Yesterday afternoon we went to visit Nakamura Kyoudai, a guy Slice has been telling me about for 18 months now. He is in the Morioka branch, just recently started coming back to church ... for his job he takes photographs of birds, paints pictures from the photos, and then carves the birds out of wood. And paints them.
Slice has told me about him several times, and I always just smile and nod, because how strange does that sound? (A guy who's obsessed with birds?) But after we visited him in his shop I finally understood.
Slice acted as translator while Nakamura Kyoudai talked to us for almost two hours. His shop is a room over his house, with huge -and I mean HUGE- lenses all over the room and bookshelves. We counted 10 camera bodies. He also has easels, mats, blocks of wood and tables full of half-finished carvings, and film canisters of paint he's mixed himself.
While we sat there he told me about how as he sits down to paint, he has to have faith that his art will turn out right. ("But you know all about faith," he said, "we talk about it at church.")
He talked about how he went through a long long winter in his life, but then he met someone who really connected with him, and became a good friend. It was Slice. ("You probably know about that connection, too," he said, pointing to us both.)
He said his life has turned warmer, like spring, because of this friend, and now he has started going back to church.
It was so sweet.
He seemed to love me too, for some reason, and let me pick a carved bird from his table to keep. He also drew a quick picture of me as I sat there.
Then Slice and I looked through the pictures on his camera - and had to pick our jaws up off the floor a couple times. The photos were incredible! I told him I would buy just the photographs, they were so good. I loved his paintings, too; I wish I could afford one.
When it was time to go, Nakamura asked his wife to give us a ride home to Yasue's house ("Do you know what a big deal that is?" Slice asked), and we headed out in the rain. She took us almost the whole way. Then we went to eat sushi.
I now have a beautiful carved European robin. What am I going to do with it?