Monday, April 29, 2013

Yasubame and Sakura Blossoms

Our weekend wasn't quite the bundle of fun that I had planned for it to be. Oh, weather in Japan. The forecast was way to rainy, blustery and cold for us to go all the way out to Hirosaki for the cherry blossom festival so we opted to go next weekend. But we did make it down to Towada for a little women's Yasubame under the cherry trees and art action on Sunday. It was the perfect little day trip for us exhausted parents of a cranky baby.

This is a monument to something in the park where they hold the Yasubame event every year. Not quite sure what it's a monument to, but isn't it pretty?

We were pleasantly surprised to see all kinds of flowers and bonsai's being sold this year. It made me cry a little bit because I wanted to bring some home but I knew that they would just die because of the construction workers. At least I have one more spring before we leave.

There were also a few people selling some wood working. I had to get a picture of Ian next to some statues. The Giacometti-esque stick person has boobs! I almost died laughing. Bea was bundled up an asleep by this point which is good because the wind is chilly.

There were also pony rides and a leather working area.

It's not like we could resist the food. I actually found something new in Japan! They put half of a smoked duck loin on a stick and grill it. So fabulous! The fatty skin is so crispy and wonderful! I'm going to have to find another one sometime.


I realize that I have yet to explain yasubame yet. It is mounted archery. In the spring, under the cherry blossoms the emphasis is on women's yasubame. When we came to Towada last fall it was for men's yasubame.

The women ride a horse at a full gallop down a sectioned off "track" that is probably around a hundred yards long. There are three targets set up along the track and the goal is for the women to notch three arrows and shoot three targets all while riding a galloping horse. This is incredibly hard. These women are pros and rarely do I see them loose three arrows...mostly just loose two and notch the third. How would you hold a boy and arrow steady while controlling a galloping horse?

The targets have a square of foam insulation in the center and the idea is to get your arrow through the center of that and not crack the insulation. You get different points based on where your arrow lands.

These lovely girls with parasols allow the judges to know what the arrow did from a hundred yards away. They are the card girls of the event.

After everyone has had their shot they parade the horses back to the other end and their trailers. I'm assuming that they do it in order to who won to who lost. Aren't their outfits and their horses tack wonderful?

This gentleman is demonstating the stance that you have to take to be able to shoot an arrow while riding a horse. Japanese people are usually not does one put it?...gregarious, in their body language. I'm wondering if he is drunk. It's also interesting to note that I never catch the face of a Japanese person when I take a picture. They are masters at turning away at the last second.

These women have fabulous skill and fabulous clothes. I saw a woman with silk chaps! I also love how they mix and match their colors and patterns.

 We got to see a group of funny vegetable mascots running around.

Only in Japan would kids want their picture with a yam. Nagaimo.

Other than that we have little news. Bea seems to have kept growing. She needs more clothes. More sleepers really. I'm looking forward to the week so that I can get her back on a regular nap schedule. She doesn't have many identifiable new words yet. She has learned to "sing", usually along with me in the car. She has learned how to open the refrigerator and the drawers down low. She's gotten really good at pulling herself to standing and she's now working on cruising. But we don't have too many things she can cruise on since I sold the coffee table.

We had a crawling specialist come into babylap sit to talk to me about Bea's gimpy crawl. She drags her left leg so bad that I'm worried the rug burn is gonna start bleeding. I've been trying to train her to come up on to both knees more. It's a slow process but her rest position seems to be on both knees now.

Ian has got a parcel of news. He found out that he will be testing for Staff Sgt. at the end of May. He's studying away. We also got the list of places that will need a person like Ian around the time of our move. Really the list is just and illusion of control. They will send us where they will send us. But I have high hopes for Europe.

Note: I know there are no pictures....blogger is being crazy and I wanted to put this up anyways. I'm gonna work on adding pictures later.

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