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桃まつり (Momo matsuri)

April 5, 2012

So, first of all, I didn’t even realize that the day we went to the Peach Festival was April Fool’s day until I was about to go to bed. Oops. Anyway, yes! Today (April 1st) Jess, Samantha, and I all decided to go to the 桃まつり (momo matsuri) at the park in Koga-shi because the weather was just so beautiful. Jess picked me up around 11:00 and we started driving towards the festival. What should have taken us fifteen minutes to drive and park ended up taking us forty minutes, because everyone in Koga-shi had the same idea. We waited in a line of cars for so long while policemen directed traffic into all of the parking lots the park had to offer. Samantha drove separately, and got stuck in an even longer queue, so Jess and I explored a small shrine that was on the edge of the park near the parking lots while we waited for Samantha.

Hello bamboo! It's been a while.

Somebody gave the Jizo statues in the shrine little pinwheels.

Once Samantha met up with us, we only had to take a few steps before we came across some peach trees that hadn’t bloomed yet.

So close!

The little pink buds were so cute, and we predicted that they’d all be blooming in a couple of days. We made our way further into the park, and came across some vendors. One of my favorite parts was a storyteller in the middle of a performance as we walked by. He was so expressive!

Check out that face! I hope I'm just as understandable when I'm teaching...

The three of us wandered around a bit more, and soon came across trees that were in bloom!

The pink was so striking against the blue sky! After taking at least several dozens of photos each, we perused the food stalls to determine what we wanted to eat. I ended up getting 焼きそば (yakisoba), which are stir fried noodles with cabbage. We ended up choosing a vendor who had to make a new batch, so although we had to wait a while for our food it was made fresh! It was absolutely delicious, and I need to figure out what the secret of making it is. After eating we climbed to the top of this hill where a lot of kids were running up and down these small hidden paths. It was pretty cute to see their heads popping out of the hedges!

I kept wondering how many kids I was seeing would turn out to be future students of mine.

We walked all around the park, and saw a bunch of amazing things. There was a hot air balloon that people to go up a little ways in the air in (an adult had to shell out 1000 yen, though, so we passed. I wouldn’t have gone anyway, since I’m afraid of heights!).

The hot air balloon in action.

We also came across a section of the park which still had some plum blossoms in bloom! It was exciting for me to see, since they reminded me of Kyoto, and they smelled so heavenly.

We also ate a lot of awesome food. I already talked about lunch, but we bought チョコバナナ (chocobanana) for dessert and later I got strawberry-flavored かき氷 (kakigoori), which is shaved ice with syrup. Mmmm. It was so good! As a souvenir I ended up buying three small pouches of tea: peach tea, peach herb tea, and a loose leaf earl grey with cornflowers and snowflake-shaped sugar chunks. I need to find a tea strainer now, so I can drink the earl grey!

My chocobanana, which had a Koala March cookie on the top!

Samantha (L) and Jess (R) enjoying their chocobananas.

My three new teas. I can't wait to test them!

At one point in the afternoon we decided to rest on a park bench and just enjoy the sunshine for a bit. After we sat there a while we were approached by an older man who informed us (in English) that three years ago the gods told him that 2000 years ago his name was Jesu. He took a picture of the sun that day, and the photo resulted in a cross shape, which he took as a sign. This guy came prepared, because he gave each of us a copy of the photo and told each of us that it was a present. We also had another older man come up to ask us in excellent English where we were from. After we answered, he then asked us how long we were going to be in Koga-shi. We told him at least a year, so he thanked us and abruptly left. It was pretty confusing! I wonder if this is going to be a common thing here in Koga-shi.

Well, it’s about time to wrap things up. Hopefully my words and photos did the festival justice! It definitely was an amazing time.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Karlee permalink
    April 19, 2012 2:14 PM

    OH GOODNESS, I’m rolling on the floor laughing about that guy with the cross-shaped sun photos!

    – Karlee

    P.S. We should skype soon : ) Are weekends or weekdays better for you? (Let me know via fb, please! ^^)

  2. Jess permalink
    April 21, 2012 10:45 PM

    I love all 3 photos of the peach tree blossoms are soooo pretty!!!!

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