A Blissful Visit with a Good Friend

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitzer

There are so many kinds of friends we make in a lifetime. Many come and go for many reasons.  A special few remain with us for a lifetime.

We have made a most wonderful friend here in Kyoto.  Matsuzaki Katsuyoshi is a splendid artist; a sculptor who transforms inanimate stone into spiritual omamori, in this case, he carves small deities whose gentleness, and kindness provides protection for its owner. I have come to think his sculptures radiate his own spirit of kindness.   I have several at the entrance to my home who greet me daily as I enter and leave.  Now I have one to watch over our apartment in Kyoto.

I’m not sure I believe things happen for a reason and not by chance alone, although our friendship seems to have been preordained. Continue reading “A Blissful Visit with a Good Friend”

Party Time in Kyoto

What better time or place to throw a party than in the spring at our apartment in Kyoto?  We had friends CA friends visiting Kyoto for a few days, my more-than-able-son-in-law visiting and several Kyoto friends we were eager to see again. At the suggestion of a friend, we easily decided on a party.  We even have a ceramic party dog whose always ready for the next shindig.


Japanese ceramic party dog

My husband and I have a pretty good division of labor for this kind of event. Basically, he prepares the food, and I prepare the decor.  We’ve worked this arrangement out over 50 years of marriage and it’s still working, although the days when everything my husband cooked was made from scratch have shifted slightly towards the ready-made as long as the quality meets his high standards! Kyoto makes this sort of entertaining easy and fun.

For several days before we host a party, we both discuss the food plan and arrive at a mutual agreement on where we’re headed.  Finger food?  Drinks? etc.  On the day of, or one day before, we begin to really concentrate and gather our non perishables.  Here in Kyoto, the land of small dishes, we needed small plates.  After a brief search in department stores, we located the perfect ones to serve a crowd at the local 100Y store.  We’d gotten some wonderful serving platters and dishes of Shigaraki ceramics when we initially moved in a few years ago.  We ended using every dish we had. Dollar store plates mingles easily with the plates of a contemporary Japanese ceramicist.

our Shigaraki dishes

Continue reading “Party Time in Kyoto”

Friendship at Any Age

“I wanna say hi to my friend, “announced my three and a half year old granddaughter, as she arrived with her mother at a mostly adult picnic.  Who might that friend be?

My granddaughter had met him the day before at another event and then spotted him at the party. Was it another child?  Nope, it was a 60 year old gentleman whom she’d talked with the day before.  Whatever it was about that interaction, it  felt to her that he was now significant in her life and she was eager to reconnect.

Ah, friendships.  They can happen unexpectedly at any age, as I now learned.  They don’t have to be limited by age or gender.

What leads us or a three year old to describe another individual as a friend?  An invisible spark felt between them, perhaps?  A shared giggle?  How is it that we know almost immediately that we would like to call someone a friend?

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934


I’ve seen friendships wax and wane over my lifetime.  I’ve mourned some when they ended, others, just peter out like a long burning campfire. Deep friendships require sustenance and trust.  It takes some effort.  But good friends go right to the heart of being alive and being your best self.  They can be challenging, they can require forgiveness and they can instigate growth.  It’s a great package.


What is it about a person that brings out the best in us?  I can feel it when it’s happening, but it’s hard to describe. I tend to become more articulate in conversation.  More playful, too?   In terms of dance, it’s like being in a duet with someone, responding to the music in a similar and complimentary way.  Laughing at the same jokes.  Sharing similar concerns.  Making the texture of our lives richer.

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
– Marcel Proust

Friends have come in and out of my life, appearing, vanishing, reappearing.  For various reasons, many friendships cycle in and out.  I still have a few friends from childhood.   It goes without saying that social media keeps friendships alive long past their earlier dates of expiration.   Each place I’ve lived,  I’ve collected a few really good friends who seem to have a permanent place on my treasured roster of Good Friends.  The dancers I’ve worked with over the past few decades almost always become dear friends.


When you’re a child there’s lots of time for friendships.  As a young and middle aged adult, there’s not as much.  There was a time when it seemed important that friends were about my own age. Now, as an aging adult, I know that friends are to be treasured and can be of any age.


The category of Close Friend is a small but treasured  one.    There’s a reciprocity of energy and caring that I never question.  It’s a gift.

mark and me

Hey!  Call a friend.