Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Yamagata Banzai Dango *update

I'm back from Yamagata and feeling absolutely tired. But it was so great! I have so much great memories that I think I'll forget to tell all of them. Do I make sense?
(Looking at the photos will give you a better picture (literally) about my trip. This will be a short summary about my feelings and thoughts.)

Overall, the ride from Akita city to Yamagata city, where my (host) aunt lives, is about 4 hours, but we made many pit stops along the way. Firstly, we went to visit otoosan's mum in Akita's southern part. Really an epic grandma I must say. She served us really great sweets and gave us an awesome bentou for the ride. She makes the best imoten in the world! (Sweet potato bread-fry)
Afterwards we visited a sakura park and many road stations (sort of souvenir shopping malls along main highway's) and went to an amusement park of pet animals. It was sort of a children's zoo with a lot of cute little animals. We also went to see a river nearby and ate lunch there.
(now my mind is blank)
And so we went to the aunt's place where we had a huge and delicious dinner. It's just unbelievable how much effort they (the Japanese) put to everything! It really is a huge cultural leap for me. WHO~~OU!
Later that evening we went to see the cherries at night. It was really magical - there was a bit of lighting around the trees and little sparkly bugs were hovering between the branches making it all look like fairy dust. After that - sleep.

The next day we went to a lot of places, but the main two were a central hill in Yamagata city with a lot of magnificent cherry trees and later Yamadera mountain temple. Both were breathtakingly beautiful with cherry blossom rain. Yup, it's that time of the year in the far north Honshuu. We spent the later afternoon completely in Yamadera, climbing the hills, seeing the temples and shrines and later we ate kakikoori (shaved ice with syrup) and rested a bit. That evening's dinner wa syet again (go figure) HUGE.

The final day was sakura day. We went to see the 1,200-year-old cherry tree in Kubo-cho and the surroundings. The tree was just gigantic! It was supported by numerous pillars and looked like a well cared for senior grandma/pa.
Later on, it was goodbye to the aunts, uncles, nieces and grandparents and off we went to finally get our hanami dango. It is a small but famous shop in Ooishida city, where average waiting time is a little under an hour (if you're lucky to arrive there before it's all sold out). Because of that we thought to go to eat something because it had been a while. During the ride, I noticed a great spot under the cherry trees by a riverside and at that moment we all decided that this will be the spot for our hanami.
And that's that.

*5th May, Kodomo no hi (Children's Day), I went to a local freemarket about 30 minutes ride away from home. It was in a dahlia park in which were a lot of cherry trees too and that was the place where we ate yet again a hanami lunch. The air was unbelievably thick with the smell of blossoms which were hanging from the branches over our heads. The petals were dancing in the wind and occasionally dropped on our onigiri (riceballs), which was just like in the movies I've seen too much before coming to Japan. Haaa~~~ah!
Later, we went to Akita Central PArk, which is a huge place with thick forests covering many mountains and also your usual park that runs through a university campus. That place was filled to the brim with sakura trees and there we rent bikes for a ride in the surroundings. Fubuki (petal rain) was really magical and the forests looked a lot like my homeland's. It felt really heartwarming and soul freeing. The ride lasted for an hour, but it felt like ages. A trip of a lifetime.
The whole day, I felt really moved by the views of Akita. I'm just unbelievably glad that I happened to be sent here into the countryside of Japan, because that's where I think you can really feel the heart of a nation. The root of it, stripped from bureaucracy etc. NATURE.
And that's that.

Now I'm home, have finished half of my F level Kumon and really put a lot of effort in creating this entry and putting up all those photos on FB. I hope it gives you a bit of joy to see some pink in your everyday computer surfing.
Nice of you to have dropped by!
BB and good night!


  1. Do I make sense?

    That brings me back!

  2. Damn, I want to have a huge (healthy) dinner too every day... but that will probably not happen any time soon. Also, would like to get away from this stuffy, city-air, people-filled place we call Tallinn. Glad to read so much happiness from here, gives a positive after-feeling.

    (also, I'm still not creating a FB account.)