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01/22/2012

End of Semester Post in Moriya

Hello again everyone! Recently I was invited to revisit my host mom's son's soba shop in Moriya which is in Ibaraki, Japan. She decided that since finals were coming up soon and that since my imminent departure date was getting closer and closer that we would have a going away celebration there. I previously told her about my seijinshiki (coming of age day) in Shinjuku and how wonderful everyone's kimonos were and my slight disappointment at being unable to purchase or rent an affordable one for the occasion. Hence I was really grateful that my host mom decided to surprise and make up for my seijinshiki by borrowing her mother's old wedding Kimono and invited a Kimino store friend to help me dress up in it and take pictures while we were in Moriya.

Most people I've known who have worn a kimono before often told me that wearing one often got uncomfortable after a while because of how tight the middle obi part often is. However I wasn't so much bothered by it as much as I was bothered by my inability to walk as fast or sit down and get up without effort! However being able to see and be in the process of having a kimono put on me and the numerous layers and accessories underneath was very interesting and fun to watch.

Ki01(Me wearing Host mom's mother's wedding Kimono from the Taisho Era)

Here is a frontal view of the kimono. The sleeves were a tad short due to my height however it was still a very beautiful and unique looking Kimono. I was told that this Kimono was made around the Taisho era (early 1900's) and that the embroidery and designs were well made and unique compared to Kimono made nowadays.

Ki02

(A view of the back with the obi tied)

I first visited Moriya in late September where it was oddly still warm and very reminiscent of summer at the time. It was hot that day as well as beautiful but also filled with mosquitoes waiting to ambush people near trees! This weekend was completely opposite in terms of weather, it was definitely a cold winter afternoon and to top it off it rained the whole day. Since I am from Oregon where it rains frequently it didn't bother me as much and actually reminded me a bit of home.

There was a new years drinking party at the time and I was introduced to many of my host mom's nephew's high school friends. I had a wonderful time meeting new people and catching up with some others that I haven't been able to talk to since my last visit. Also I was able to finally try some of the soba made by her son that I was unable to try last time because it sold out in the afternoon. From this experience I got to find out that I definitely enjoy cold soba more than warm and overall the soba he made was super delicious! 

IMG_4940
(Soba made by host mom's son)

During dinner I got treated to some oyakodonburi (chicken and egg over rice) which I have heard a lot about before coming to Japan but never actually had the pleasures of trying.

IMG_4962
(Oyakodonburi!)

This was also really tasty and now I will be on the lookout for it when I go to other restaurants or even Japanese restaurants in the US as well. After dinner I was delighted and surprised with a strawberry cake in to commemorate my coming of age day (which is 20 years old)!

IMG_4972
(Strawberry cake, my favorite!)

This will be my last post of the semester, regrettably I am only a semester long student and will be returning at the end of this semester which is early February (coming up too soon!). I am glad and grateful that I had such a wonderful host mother and met so many kind and helpful people since coming to Japan. I think I will miss the people here the most but I have also made many wonderful memories to remember for a long time.

It has been a lot of fun blogging and sharing about some of my experiences and opinions while studying in Tokyo. It has  has also been really fun reading some of the encouraging comments left by readers as well! In hindsight I am glad I overcame my fear of blogging and am glad I decided to go on ahead with it. It definitely made exploring and taking pictures (especially with regards to food) even more enjoyable and meaningful for me. With about 2 weeks left in Tokyo, after finals this coming week I plan to do some more exploration and eating around in Tokyo before I am due back in the states. I plan and hope to make the most of my short time left in Japan. Thank you for reading!

 

 

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