Monday, November 17, 2008

Family Time

With each passing day, week, and month, life in Japan is getting more and more comfortable. I’m getting used to the unsystematic five school days followed by an adventurous two or three day weekend.  I look forward to specific recycling pickup days, and take advantage of clear days by doing laundry and then something spur-of the-moment outside.  Last week was freezing, and the forecast is predicting this week to be cold and rainy, BUT Saturday was PERFECT.  SO, Katrina and I went for a drive to take in one of the last kouyou (fall-colored-leaf) days.

Then I went back to the city to spend some quality time with my favorite person in the world.  We went to the sento to take a bath together, ate one of my favorite foods: katsudon (fried pork cutlet with eggs and onions over rice), looked at pictures from the past, and went to bed on heated blankets.  I was tired from the previous night, and she always goes to bed early so everything worked out perfectly in terms of waking up early to go the market for free vegetable soup and some kind of contest.  We went with yasai obasan (vegetable older lady, don’t know what her real name is so I just call her that since she grows lots of vegetables around the neighborhood) who conveniently had two tickets for the drawing.  Obaachan and I lined up on the parking ramp, waiting for our turn to pick up a ticket.  Some people were winning tangerines, flowers, vegetables and huge live salmon!!  Obaachan and I were crossing our fingers, hoping that we wouldn’t pick the orange card that had ‘fish’ written in kanji.  If this were to happen, a man in green would grab a 2-footer by the tail out of a baby pool, and then the man in red would hit it on the head with a wooden stick until it stopped moving.  They would then put it in a plastic bag, and we would be forced to leave with it.  This crazy old woman won a fish and was forced to take it against her will.  The reason I call her crazy is because I saw her walking around afterward, trying to make people trade it for some vegetables.  I saw her later drop the huge fish in the middle of bargaining and it slimed right out of the bag and all over the ground … yuck!!  Luckily obaachan won rice and I won three asian pears.  After all that obaachan forced me to eat 3 huge pieces of bread, an egg, cheese, yogurt, and coffee.

line up, pick a pice of paper - my grandma kept telling me how tall i am, haha

green man grabs the fish

red man knocks it out

i won 3 asian pears!!

A couple hours later, obaachan’s sister and her husband, so I guess my great aunt and uncle picked us up.  They first took us around the library to see some vibrant red and yellow trees despite the dull grey day.  Then they forced delicious conveyor belt sushi into my overly stuffed belly … OMG, one thing came by with a sign ‘くじら’ as in whale, so naturally I HAD to have it!!  My opinion was that it was tough and tasteless – granted it was only a thin sliver, and it was at a cheap kaitenzushi place.  And then the great aunt, grandma and I went to a super sento where we all took baths inside, outside, in green tea, and in a jet bath thing together.  Nice relaxing, and slowly getting used to bathing with other people.   

great aunt, great uncle, & grandma on a walk through the library

hey look, it's canada!! - k, not really but it still made me chuckle 

obaachan insisted on hauling around a heavy bag so we could sit down and kampai with cans of coffee

this would be kujira

you wouldn't believe how much i was yelled for color code stacking all our plates, apparently it was dangerous...??? oh well, i laughed and did it anyway

peeled and hung kaki (persimmon) from their kaki tree - oh man i left obasan and ojisan's place with 2 bag of kaki!!  i'm way short on cash so it'll make for a nice diet over the next two months

the above 6 pics are all from ojisan's garden - pretty pretty huh?!!

and then some delicious tea before they gave me the bags of kaki, towels, and stockings, and forced me out before it got too dark to drive home.  i kept insisting it was fine since my car is fully equip with headlights ... still i had to go!!

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