The Story of Larry: JSVS School Life


Most of the kids had either violin or piano lessons. Some had both. The violin teacher came to the hostel to give the violin lessons. He also gave Grampie cello lessons.

Marilyn at her violin lesson

GGpa and I slept on a hide-a-bed in the living room, where the piano was. We had to be up and dressed early before the first little girl came to practice piano. The others practiced in their rooms before breakfast.

At our evening devotions sometimes everyone played their instrument…violins, cello, recorders and rhythm instruments.

Evening devotions and music playing

Every so often we had what we called a ‘work shop’ for the children to get experience of playing in front of others. Grampie played piano here.

Larry at piano

The JSVS students went to a home for disabled children at Christmas to tell them that the true meaning of Christmas wasn’t about cake and gifts, but it was that Jesus was born!

Performing as a group at home for disabled



Girls Day was on March 3rd.

On March 3rd we had our own different version of the Doll Festival. The doll festival is something that Japanese girls celebrate. They show their Japanese dolls of the Emperor and Empress on a step platform.

Girls day doll display

We used a variety of dolls for our little party. Marilyn wrote a little report about it:

“On March 3rd, the JSVS girls had a doll festival. The mothers and teachers came. The girls displayed their dolls. There were four different kinds of dolls. They were Old-fashioned Dolls, Dolls of Many Lands, Storybook Dolls, and Favorite Dolls. The girls told about their dolls. Mrs. Grove had a doll that was one hundred and ten years old.

"The JSVS Japanese teacher, Miss Yuguchi, came to the festival also. She made some dolls out of eggs, rice, carrots, beans and toothpicks. She made some sushi purses out of rice and brown bags. The children got some cotton candy and some pretzels sent from Mrs. Uchida. Everyone had fun.”

Boys Day is on May 5th.

Boys day carp flying on pole

Families would fly carp on poles outside their house to show how many sons they had. (I don’t think we did this.) This day is also called Children’s Day.

Grampie and Marilyn studying at JSVS.

Larry and Marilyn studying at desk

Grampie broke his arm at the dedication of the 4th church that GGpa helped to build in Japan.

Larry at a birthday party outside

He could still write because it was his left arm.

Larry writing at the blackboard

There was a recital at the end of the school year. However, even though Grampie had broken his arm, his cello teacher wouldn’t let him get out of playing in the recital. Since his arm was in a cast, this is how that problem was solved!

Larry playing half cello with cast

Marilyn did the fingering on the cello, and Grampie did the bowing with his good arm!


Japan Sea View School kids in 1974

JSVS school kids


Packing up again

By the end of the school year in 1974 Grampie and Marilyn had finished grade 7, and Lisa had finished grade 4. It had been 5 years since we were in Canada and California, and it was time for us to go again.

Our family took the long train ride to Tokyo. The doctor put a different lightweight cast on Grampie’s arm which was nearly healed. Grampie decided to get rid of it on the train. He used his trusty knife that had the tools he needed to cut off the cast, and left it in the trash can on the train!

In Tokyo we got a hotel room - actually two rooms - one for the boys and one for the girls. It was June 12th, GGpa’s and my 15th wedding anniversary. We boarded the plane for the US early the next morning.

This would turn out to be a very different Home Assignment than the others had been. GGpa and I had a feeling we might not be coming back to Japan.

June 12, 1974
2020-11-21 updated 2022-12-27   © 2023 Larry Grove