Monday, April 30, 2007

Golden Week: Part 1













Golden Week is awesome- we get a 3 day weekend, go back to school / work for a couple days, and then get another 4 days off. It's also the week of the best weather of the year... the winter chill is gone and the hot and humid summer hasn't set in yet... For those lucky people who are "allowed" to take "nenkyu" (days off) in the middle of the week, this allows them to have 9 whole days off. Since I'm saving my precious nenkyu, I only took Wednesday off and saving the rest for when my guests come in July...

I went over to the Yoshida's house on Saturday, ate lunch and then got dressed up in a kimono, and went to a tea ceremony with Kumi and a few of her friends, including Oe-san. If Kumi is like my Japanese mother, then Oe-san is like my Japanese grandmother. She is this amazing little old woman who teaches kimono classes, paints and dyes kimonos, does "ikebana" (flower arranging), cooks wonderful food, has a beautiful home, and is one of the most stylish, well madeup women I've met here in Japan. Totally young at heart... After the tea ceremony, we went to Oe-san's house for more tea & sweets. I'm supposed to go over there again one day and she's supposed to put on a kimono for me and do my hair and makeup in the traditional Japanese way.

After that, Kumi and I rushed to get changed and raced off to her friend's house where we were going to meet Masami and pick "sansai" (mountain vegetables). This is supposed to be the short time when certain mountain vegetables were sprouting (?) blooming (?) so they put me in these giant work boots, threw an apron on me, and we all climbed up this mountain with plastic bags picking these wildly growing "vegetables". I think we were picking "warabi" and "zenmai" (fern shoots?). It was weird- only a few moments before, I was in this elegant kimono at a graceful tea ceremony. Next thing, I'm clunking around on a mountain picking vegetables. It was gorgeous though, and the view was spectacular. Almost all of the rice fields have been turned over, and already a few have been planted and filled with water. When we were finished, we all sat down for some tea and snacks and enjoyed the view.

Then, the Yoshidas took me to another friend's house nearby. He runs a silk factory in the back of his house, and they took me on a tour through the operation. There were several monstrous machinese with thousands of needles each that were "weaving" (?) patterned silk fabric for neckties that would be made in Kyoto and then shipped all over the world! All of this was happening in this sleepy little rice field town...

Sunday, I woke up with a really bad sore throat- I felt soooo awful, but I had promised the Yoshidas that I would spend the day with them. I took the train out to them, and they felt so bad for me, so they decided to limit the day's activities to driving around the coast, walking through fields of wildflowers, climbing up and down a precipitous mountain, scrambling over huge rocks at the ocean, and then going to an onsen. Another really gorgeous day but with my body aches and fever, I could barely hold it together. They delivered me to my house last night (along with the mouse poison) and I slept for 13+ hours....

Today, I relaxed and rested. I went for a nice bike ride in the afternoon and ended up at McDonald's... it was my first visit to the McDonald's in Miyazu! I got a Kit Kat McFlurry and sat out on the water for about an hour, soaking in the sun's rays. What a beautiful weekend!!!

1 comment:

Paul said...

Beautiful photos! I hope the mountain veggies were delish!

Go glad to hear it's warmer for you.