Friday, June 12, 2009

Sara - Rice Planting

On May 31st, Patrick and I went to plant rice. In Japanese it's called Taue (Tah-oo-eh)田植え. We were invited by our friend, Mr. Kamura, who is the owner of a restaurant we frequent.

Patrick had done it last year and I was unable to attend because I had fractured a bone in my foot. I was very happy to go with them this year.

The rice field was for making sake and it was being maintained by a group Mr. Kamura's friends. It was a very friendly atmosphere. I've never planted rice before but it was really fun. I took off my boots and went into the mud barefoot. The mud was warm and felt pretty good under my feet. I was almost knee deep in it.

But before we went into the mud, there was a tractor that planted rows of rice. We were to plant to remaining rice plants between the rows. Planting rice was pretty easy. You don't plant seeds, but the actual plant. This is because the fields are flooded with a lot of water and a seed would just wash away. Instead, the rice are grown elsewhere until there are several inches tall. Then you take the plant and gently place it in the mud. You have to give it a slight twist when you plant it to make sure that it stays in the mud and not just be sitting on top of it.

After we planted the rice, we went and had a great lunch that included great sake. Here are some pictures that I took of the rice planting.

This is the field before it was planted.

This is the rice tractor.

These are the rice plants in bunches.

This is the field after we planted the rice.

This is a close up of the rice.

Sara - Tea Ceremony Luncheon

On May 23rd, I went to a luncheon with my tea ceremony class, for class. We went to a sushi restaurant that had a tea room in the back. We were served many delicious by Ms. Obara.

Ms. Obara is an advanced student in my class and was practicing a tea ceremony luncheon. Part of the practice included writing out invitations. There are specific things that had to be written and she went through several drafts before giving us the final one. My teacher, fellow students, and I practiced being guests. There a few mistakes made by both host and guests, but it was the best lesson.

The food was amazingly beautiful and delicious. Unfortunately I was unable to take any pictures because I was concentrating so hard on the eating order that I forgot to take out the camera. I had to keep track of where I placed lids, chopsticks, sake cups, and which way to pass serving dishes.

Each food item had a meaning and reflected upon spring. The flower arrangement on the wall also reflected upon spring. The flowers also have meanings, but I was a very bad student and didn't keep track of that.

I did put together a quick video of what I was able to capture of the ceremony. I didn't get all of the moves, but you can watch Ms. Obara make Ousu (light green tea).

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sara- Time Warp to September 2008 (Yabusame Festival)

Well I finally got the video put together. I hate Apple iMovie and this may be the last movie I make with it.
Anyway, back in September 2008, Patrick and I skipped work to go see Yabusame which I believe is part of the two or three day Hachimangu festival...

Yabusame is archery on horseback. The ground for the event is blessed by the Shinto priests, and if I remember correctly, horse archery was not used only for warfare in Iwate, but it was also used as a way to scare off demons and so there were also priests at the event.

Sara - Kitamatsuzono Graduation

Well we finally had our graduation on the 13th and everything went well. We had a lot of speeches, and some singing. Graduation took up half the day and I was lucky to get out at 3:30 instead of 4:25. I made a movie of the event so that you can sort of see what goes on. I skipped the speeches. The music in the movie is called "Tsubasa wo Kudasai" which translates to 'Please give me wings'. The words, roughly translated, are:

If I could have one wish granted now, I would wish for a pair of wings.
Upon my back, like a bird, I wish you would give me a pair of white wings.

I want to spread my wings and fly through this wide blue sky.
Through the free heavens where there is no sorrow, I want to soar and fly far!

When I was a child, I used to have this dream, and even now I still dream the same dream.

The girl who waves towards the end of the movie is Misa. She comes by every day to talk to me in English. Her English ability is very impressive. She went to Indiana on a two week abroad program so we often talk about her friends in America and American culture.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sara - Spring Ballroom Party 09

Last year I went to a ballroom dance party that my dance studio held and had a great time. I went again this year, just yesterday, and was just as amazed. This time we had a couple from the US come and perform. They are placed as 2nd in the world in the category of Latin dancing. But they won 1st place at the Osaka Asia Open on Feb. 24th. Riccardo Cocchi is actually Italian and Yulia Zagorouitchenko is Russian, but they now compete as a couple for the US. (Since 2007)
It was really great seeing them as the performed show dances. It's still ballroom, but a lot flashier since they don't have to worry about getting points etc.

Here is a brief collection of the dances they performed. I thought Yulia's costumes were especially fantastic.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sara-2008 recap

I said I would write about all my previous adventures, but I never quite got around to it unfortunately. So instead, I mashed up all the things I did into one movie. There is the all city track and field meet, Yabusame (horse archery festival in Morioka), the school festival and my trip to Yamagata with my teachers. I got the perfect music for the movie for Christmas from friends back home, G and Ryan. A big thank you goes to them since I wouldn't have done it otherwise. The music really sums up my feelings about 2008 I think.