Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Sunflower Sayanaras

This past weekend was busy with goodbye parties, coffee dates and trips to some favorite spots in Tottori. On Friday a major typhoon was set to strike Tottori directly and school was cancelled at every school in the prefecture. While a friend of mine in Tokushima was terrified by the way her apartment was shaking, here in Tottori it was almost completely rain and wind free. It was a total false alarm that proved nice for all the students who got a four day holiday! (because Monday was Sea Day as well) In Japan teachers always come into the work, no matter what. So typhoon or not I was at my desk for the 8:10 start of my work day. The morning was boring because there were no students and no classes, so in the afternoon I went downstairs to visit Kiyosue for a cup of tea. She ended up taking me to the prefectural museum for dessert and coffee. Her hubby works there so she knows the museum restaurant well, and we enjoyed watermelon cheesecake and matcha ice cream. All in all, not a bad typhoon Friday!!

On Saturday morning I met up with friends for one last trip to cat café Kitty Blue. The cats were in their usual charming form and I just enjoyed relaxing with them running over my legs in search of treats that Meru was doling out.
 After our cat fix we headed to Kannon in garden. This is possibly one of my favorite places in all of Japan. It is a quaint garden and Buddhist temple tucked away on the base of Mt. Kyusho. It is about \500 to enter, and it includes some matcha tea and okashi. The feeling of calm is unmatched anywhere else in the city. It also happens to look exceptional in each season. Particularly the fall when the leaves on the trees are changing.

That evening we walked down Wakasakaido and enjoyed the summer festival that runs every Saturday night from July through August. Sarah and Meru went fishing for baby koi and we split some cotton candy with JM and Dave. We finished our night with a nomi and dinner at Doma Doma, by far one of my most favorite haunts.
Sunday morning I met up with my Japanese tutor and was really surprised when she showered me with gifts, photos, a letter in simple Japanese and even a bag of fresh produce. I was her student for about a year and a half before I quit to focus on my last month’s here. I sort of felt a little animosity about quitting from her, but at this final coffee meeting she was genki as ever. It was fun, and as usual she tried to convert me to SGI Buddhism, an occult type sect of traditional Buddhism. I just smiled.

That evening was another goodbye event, this time the last bijinkai for Yamashita and Kiyosue and I. Kiyosue’s husband joined us again, and we enjoyed the ladies plan at Cucina, a fabulous Italian place, where I got to drink a mimosa!! Yamashita presented me with a beautiful hard cover address book as a going away gift. The cover has a picture of a koi fish and it is truly one of the most beautiful gifts I have received here. It is also something I can easily use for years to come, so it is a nice lasting memory. I was definitely on the verge of tears thinking about how much I am going to miss those two. Yamashita is jetting off to Bangkok this Friday so I have even less time with her. I never would have guessed my two best friends at work would be 20 and 30 years older than me, but they turned out to become like older sisters to me.

Monday was Sea Day, another excuse for a holiday in Japan. Literally the Japanese instituted this day because there was no holiday in the sweltering July heat. Supposedly it is to honour the sea. In the morning Toshie and Toshimi, the aunt and niece I tutor, took me to Shikano. I have tutored the two of them for the past year, and every Wednesday night has been so relaxing, sitting under the kotatsu and enjoying chatting. Plus they always give me food to take home!! Shikano is a small onsen town about 1 hour drive from Tottori. We stopped at a small restaurant inside a traditional house where we ate the most delicious bento off of wooden umbrellas. It was adorable, and in addition to being aesthetically pleasing was the most delicious meal I have had in the two years I have been here. Everything had a unique and exquisite flavor, including the local flower that was pickled!! Of course Toshie treated us because she is a doll, and after lunch she even took us to a local handmade ice cream shop. We were stuffed from lunch but she got me two take away flavors to try, sakura ice cream and umeshu sorbet. The ice cream shop happened to be in the middle of the countryside, opposite to a sunflower field, so a completely picturesque finish to the morning. 
That afternoon the sun was still shining brightly so Meru and I trained to Higashihama beach and soaked up the rays. I got a little burnt, but enjoyed one last time in the Japanese sea, and plowed through my book, Tokyo Vice, about an American who began reporting on the Yakuzas activity for the Yomuiri Shinbun. This past weekend was stuffed with events and parties and coffees. The fuller my heart gets the more I wonder how I will adjust to being back home. I am definitely ready to leave and really excited to readjust to Canada, but Tottori has become my second home now for so many reasons.

No comments:

Post a Comment