Lives Videos


Lake Yamanaka 山中湖 literally means “Lake (湖) in the Middle (中) of the Mountain (山).” And when you visit Yamanakako you see where it gets it’s name. It’s one of Fuji’s 5 iconic lakes, and it’s right at the base of the mountain. The view is phenomenal. We just recently discovered that around the lake the organization SEND has several cabins available to rent. SEND happens to be the organization my sister Amy works for — what a small world!

This past Christmas we had not only the privilege of having Ruth’s parents stay with us, but also Ruth’s grandpa Joseph Hrubik, who we lovingly refer to as Papa Joe. This amazing 96 year-old made the trek from Virginia to Tokyo to spend his holidays with us. We couldn’t have been more honored! Ruth’s sister Debbie and family also came so that the whole extended family could be together. To celebrate, we took a couple of days to go to the cabins together and make some very special memories. We stocked our cars up with good food and cameras for our time together. We got to see the sights around Fuji, including feeding the local geese and even going on a wild Fuji Safari (more on that in the video). Fuji in the winter is absolutely beautiful, and we got up early one day to watch it turn pink — a phenomenon similar to the sky turning red at dusk or before the dawn. It only happens for a moment — the moment before the sun comes up over the horizon. It was cold, but so worth it!

We took advantage of the time to hear Grandpa’s stories about growing up, about the war, about life in the States and precious stories about Grandma Sarah (who recently passed away). I asked him what the biggest change in technology was throughout the years — and there were many in his lifetime. Of all of the changes in society due to technology, he said the biggest was the smartphone! Wow. Our kids are growing up in a generation where smartphones are normal, but it was barely 10 years ago that the first iPhone came out. Things change fast!

Living so far away from much of our family, it is always so special when we get time together. We are so fortunate to live in the era of the smartphone and internet where people are a short video-call away. But still nothing compares to sitting down to enjoy a big dinner together as a family, reminiscing over Ruth’s great cooking. Ah! I’m already looking forward to our next big get-together!

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