A Weekend in North Chiba Pt.2
Walk, Talk and Mochi
Awake from a good night of sleep, me and my girlfriend were left alone in the big house, as everyone in the community was preparing for the yearly Mochi Making festival. We took our time to wake up, and when finally going down the stairs we were presented with a breakfast made for us while we were still fast asleep. I probably will never be able to get to the effort level of preparing an gorgeous breakfast consisting of fruits, fish, vegetables, rice and soup, so I was more than happy to dig in.
After the breakfast we took a walk around the neighbourhood and eventually made our way to the local Mochi Making festival. Mochi is a Japanese rice cake, which is made by putting boiled rice in a bowl where you pound it with water until it becomes rubbery paste. Afterwards, the paste is coupled and eaten with different ingredients like sweet red beans, soy flour or seaweed. The entire process of making Mochi is filled with teamwork, and it warmed my heart seeing all of these people of all ages getting together and creating something together.
Spontaneous Sake Drinking
Once we were done making and eating Mochi, we were surprised with another festival that was happening downtown to where we stayed. Unfortunately since I didn't really check map or anything, I'm not sure were we actually went. It didn't really matter to me at the time, which is why it felt so good, I was able to be in the moment.
This Festival was for sake, and as we approached the main streets with stands, people were walking home in the opposite direction. Some of them swaying a bit from the drinks as I would too, a few hours later. Walking amongst the stands the streets were packed, but not in the normal stressful-Tokyo-rush kind of way. Everyone was walking slowly by, just looking at things or talking to others. We managed to grab something to eat and we just silently sat and watched the others around us. This is something I love to do the most when not in Sweden. Just sitting and watching people when relaxed. Observing others behaviour. Old ladies huddling together to gossip, a child practicing running back and forth, a man sneakily pouring out his sake in a street well.
Shortly after we went into a sake factory where I managed to take two surprisingly cyberpunk photos which I really liked. Once that was done, and after some sake tasting we went back to the house once more.
Visiting A Haiku Master
One of the things that me and A had decided to do before I left, was to meet with her grandmother. An old but energetic woman who writes haiku poems. As she lives in the Ehime prefecture, south of Hiroshima we would need to book tickets and hotels. To us, as it is one of the last things I will do before leaving Japan, the whole plan had have this dark cloud surrounding it. It has reminded me and my girlfriend of our inevitable separation from each other. We had stalled the plans as long as possible, but now it came to a breaking point since it was getting late to order the tickets. So we decided we tell the parents about our plans.
When we did, we learned that we could get help with flight tickets! I had been assuming we would go by train which would take a large chunk of my last salary. Now however, we got to know that we could use the family's traveling points accumulated from previous business trips. Suddenly we had two free flight tickets to the south of Japan ordered. A place I've been dreaming of going to for about 6 months. Being as happy as we were, me and A decided to use the excess money we had planned for the train tickets for a luxury hotel instead.
Me never even setting foot inside of an any-star-hotel, was beyond words. I don't know how many times I said thank you, but I felt like I couldn't say it enough. I'm still grateful for it, and it came to be the unexpected, but perfect ending to what was already a great weekend.
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