯母が話してくれたイギリスの近衛兵の話やフランスの美術館の話など自分でその情景を思い浮かべながら聞いていました。もらったお土産はオランダの伝統衣装を着た人形、綺麗な模様のスカーフ、孔雀が描かれた皮製の飾りなど。一度、海外旅行へ出発する伯母を見送るために母と伯母と3人で羽田空港へ行ったことがあります。モノレールに初めて乗って上から見る都会の景色がとても印象的で子供の私には忘れられない思い出になりました。

雛人形を見る度に伯母がどれだけ私を可愛がってくれてたかを思い出します。きっと独身で自分の子供を持たなかったためかなと。また、私は数多い甥っ子の中で数少ない姪っ子、しかも初めての姪っ子だったからなのかなと思う事もあります。

あの頃から本当に長い時間が経ち、私は今アメリカに住んでいます。私の娘は成人して家を出ていきましたが、毎年この雛人形を飾って娘の健康と幸せを願っています。そして伯母に感謝の気持ちを。

Winter Hike

Surprisingly it was sunny when I got up last Saturday morning in February. My husband and I immediately started to think of a plan on that day. We don’t want to miss any outdoor activity on a sunny day especially in winter. After we thought about 15 minutes, we decided to go to Poo Poo Point where is 30 minutes drive from our house.

This was the 2nd time we hiked this mountain. The last time was in fall a few years ago, and we took our dogs to the hike. Although we had to carry our dogs through the entire hike, we were still glad to see the dogs were happily playing in the meadow on top of the mountain. However, my husband and I agreed to go hiking just two of us this time.

When we arrived a trailhead, we could see the snow on top of the mountain and we didn’t expect that. The trail was fine to walk easily in the beginning, but it got muddy a little because of the melting snow. It was cold and the air was clean and fresh. The fresh air was so good to our heated body from the hike. The more we went up to higher elevation, the more snow we could see on the trees. It was so beautiful with the white snow on the green moss on the trees. I’ve never hiked in the snow before and it was a completely new experience and I loved it. Well, there was not much snow in the trail so it was fine.

About one hour later, we made to top of the mountain and the view was beautiful. There were clouds and the sun peeked a little. The low clouds made the view mysterious and even more beautiful. My husband and I played with snow and took some pictures, then we headed to the other side of top of the mountain.

The other side offers another beautiful view with less clouds. This place is also popular for paragliding. People hike and fry from this spot. I was able to see the moment of the frying with other hikers and it was amazing the blue paraglide frying in the white snow. The cold fresh air, beautiful snow view, and colorful paraglider made me so happy and I am glad we came to this mountain to hike. It was a happy day to discover unexpected beautiful views.

2月の最後の土曜日の朝、起きたら予期せぬ晴れの天気予報。なかなか冬場にお天気の良い週末が巡ってくることは少ないのですぐに旦那と山へハイクに行こう決めました。家から車で30分ぐらいのプープーポイントという登山トレイルへ。実はこの山は今回2回目の登山。前回は2年前の秋に二匹の愛犬を連れ立って。でも足の短いダックスフンドにはちょっと登山は無理。結局、ずっとバックパックに入れて背負って登山をしました。でもあの子達が山頂の野原で楽しそうに遊んでるのを見たら疲れも吹っ飛び連れてきてまあ良かったかなと。でも今回は旦那も私も犬抜きで行こうと意見一致。

登山の入り口のトレイルヘッドに着くと驚いたことになんと山の上の方はまだ2週間前に降った雪がまだ残っていた。登り初め、雪は全く無く問題無し。途中から雪解けのためかトレイルは所々で泥でビチャビチャになっていた。そしてだんだん雪が木々の上やトレイルの脇に見え始めた。上に登り続けるにつれ体は熱くなり汗が。冷たく透き通った山の空気のなんと気持ちのいいこと。

1時間程で山頂に着きました。山の下では晴れていたけれど山頂からの景色は低い霧のような雲が所々に立ち込め、雲の切れ間から太陽が顔をのぞかせてるよう。でもその景色がなんか幻想的でとても綺麗でした。しばらくそこで旦那と雪で遊んだり、写真を撮ったりして同じ山頂の違う側へ向かいました。ここは先の場所より雲が少なく下の景色が良く見えました。またここはパラグライダーの人気スポットでパラグライダーの人達はここまで登って飛び立ちます。私たちの他にもたくさんのハイカー達が見物していました。真っ白の雪の中での色鮮やかな数々のパラグライダーたち。本当に綺麗でした。朝、この山に行こうと決めた時、まさか雪が残ってるなんて、まして雪の中でのパラグライダーが見れるなんて思ってもいなかったのでなんか余分に得した気分になりました。小さな幸せを少し多めにもらった感じです。