Golden Week

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May 1st 2007
Published: May 1st 2007
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blowin in the windblowin in the windblowin in the wind

Coi and a hillside of blossoms behind Tateiwa Elementary, my little mountain school.
After using the majority of my holidays for trips with Mike and the family, I decided to stay home for Golden Week. Turns out there was plenty to do in the little town of Hojo. From exploring in the mountains on my bike to beach barbecues and even a little matsuri (festival), the days were kept quite busy. I even spent time visiting former teachers and wearing kimono in a poor attempt to become Japanese.

The blossoms were in full bloom up in the mountains. Coi flags were strung up all over town in celebration of Children's Day. The coi represent a family with a son. But you know if I were the daughter of one of those families I would have my own set of coi flags flying over my head!

Sunday night I met up with the Canadians, Andrea and Mike, as well as the Australians, Andrew and Luke, for a true international barbecue on the beach. After a failed attempt with Japanese coals we rummaged for dry firewood in the brush and successfully grilled our food. The food, hmmmm. Andrew and Mike said they bought "yakitori" (chicken skewers) but half turned out to be liver.
Big Red and the rideBig Red and the rideBig Red and the ride

Looking up at whats to come on a random mountain ride.
YUMMY. So we filled the rest of our bellies with grilled eggplant, onions, and cheap wine. The finale of the night was fireworks provided by our newest Japanese friends. Not quite sure if fireworks are legal here, but no one was questioning. It certainly made me happy, reminiscing about the cabin bonfires and fireworks back home.

2 days of work later and I found myself at the Kashima Matsuri. Kashima is a little hump of an island about 300 meters off the shore of Hojo's port. I've been out to the island once and I think that was enough. The festival itself boasted a train of boats with beating drums, dancers, and shrines. Of course the men with shrines on their boat were rocking to the extreme in the wind and of course the men couldn't finish without a finale so of course one capsized in the port and of course made a big show. But as Takeda Sensei later told me, of course that happens every year.

The highlight of my Golden Week would have to be the 2 times I was able to dress in kimono. Well, the first time just a yukata, and the second
a feast!a feast!a feast!

the international barbecue
time a true full kimono in which I later attended a formal tea ceremony in honor of Oyemoto Zabosai (a famous tea master and potter).

In the end the "no plans" for Golden Week produced some of my best experiences yet in Japan. Sometimes you just have to take things as they come instead of planning out days to the last minute (which I am well known for back home). Maybe I am actually changing over here....maybe!

Additional photos below
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Thailand? Costa Rica?Thailand? Costa Rica?
Thailand? Costa Rica?

No, it's just Fuwari Beach in Japan.

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