Sunday, 10 April 2011

A Family Day Out

Mum and Dad have been here for 2 weeks now but they have barely left the house, except to visit me in hospital last week or go to the supermarket. A trip to the home centre has probably been the biggest outing so far, so we thought we'd better make the effort to do something yesterday.

After lunch in town we drove out to Saihaku, about 30 minutes from home. The cherry blossoms along the river there were in full bloom, and the weather was better than it looks in some of these photos...

To coincide with the cherry blossoms, the town holds a small festival where townspeople display sculptures or models they have made using things from their house such as lacquer ware or ceramics. People make the displays in their homes and then open up the big windows onto the street so that everyone can see them. Here we have K studying a figure made of lacquer lunchboxes and bowls...

...and here are a couple of pandas made from baskets:

As this is the year of the rabbit, there were several rabbit-themed displays. This one shows rabbits pounding rice to make mochi. Whereas in the West we say there is a face visible in the full moon, in Japan the patterns on the moon are said to show rabbits making mochi. These rabbits here were made from traditional Japanese footwear: wooden geta sandals can be seen in the centre, the rabbits clothes are made from the colourful thongs of zori sandals and the white parts are tabi, the divided cotton socks worn with sandals.

In this prefecture there is a well-known folktale about a white rabbit, so he popped up a lot in the festival. This one is made from small bowls and dishes, wired together.

K enjoyed looking at all the displays, and running around looking for the red lanterns and numbers which marked the participating houses. T, meanwhile, spent the entire afternoon sleeping in his pushchair...

Finally we made it back to the primary school, where we had parked the car, and there was just time for a quick go on the swings before we headed home again...


  1. I love these displays! What a lovely way for a community to celebrate with each other. (I think I prefer it to our Christmas decorating craziness over here in the States.)

  2. How lovely.. We've just had my parents over from abroad too - it's the best thing ever.. The children love love love it, and so do we!

    The blossoms are stunning, and what fantastic displays!