The Leaves Changing Red and Yellow

Written and translated into English by Miyoko Uchiyama

We -- Carmel, Yoko, Hiromu, Yoshi and I -- went to the mountainside in Hiroshi's car to see the trees' Autumnal leaves changing red and yellow.

First of all, we went to the Lerch Ski Museum. Carmel hadn't experienced skiing, so Hiromu explained to her about the history of skiing as well as how to ski. The remaining four of us discussed the English language education. Yoko's unique method of how she came to understand and speak English, after long struggle, was really interesting. When we went upstairs at the Lerch Ski Museum, the desk which Mr. Lerch used in Austria was displayed. The wooden desk was designed in European style. On the right-hand side of the top of the desk, the face of the king was carved and on the reverse side was the face of the queen. On the both sides of the desk, imaginary animals, similar to an eagle, were also carved. They were a real eye opener.

In the next room, there are a couple of ski game machines. Hiroshi and I put 100 yen into one of the machines and began the game. I couldn't follow the high speed of the game. I grasped the ski stock firmly and moved my weight right and left, but it was only in vain. I crashed through the fence, bounced off many poles and rolled down into the valley. I almost died 5 or 6 times, but strangely enough, I found I was alive. When I finished the game and looked at Hiroshi, I found he was a quite expert skier, because he finished the game quietly and without the fuss which I did.

When we left the museum, it was raining. We got on the car and had some tea . Yoko prepared hot tea and some cookies. After warming up our body with hot tea, we set off for Ikenotaira.

We were very relaxed in the car because Hiroshi is such a professional driver. On our way there, we were joking a lot, with Yoshi commenting both in fluent English and Japanese as if it was like we were in Rod's car in Australia.

Hiromu was 30 years old when he went to the U.S.A to study English. According to his analysis, 30 years old is a little bit late to master a foreign language. In the case of Yoshi, he was in his twenties, which was just about perfect. In my case it was in my thirties (during a home stay). When I said I didn't think it was too late, Hiromu answered,
"When it comes to a talkative lady, it's out of the question."
Since then, whenever they talked to me about "the talkative lady", it was used like a prefix. I was teased so much that Hiromu gave me a sweet candy to shut me up. Carmel was listening to this noisy banter, smiling throughout.

At Ikenodaira
At Ikenotaira
from left to right: Yoko, Carmel, and Hiroshi

In spite of the rainy day, when we reached the foot of the mountain, we could still see the top of some small mountains. The rain stopped and the sun shined through from time to time. When Carmel looked at this scenery, she asked us how to express this situation in Japanese. At first Yoko answered with a simple Japanese expression . Later Hiromu took out an electronic dictionary and explained about not only the scenery but about also Japanese autumn. His explanation became more and more difficult until he referred to "Kinshu." Anyway Carmel understood the simple version rather than the difficult explanation because she actually saw the beautiful mountain scenery .

Suddenly someone asked me to make "Haiku." I am a member of Haiku class for beginners. When we arrived at Ikenotaira, the mountain gave me the inspiration for Haiku.

   My mother's Obi belt
    Woven as beautiful as autumn mountain


When we walked around the pond, I saw Carmel's finger was moving like she was playing the piano. I asked her what she was doing. She answered just, "Haiku."

   I am enjoying beautiful autumn of Japan
    With Japanese friends


We clapped our hands with joy. This must be the essence of international exchange. Yoko also composed a Haiku, too.

   Seeing leaves of trees
   Changing red and yellow
    With Australian friends


We also clapped our hands. Carmel looked so glad to hear Yoko's Haiku.

Then we were bound for "Arai Mountain and Snow Park." When we went into an Italian restaurant, coincidently we met Priest Canducci and said hello to him. Just after we were seated, Hiroshi asked whether this restaurant was a high class one or not. Hiromu was kidding as it is located 55m above sea level, so it is called a high class restaurant. I really understood how important a sense of humor was for good communication.

As Yoshi likes this Italian restaurant and is familiar with the way of ordering, he ordered a hors d' oeubre, pizza and pasta. These dishes spiced with a sense of humor were quite delicious.

   In autumn evening
    We left the mountain
    With lovely memories