CIR Report from Kanazawa (6)
Cherry blossom season has arrived!
“Very little to report” does not mean “nothing” though… In fact, for me those few events I had in January and February were quite memorable.
In January I got a rare treat… a visitor from Belgium! Not an official one, but a close friend of mine, who had decided in a kind of spur of the moment thing to come to Japan. Together we did some sightseeing in Kyoto (saw Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavilion) just before sunset, bathing in the most breath-taking golden glow) and the area around Kanazawa. Highlights included a little trip to snow-covered Shirakawa-go and “sake paradise” Hida Takayama. Not to forget the Oyster Festival in the Noto and a visit to Kanazawa’s Ninja Temple!
Then come February, I was invited to Nanao to give a presentation about Belgium at an international event, and to Kawakita to answer the questions from a group of curious high school students about my country. I also did a kindergarten visit, where I managed to keep a group of 60!! 5-year-olds entertained for an hour and a half, which is quite a feat even if I do say so myself! :-)
Then there was the yearly Ohara Ikebana New Year’s lecture class. The lecture class is a 2 hour demonstration during which a teacher, invited specially for the event, makes several large creations up on stage in front of an audience of eager ikebana ladies. At the end of the event the flowers are raffled between a few lucky people… and guess what… this year one of those lucky people turned out to be none other than yours truly!! :-) Not only did I win a batch of flowers, I won the exact batch of flowers I wished for: a big bunch of Iceland Poppies! Lucky me!
A few weeks later I got to pack my bags for a trip to Yokohama. The weekend was the perfect occasion to meet up with Sophie in Tokyo :-) and to discover Yokohama, which I hadn’t seen yet. The weather was gloriously sunny and it felt great to be out and exploring new sights. (Amusing yet slightly disturbing observation: instead of walking their dogs, a lot of people in Yokohama seem to enjoy walking their pet rabbits?!)
But I’m not done yet! March certainly reminded me of that fact :-)
The one that stood out was definitely the Easter event! This time the event was a joint project with my fellow European colleague Julie (for those of you who don’t know, Julie is our French CIR). We planned a real Easter party with egg painting, making chocolate Easter nests, decorating baskets, and the best of all… we got the Easter bunny to come by and hide loads of Easter eggs so the kids could have a real egg hunt!! Managing twenty-something kids was quite the challenge, but the beaming faces over baskets full of Easter treats at the end of it made it sooo worth it :-)
Meanwhile in my private life, I “graduated” kimono kitsuke lessons in February (for more on the kimono, check out report 5bis) and had been looking for a new challenge, when Yoolim came with a suggestion: The Yosakoi dance group she’d been dancing with since last year, was about to restart training after their winter break… “Why not come try out sometime?”… Little did she know just how tempting that sounded to me (= dance crazy! ahem enthusiast since the age of 5 or so :-) )
I can already hear most of you thinking: “But what ìs this Yosakoi-thing she’s going on about?” Well, it seems to be a generally well-known phenomenon around these parts, usually described as “oh, the wild dancing”… :-)
Meanwhile, it’s April again… the time of goodbyes… and welcomes.
The next months will get pretty busy at work and I’ve got some travel plans in the making too, so that should give me plenty of things to write about next time. So keep an eye out for the next (and probably last) report in a few months!
Enjoy the spring weather!
Groetjes uit Kanazawa,
(Photos by Marlies)
JET Program CIR Report
April 30, 2013