Tuesday, November 10, 2009

“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” -- Some wisdom from Dr. Seuss

Okay, Okay, this'll be my last post with a Dr. Seuss quote. Maybe. But I really have been feeling this way lately. I know it's because I have been busy which makes time fly by, but I cannot believe we're bordering on mid-November already.

I've been having sort of uneventful weekends lately, with more action packed into the week. I've been staying late to help tutor students and work with a girl for speech contest which has made my days at work longer. Also this past week was one of our town's yearly festivals. This fall festival is a thanksgiving festival for the harvest (presumably rice, because the tea is still in the fields). People enjoy bon-dancing (apparently, cuz I didn't see this) and parading with (floats) through the streets. Different neighborhoods have dashi and they drag them by a big rope through the streets all day and all evening.

Though pretty cool, it was less exciting when I went to get my hair cut on Wednesday morning. In case you didn't know, Japan is full of one way streets, and narrow streets that are basically wide enough for only one and half cars. Well, you can imagine one of these dashi taking up the whole road and moving at -1 mph. I tried to go around the block, but Japan also doesn't have blocks. The roads are created from paths made probably long before the United States was even a country, and the layout is absolutely asinine. So...I drove around for 10 minutes trying to figure out how to get to that road from the other side of the float, but had no luck. So, I was already 10 minutes late for my appointment and parked in one of the "festival parking zones" which wasn't being used by anyone else at 10 in the morning because it really was overflow parking. So then I literally ran up the road to my appointment, arriving 15 minutes late (which is not in style in Japan), sweaty and not wanting people to be touching my hair! Anyway, my hair ended up looking pretty good and it was nice having someone in my own city who speaks English cut my hair!

The Fujinomiya Crew - also my new haircut, though it was long windblown by this time of night...

Back to the festival -- there were tons of food booths with everything from "American Dogs" (corn dogs), to chocolate covered bananas (my personal favorite), crepes, french fries, fried chicken, squid and other delights on a stick, a chinese style pancake, and as always Fujinomiya famous yakisoba (buckwheat noodles with cabbage, meat, fish flakes, etc). Here, the guys pose in front of a booth selling the city's famous food. My kids write about it in their journals all the time. You see, in Japan, every city has a sort of signature food. This is ours. I could think of many more exciting foods.

These orange flags can be found all around the city, in front of every restaurant that sells the food.

I ran into tons of my students, as did Dion and Neil. Mine provided the most entertainment, because they have the best English skills. The baseball boys were out in a huge group. Baseball in Japan is like Football in America, so it's the "cool" sport. They were all hanging out together, being loud and obnoxious and they didn't stop just cuz I came around! We chatted with them for awhile and I was told "I love you" multiple times, most likely because they can't say anything else in English :) Still makes me smile every time. There were eying the baseball teams from the other rival city schools with the meanest looks on their faces which made me laugh out loud. A few other boys were following us around for awhile, which I found hilarious. After about ten minutes of them following us to every place we went, I went up to talk to them and they worked up the nerve to ask to walk around with us. In the end, we posed for a picture together.

Here's a few more pictures of the festival:

I need to learn how to tie my obi like this!

People pulling the float with a rope.

Last, here's a video of a few of the floats. The girl at the end who is getting
ready to wave is one of my students who got excited to see me!

Hope I gave you all a good picture of what a festival in Japan looks like! I'm not sure I'll be back to blogging again until after my sister visits over Thanksgiving! I can't wait to see her and for her to see where I live and life I lead here in Japan. Hmm..we do have sports day next week if not too many students are sick with the flu, so I'll maybe try to post that! Love you and miss you all!! --Ash

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