Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

Well Easter weekend is just about over and were it not for the comment by my mother and a few haphazard mentions over the week, you wouldn't even have noticed it. I guess Japan hasn't quite caught on to the whole chocolate-egg-and-rabbits-and-animals craze, which is just as well. While Christians here do in fact celebrate Easter with Easter Sunday services, the mainstream population does not mark it in any way, shape or form. I guess it just goes with being in Japan, the holidays which were traditionally important for me kind of just float by with hardly a mention. A good example of this is Christmas day, which I spent in transit to Beijing. Anywho, that's not to say nothing happened today... but nothing Easterish happened, though I did get a piece of chocolate.

First, allow me to post a retraction from my last post. Being the typical man, my relationship memory seems to be a lesser force than I thought it was. I was under the distinct impression that Yoshiko and I went to Cafe Praktica on October 14th, but I was mistaken. We actually went out to Yatai Mura on the 14th. My brain seems to have melded the 2 first dates we had into one... duh. No worries though, Cafe Praktica is a great date location for a 6 month anniversary nonetheless, and they'd lit a candle and decorated our table with some white roses for the occasion... gotta love that personal touch!

Yesterday morning, I rediscovered french toast... something I should have thought about at some point in the last year but which slipped my mind for some reason. I even added my personal touch by replacing the Vanilla extract with a drab of Amaretto which added a lovely almond flavour... mmm! Topped it all off with a bit of fruit, and there was Saturday morning breakfast before running the gauntlet of lessons.

Today was of course AEON's much anticipated Hanami party, which went off smashingly. For those not "in the know", Hanami is a cherry blossom viewing party... and yet another excuse to drink and let loose. With the blossoms being early this year and our party scheduled a bit late, we anticipated that the blossoms wouldn't still be around, but they stuck through a week of rain and wind for us and were still ever present, and even falling like a pink snow making for a great day.

The party was of course held in Hachimanyama park. You can see some of the leaves coming out as the blossoms fall, quite a lovely rebirth. The leaves have started to bud throughout the city now. The rain even held off for us and the sun actually came out for a large part of the party!

While we were settings up for the party, a rather enterprising pizza delivery man came down with some flyers saying they could deliver to our party. Quite a good idea! We of course had all the food we could ever need, but I'm sure they make a killing off it.

The pink carpet near where we were setting up.

We had a decent turnout as well, considering the blossom and weather forecast was against us and scared many students from signing up. Here we are basking in the sunlight and enjoying the dishes everybody brought. I threw together a quick taco salad for the occasion which went over quite well. Matto-sensei made up some great rice pudding, which is quite an anomaly here in Japan. While it seems perfectly normal to eat things such as fermented soy beans and to put beans in desserts, people seem to have trouble wrapping their heads around the use of rice in a desert. Thanks to Matt, I'd say a good portion of our students have been convinced that it is is fact possibly to eat rice for dessert!

There was of course the requisite party game, in this case Bingo... with Master Kobayashi as the bingo caller.

After we'd been there for a couple of hours, we got a pleasant surprise with this travelling live music\karaoke duo setting up shop next to our tarp for a little bit. They started out by doing a song for us, and then handed out a book of karaoke songs for the crowd to peruse.

Of course, with us foreigners being the stars of the show at these types of shindigs, the crowd prompted Scott, Matt and myself to give it a shot, which we obliged. Here is Scott belting out his favourite "Take Me Home, Country Road" by John Denver.

And our young scandinavian scamp giving us a rousing rendition of Twist and Shout! For the record, I sang Yesterday by the Beatles and was told I was pretty damn good. Pictures are of course unavailable due to the fact I was signing, but I feel Matt may retaliate for my posting his picture by posting mine on his blog... I also have both Scott and Matt's songs on video, but will limit their embarrasment (for the right price) by not posting the videos here. (yet)

It was great of them travellin' cowboys to stop on by, certainly livened things up a bit! Here's the group. And I've officially decided that my camera's auto setting is crap when it's not sunny out... I'll have to stop being lazy and fiddle with the manual settings.

So a great party! Gotta love the Hanami tradition...

After the party, Yoshiko and I had coffee with 2 of her coworkers, one of which did a homestay in Vancouver and Toronto and actually visited Ottawa! Very cool!

Tomorrow morning, I'm meeting up with the lads and we're being taken to Southern Tochigi by Aiichirou to meet with the head of the Buraku Liberation League. Aiichirou is a human rights advocate working full time on many issues. One of the ongoing problems here in Japan is with Buraku discrimination, which essentially segregates a certain class of society and takes any and every opportunity away from them. I'll have more to say on the subject tomorrow, should be an interesting day!

Next weekend, Yoshiko and I are heading to Tokyo for the weekend, and the following weekend I'm off to Canada!

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Blogger Anskov said...

I wanted to get a picture of you singing, but by that time, my camera was full (I have to get a memory card) I even had to delete a picture so I could get the group picture. However, I'll get a copy of the close up Emiko took and post that.

6:59 PM  

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