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Published: March 3rd 2009
I love my students. Especially my Mom students. They are so welcoming and willing to share anything that they think I would find interesting. Since I have already done some study on Japanese culture and language, they like to ask me questions about what I think about certain aspects of Japanese culture, and it's great for class.
Tonight I had a Mom that only has a 30 minute lesson and all we do is talk. Sometimes our conversations are a bit strained because her English is a bit low, but tonight it was a great night. I shared my plans for Golden Week, which is totally planned and reserved, and she asked me, "Do you know what today is?" Since I had no idea I told her so and she said, "It's the Hina Matsuri".
The Hina Matsuri, translated, is "Girl's Festival", and it's when Mom and daughters all over Japan eat Sakura Mochi, pink rice cakes filled with red bean paste and wrapped in a cherry leaf, and set up their doll courts. These dolls are amazing. They are about 6 inches tall and are beautifully made. There are also 15 in total and they are set up
like a pyramid. At the top you have the King and Queen. Next level you have the Queens attendants. Under the attendants are 5 musicians and under them are 2 knights. The lowest set are 3 cleaners; 1 with a bright angry face, one that looks like he is sleeping, and one that actually looks happy.
While my student was explaining this to me, her cellphone rang. When she answered it was her daughter, whose high pitched voice I could hear, asking if I was coming over. Apparently my student is in the habit of having all her foreign teachers over to her house to see her Hina dolls and have dinner with her family. At first my student told her "no", but after she got off the phone, she asked me if I wanted to come. I said I could come over to have a look at them, if it was OK with me getting off work at 8:30pm. She didn't have a problem with this, so ran up to my apartment, changed, grabbed my camera, and waited a minute outside for her taxi.
Yoko, my student, explained that you can buy the dolls in sets. There
are many different styles and they can be small in numbers or large, like hers. The dolls also come with court furniture. There is an old horse drawn carriage, dressers, tea set, and loads of other tiny accessories. Absolutely beautiful and a lot bigger than I thought they would be. The pyramid covered and large corner or her living room.
After I looked around at the dolls and Yoko explained what some things were, we, myself, Yoko, Yoko's mother, and Yoko's daughter, sat and watched TV with a little discussion thrown in. Since I speak some Japanese, I could talk with Yoko's very talkative mother. She is such a grandmother. When 10pm came around, I was on my way to leave when Yoko's mother started to give me all of this food! I have canned fish, apple juice, and 2 paper bags full of food to eat now. How am I going to eat all this food?!?
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