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I couldn't really say that it had been six years since I had had a vacation, as our family had made trips up to grandad's old farm during some of the those summers, but as I had always taken my woodcarving work with me during those outings, they were more of a 'change of scene' than a vacation. It's not that I don't enjoy the woodcarving and the ten-year project I have taken on, but I would be less than truthful if I didn't admit that the monthly deadlines do sometimes impose strains. My daily routine is quite relaxed, and I'm certainly not overworked, but after seventy-five repetitions, the monthly routine sometimes seems a bit trying. No sooner is one print finished and sitting on the table in front of me for inspection, than the thought arises "Time to get going on the next one. The collectors are waiting ..."

So I was ready for a little break. I put in 'extra' hours during the month preceding the trip, to get a head-start on the following print and ensure that I could spend a couple of weeks on holiday in Western Canada without concern as to how far I might be falling behind, and then Sadako and I headed for the airport, tickets to Vancouver in hand, accommodations reserved, and no woodblock packed in my bag.

Of course the time passed very quickly indeed, and before we knew it, we were sitting on an airplane again, heading back to Japan. I have never really liked the traditional idea of being forced to bring back an o-miyage, a souvenir, for every single person in the community back home, so rather than bring back silly presents that nobody really wants anyway, now that I'm back here in my little room in Tokyo, it seems like it might be a better idea to sit down at my word processor and put down some impressions of a few of the things that we saw and did. Our Japanese friends might find them entertaining, and who knows, perhaps they might be encouraged to visit that beautiful place themselves.

I hope you enjoy this collection of little Vancouver o-miyage.