|Helping Bou-san's friends harvest rice|
|Sum and I gathering buckwheat|
After 11 short days, my stay was up, and it was back to Tokyo. I had the luck to catch a ride with some guests at Bou-san's inn, a music-reading performing duo of immense talent who read/played at the inn the night before. After their show, I'd stayed up late with them singing oldies and traditional American folk songs ("Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam..."), and in the morning when it was discovered that we were headed in the same direction, they offered me a ride. Success!
I had 4 more days in Tokyo that were over in a blink. I got to see a few more of Nathan's friends and finish up some gift shopping, but the grand finale was today. Nathan and I woke up this morning at 4 a.m. to go to the Tsukiji fish market, the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world and one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind. We actually got there a little late and missed the big tuna auction, but we stood in line for an hour to have breakfast at a famous sushi restaurant, and it was absolutely worth the wait! Next we went to see the kabuki matinee, a four hour marathon of traditional Japanese theater. Shamisens twanging, samurai with heavily painted faces posing with gusto, all of the female parts played by men... It was highly stylized, but quite dramatic and thoroughly enjoyable! Finally, we topped off the day with one final trip to an onsen. I've fallen in love with Japanese public baths; they are something I will surely miss upon returning to the States.
Tomorrow I leave... At 4 p.m. my flight departs, and it's back to the land of the setting sun. I miss home to be sure, and there are people I am aching to see again, but the parting is bittersweet. My trip to Japan has been a roaring success, surely to be reprised somewhen in the future.
Farewell, Nihon... I have loved you so!
yours in peace and love,
|Azumino and the Japanese Alps|