Sunday, October 29, 2017

Farm to Fork and Wineries, Oct 28, 2017, Ray M


Farm to Fork and Wineries

Inbound from Toronto Canada, Day 4 of 8, October 28, 2017
By:  Ray M

Trip to Apple Hill Enjoy the crafts and all the apple products like a delicious apple fritter or donut.
11:45 am Lunch (provided) at Linda and Ned B.'s cabin

Apple Hill

Each year in the Fall, the apple orchards in Apple Hill put on a big festival. Lots of apple pies, fritters, other good things to eat.

Coloma - 1848 Gold Discovery

Many of our group went to Coloma (gold discovery site) instead of (or in addtion to) going to Apple Hill.

PJ, Elaine, Diane, Sophie at Sutters Mill monument at Coloma on American River

Diane at Sutters Mill (re-creation of original mill)
James W. Marshall discovered gold in 1848 on the South Fork of the American River. This event was the spark that ignited the spectacular growth of the West during the ensuing decades. The gold discovery site, located in the still visible tailrace of Sutter's sawmill, in present day Coloma California, is one of California's most significant historic sites. (excerpted from park website)

James W. Marshall found  shining flecks of gold in the tailrace of the sawmill he was building for himself and John Sutter. This discovery in 1848 changed the course of California's and the nation's history.   The photo above shows a replica of the original sawmill. Over 20 historic buildings including mining, house, school, and store exhibits are nearby.

Lunch get-together

We all (except Aubrey and Sally F) met at Linda and Ned B's cabin up in Pollock Pines.
Lunch included wraps, potato salad and a nice garden salad -- and pies!...

Pie time!  Lynn M, Kathy H, Bonnie, and our hostess Linda B

Lunch - view from the balcony. (and many others ate on balcony)

Amador Wineries

Elaine, PJ and Diane checking out wines at Turley Wine Cellars

Home-Hosted Dinners

Eleven Sacramento FF members homes hosted dinners for the Canadian ambassadors and theri home-hosts. Good food, good conversations, and good wine.

In Friendship and Peace

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Giant Sequoias and Gold Rush Country, Oct 27, 2017, Ray M

FF Toronto Ambassadors with FF Sac Hosts on 'The Big Stump'

FF Toronto Ambassadors on 'The Big Stump'

Giant Sequoias and Gold Rush Country

Inbound from Toronto Canada, Day 3 of 8, October 27, 2017
By:  Ray M

Calaveras Big Trees State Park picnic
12:00 noon Meet in picnic area at noon for lunch (provided).

First, a group photo on the "Big Stump" - what is left of the "Discovery Tree", the largest tree originally in the North Grove.  This tree was cut down by speculators in 1853. It was over 280 feet tall.  Despite the size, the ring count showed that it was only 1244 years old.  Some in the grove are much older.    The speculators re-assembled the bark back east for a road show, but was destroyed by fire one year later.  No saw was large enough, so they used augers to drill holes through the tree (visible marks on fallen trunk).  The stump was planed flat for a dance floor.

Then a nice walk along the North Grove trail ...  Another group picture at the 'Empire Tree'.  The Empire tree is probably the largest giant sequoia in the North Grove (at least in terms of mass).  Base diameter is 30 feet, and 4.5 feet above the ground it is 20 feet.  See us?

Here's a zoom-in of the base of the tree.

Elaine D

After the walk, we were on our own.  Some stopped to look around in the historic town of Murphys for antiques or wine tasting. And some continued on for more wine tasting at Ironstone Winery on a little back road not far from Murphys. Ironstone has beautiful winery grounds and vineyards, as well as a small museum with some very interesting mineral specimens including this one. http://www.ironstonevineyards.com/About-Ironstone/Museum-and-Gold-Leaf-Specimen. 

The gold nugget is named the Kautz specimen and weighs in at 44 pounds of gold.  This is the largest specimen of crystalline gold in the world.  The specimen consists of many layers of leaf gold separated by rock. This is the largest piece of gold mined in North America since the 1880s, it was discovered on Dec 26, 1992 near Jamestown in Tuolumne County, CA.

Elaine, Carol, Bernadette, Diane with Kautz gold nugget

Angels Camp, Jackson and Sutter's Creek are all historic towns along the drive.

Dinner with hosts.

In Friendship and Peace

Friday, October 27, 2017

Toronto FF Welcome Brunch + Downtown Sacramento, Oct 26, 2017, Ray M

California State Capitol

Welcome Brunch for Toronto Ambassadors and Downtown Sacramento

Inbound from Toronto Canada, Day 2 of 8, October 26, 2017
By:  Ray M

Today's events:
10:00 am Welcome brunch - a potluck, with overview of the week's activities.
1:30 pm State Capitol Tour lead by docent
~3pm Optional activities: Stanford Mansion, Cathedral and optional museums in historic Old Sacramento.
Evening: Home-Hosted Dinner

Welcome Brunch

Pot Luck Bruch - lots of food!

Kathy giving overview of 'fun facts' and the week's schedule

Kathy's audience

State Capitol Tour

Capitol Tour

Capitol Tour: The big grizzly in front of Governor's Office

Home-Hosted Dinner

This evening, ambassadors and hosts enjoyed home-hosted dinners - a good way to get to know other FF Sacramento members and to enjoy good food.

Here is a picture from one home-hosted dinner, hosted by Terry P. 

Sophie (Terry's exchange student from Germany), Carolyn L and Joanne P from Toronto, Helen F, and Terry P.

The menu was Eggplant Parmagiana using fresh eggplants from Terry's garden, bread made by Sophie, interesting conversation ranging from American politics and Canadian and German perspectives, cooking, and of course travel!

In Friendship and Peace

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Toronto FF arrival, Oct 25, 2017, Ray M

Toronto Flag

Toronto Logo

Toronto Ambassadors Arrive In Sacramento and Settle in With Hosts

Inbound from Toronto Canada, Day 1 of 8, October 25, 2017
By:  Ray M

Today is arrival day and settling in with hosts.   Since arrivals are at various times, there was no group welcome today. Welcome brunch will be tomorrow.

Arrivals: Lynn, Debbie, Gladys, Carol, George, Julia, Bernatette

13 of the 18 ambassadors arrive on various flights in the afternoon. 5 ambassadors arrived the day before and stayed downtown at Governor’s Inn Hotel.

Some of the ambassadors who arrived Oct 24 went on day outings with their hosts.

Locke, an old Chinese town in the Sacramento Delta
Elaine D couldn't resist riding the Locke dragon
And afterward time for a little wine tasting at Delta wineries ...

A little Toronto History

Did you know that we (US) attacked and heavily damaged Toronto? [a number of us just came back from Japan – we did the same thing there!]

“Toronto is the most populous city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario. With a population in 2016 of 2,731,571, it is the fourth most populous city in North America after Mexico City, New York City, and Los Angeles. Toronto is the centre of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the most populous metropolitan area in Canada, and anchors the Golden Horseshoe, an urbanized region that is home to 9.2 million people, or over 26% of the population of Canada.”

“Toronto is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario on a broad sloping plateau interspersed with rivers, deep ravines, and urban forest. Indigenous peoples have travelled through and inhabited the area for more than 10,000 years. After the broadly disputed Toronto Purchase, when the Mississaugas surrendered the area to the British Crown, the British established the town of York in 1793, and later designated it as the capital of Upper Canada. During the War of 1812, the town was the site of the Battle of York and suffered heavy damage by U.S. troops.”

In Friendship and Peace

  • Canada Flag image by George F.G. Stanley - This file was derived from:  Flag of Canada.svg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32276527
  • Map By Allice Hunter and Vidioman - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63238633
  • History: excerpted from Wikipedia

Outbound to Gufu + Tokyo Japan, October 19-21, 2017 Judy M

Outbound to Gufu + Tokyo Japan, October 19-21, 2017

Western Tokyo + Musashino/Mataka

By:  Judy M

During our final days in Tokyo, my host and I took the train in to the Hotel Gajoen Tokyo  to enjoy the fantastic ikebana exhibit which is there for two months (ikebana:  the Japanese art of flower arrangement).

It's famous wooden staircase of 100 steps in the old portion (from 1928) led us to seven gorgeous banquet rooms, all at different levels, where these displays were exhibited.

It was quite  a climb, but well worth it. Fifty one schools were participating, with floral works swapped out weekly.

The rest of the building is very modern, & luxurious and has become  one of Japan’s premier sites for elegant weddings and ceremonies, with gorgeous restaurants and art work and a beautiful garden and waterfall, so we took some time to wander around that area, too. 

Quite a  treat!

In Friendship and Peace

Monday, October 23, 2017

Western Tokyo, Japan, Oct 19-21, 2017, Pat G and Nancy S

Outbound to Gufu + Tokyo Japan, October 19-21, 2017

Tea Ceremony

Western Tokyo + Musashino/Mataka

By:  Pat G

The bullet train arrived on time to the Tokyo station and we were greeted by all of our home hosts with signs indicating who would go home with whom!

The station is huge and very confusing, so we just followed our hosts to one train after another until we arrived to our home location. I believe we were on 4 different trains in a very few minutes!

My host and her husband have lived in their home for 20 years and their youngest daughter, age 39, lives with them.  I had an upstairs room, by myself.  That first evening we almost had a Western dinner:  Shrimp salad and then some Japanese curry on the side with rice. Chopsticks were not even on the table!

The next morning we attended a tea ceremony, along with 2 other members of the Western Tokyo club.  Following the ceremony, all four of us headed into Tokyo, first to drive past the construction of the Olympic Stadium for the 2020 Olympics, then to visit a city on “steroids”.  The size of the buildings, height wise is phenomenal!  We also visited an art gallery of a local Japanese artist, all about this interpretation of Mount Fuji.  Then another tour of the downtown and back home for fabulous evening visiting and eating multiple foods, including delivered Japanese Pizza!

Because of the impending typhoon, many of us decided to change our reservations to the next day instead of staying one more day, so this was also a goodbye dinner.  We had a very fun time discussion our cultures, sharing photos of our families, and discussing which countries we had visited on our “map” panel that I gave my hostess for a small gift.  They seemed to love the panel and want to use it often.

The following morning we went to the local bus station for a trip to the Haneda airport where I caught up with my roommate Johanna and the Missman's, who had also changed their reservations to get out one day earlier.  (this came as a result of an email from our airlines encouraging us to change our reservations due to the incoming typhoon and possible airport shutdowns.

My daughter was all ready in SF for a conference so she picked us up at @ 10 am on Saturday which worked out very well.

A fabulous experience!

Second Homestay

Tachikawa, Japan, October 19-22, 2017By:  Nancy S

Front: Hiromitsu (Hiro), Yukino;   Top: Fumiko (Fumi), Nancy, Syota (Syo)

My host family of four, two parents, a college daughter, and a high school son, all spoke some English, so I had no trouble communicating. Thursday, after meeting me at the train station, Fumi and I went to an art museum with an exhibit called “Fear in Painting.”  I could not believe the huge number of people who were there to enjoy the  art.

After the museum, we took the train to her home in Tachikawa and had dinner with her son. Her husband was still at work and her daughter would be home from college for the weekend. We played Kings in the Corner with a deck of Sacramento playing cards with which I had gifted
them. They also enjoyed Blue Diamond Almonds from Sacramento as a snack.

On Friday, I toured with Hiro, the husband. We took the train into Tokyo and went to the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Clouds obstructed the things in the distance, but otherwise the view was wonderful. Our next stop was to the oldest temple in Tokyo called Sensoji Temple. It had a pagoda, an incense burner, a hand and mouth cleansing station, and an altar with the Buddha of Compassion. After a lunch break of soba and chicken, we took the bus and subway to the Polar Science Museum back in Tachikawa. It had displays about the Japanese stations at the North Pole and South Pole including a video of the aurora. We then took the monorail back to our neighborhood and walked home. In the evening Hiro, their daughter, and I played Kings in the Corner. After dinner we talked for awhile and then went to bed.

On Saturday after breakfast we did laundry. Then we headed out for a full day of sightseeing. We started at a restored farmhouse right in Tachikawa. It had been carefully done to keep everything as it would have been years ago. We stopped for lunch as we drove to the town of Kawagoe. Our tickets were good for four sites in the town.

  • First was the history museum which covered from the early native tribes to the medieval times, and on up through history. 
  • Next was an art museum that was featuring an artist who painted scenes in Japan and other countries. 
  • Then we went to the Kawagoe Castle. It had various meeting rooms, and of course a beautiful garden. 
  • Finally we went to the Kawagoe Festival Museum which had a couple floats and pictures of their October Festival Day. 
After a fairly long car ride home, I took them out to dinner as a thank you for letting me stay at their home. It was already 10:30 PM when we got home, so we went straight to bed.

On Sunday after breakfast I gave each of them a package of Jelly Bellies and the Left Center Right Game. We then walked to their polling place, because it was election day.  Their procedure is very much like ours.

After saying goodbye to everyone, I headed for the train station and the city of Hiroshima. It was a wonderful two and a half days, as all Friendship Force visits are.

Post-Journey visit to Hiroshima (Oct 21-27)

I took the train to Hiroshima on Sunday.  It was raining hard, but the trains were running.  Fortunately my hotel was close to the train station, as it was really pouring and so windy I could hardly use my umbrella when I arrived in the city.  I just stayed inside the hotel for the whole night and went no where.  There was a Lawson store attached to the hotel, so I was able to get something to eat.

Monday through Friday were absolutely beautiful days with blue skies and sunshine.  I spent Monday in Hiroshima, Tuesday in Miyajima, Wednesday in Himeji, Thursday in Odawara for the Hakone tour package to Mt. Fuji, and Friday morning in Tokyo.  Mt. Fuji was absolutely beautiful with a little snow at the top.  I saw no signs of the typhoon unless it was the reason there was snow at Mt. Fuji.

In Friendship and Peace