After visiting some bamboo artists, I had planned to meet a toy maker, Hiroshi Miyawaki. When I called him from San Francisco a week ago, he told me to change the plan and date because they are expecting a big storm. This time too, he said "I haven't been out of the house for two days. I live up on the hill. Too Dangerous!!" As I arrived at his home studio, he was laughing in astonishment. In the Southern Island, little snow means big snow and everyone is extremely cautious for one another.
He is originally from Nagoya and a salesperson at a major department store but when he visited Beppu forty years ago, he saw the adorable toy crafts and felt that he could make them. He decided to stay and kept making the toys ever since. I think that it is a lovely story of a salesperson.
It was already dark outside and the roads to an inn I reserved in Yufuin was completely closed. Miyawaki San told me "I will call my friend's inn. You will like her and her staff. They are like you!" I drove narrow roads of the Kannawa District with steams coming out from every gutter of the streets.