Monday, May 29, 2017

Day 3 - Gotemba, Beaverton's Sister City - First Concert

After a couple of very busy days in Narita and Tokyo, the group boarded the buses and headed for Gotemba (Beaverton's Sister City) today.  It was still an action packed day.  The drive from Narita to Gotemba was specatacularly beautiful,..lush, fertile ground, lots of gardens and farming.  The landscape was very reminiscent of Oregon, with a little more bamboo and a whole lot more rice fields.  It was so exciting the first time Mount Fuji came into view.

We had lunch at Takumi no Sato near the  Mount Fuji Visitor's Center--Fujisan Juko no Mori--for lunch.  The delicious menu:

  • Fresh made Soba noodles
  • Dipping sauce for the noodles including chopped chives and wasabi
  • Tempura (vegetables and shrimp) with dipping sauce. 

The choir broke out in Shenandoah as we were being served lunch, which turned out to be helpful practice for tonight's performance.

After lunch there was a demonstration on how to make fresh soba noodles.  

 They let a couple of us slice the noodles (Andrea Wood)

Then on to the tea house, the former Ishida residence, to sample green tea and a treat made from Adzuki beans.

Then on to the Mt. Fuji Visitors Center for a movie about the history of Mount Fuji.
Next we were whisked away to the beautiful Gotemba Kogen Hotel.  We had 30 minues to check in before we had to be on the bus with all of our performance gear to go to the performance center for the rehearsal.

The concert hall was beautiful.  We had a great rehearsal.

 The concert started at 6:30 pm and completed at 8:30 pm.  It was wonderful singing the Japanese songs at the end of the program with the various Gotemba performing groups.  It was an honor for both Sister Cities to sing together.  Stephen was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers at the end of the concert.

From Mollie Williams' facebook post (she said it so well):
Last night we had the opportunity to sing with 13 choirs all from Gotemba.  We performed our concert for them, then they joined us on stage to sing 2 Japanese songs.  The ages ranged from young to old and the power of that many voices singing together was overwhelming and beautiful.  The people here are so welcoming and kind.  I will cherish these moments forever.

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