Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Obon is a major religious holiday season in Japan that most people have off. Set in the middle of the summer holidays in August, it is a time for people to return home, visit their family and honor their ancestors. While I didn't have any extra time off, luckily for me Sachiko did have some time off. Rather than swing by to visit her family all week, she came to Kanazawa instead.
I took her down the local commuter line train to the outlying suburb of Tsurugi. Not only is the town almost in the beautiful mountains, but it is also home to an excellent wood fired pizza restaurant. The trip out was nice, but the stroll up to the restaurant was marred by the ungodly mid-August heat. We still had a great time, though unfortunately our troubles were just beginning...
The last stop on the Hokutetsu Nomachi station line sees service once an hour on Saturday. We ran, in the heat, from the restaurant to the station only to see the train pull away just as we got there. Oops. We just plopped down in the station with some water and dozed until the next train arrived. Having lost an hour, we went straight home, and grabbed swim trunks and towels for a trip to a big party at Uchinada Beach. We jumped on the bus, ready for a quick 10 minute ride to the train station, where we could catch the 5:00 train to Uchinada. Perfect.
Only, did I mention that in addition to family reunions and grave visiting, Obon also involves dancing festivals? Dancing festivals that block off main street for over a kilometer? Dancing festivals that take normal traffic patterns and send them spiraling into oblivion? Well I didn't know this when we got on the bus, but 50 mintues later when we got off I sure did! The entire main street, from near my house almost all the way to the station, was blocked off. The bus was rerouted way out of the way, which didn't help, and the stop, stop, and go really slowly traffic put the final bit of pain on us.
At least we caught the 6:12 train to Uchinada ok.
The beach was fantastic, but sadly we didn't have time to swim as the sun was setting as we arrived. Still, we got to see a gorgeous sunset, so all was not wasted, not by a long shot!
In other news, I'm sorry about the updated schedule of late. Things have been pretty crazy, with job hunting, and preparing for my move to Tokyo. Time has not been a something I have all that much of in recent weeks.
In other other news, I'm going to copy Zach, and post a little bit in Japanese too. This is not to be pretentious, but mostly for practice, and also because I DO have some students who read my blog, and sometimes my writing can be a bit difficult to understand. So this way, they can (hopefully) get the gist of what I'm talking about. Notice, it is NOT a direct translation, or even anywhere near a direct translation!
幸子は 八月に 金沢に 来ました。土曜日 に 鶴来 に 行きました。 鶴来 に すごい おいしい ピザ の レストランが あります。僕 は 幸子 と ひるごはん を ピザ を 食べました。ほくてつ 野町線 で 電車 は 一時間 に 一度 に 動かす。電車 に のり おくれた。
内灘の浜に ばんごはん を 食べました。たくさん きれいな 日没 見ました。
Phew, that was hard. A big thanks to Kanazawa Zach for some important help. I have a headache now!