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 [1.10] Kimono, Ikebana, Fish Marketplace Last updated 
12 Jan 1999 

Ikebana Field Trip 10 Jan 1999
Ikebana (ee-kay-bah-nah) is the Japanese art of arranging flowers. Today we went on a field trip to not only see the art, but to try it firsthand. We loaded on a bus (pictured left-right, back-front: Jill McKay, Tom Acker, Bob Trombley, Denis Gaty, Erin Dewsburry, Brian Pitaniello, Cherokee Cain, Ben McCracken, Sara Petty, Chris Houbeck) and headed to the hotel where the day's events would take place.

Dressing in Kimono 10 Jan 1999
When we got there, we entered a room where some ladies helped us put on our kimono (none of us had our own kimono, we were just borrowing them). After everyone was dressed, we all started taking pictures of each other.
Here are the kimono pictures that turned out decently:

Kimono 1
Erin Dewsburry and Jill McKay

Kimono 2
Elly Bunzendahl

Kimono 3
Lindsay Proctor and Sara Petty

Kimono 4
Freya Katkowsky (English teacher at JCMU) and Allison Morris

Kimono 5
Dan Laursen (that's me)

Kimono 6
(some of) The Men of JCMU (left-right, back-front):
Cherokee Cain, Tom Acker, Chris Houbeck, Sam Blair, Denis Gaty, Allen Pollock
Ben McCracken, Dan Laursen, Bob Trombley, Casey Kuhn, Brian Pitaniello

Kimono 7
(some of) The Women of JCMU:
Lindsay Proctor, Sara Petty, Erin Dewsburry, Elly Bunzendahl, Jill McKay, Allison Morris

Kimono 8
Everyone in Kimono (left-right, back-front):
Chris Houbeck, Tom Acker, Allen Pollock, Denis Gaty, Cherokee Cain, Brian Pitaniello, Dan Laursen, Bob Trombley, Ben McCracken, Casey Kuhn, Sam Blair
Freya Katkowsky, Sara Petty, Lindsay Proctor, Elly Bunzendahl, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?
?, ?, ?, Allison Morris, Jill McKay, ?, Erin Dewsburry, ?, ?

The Ikebana Exhibit 10 Jan 1999
There was a large room with many different examples of ikebana. One of the most striking differences between these arrangements and typical American flower arrangements is the low amount of symmetry. I think it makes the arrangements more interesting.
I took lots of pictures, but here are some of the best:

Ikebana 1
Ikebana 2
Ikebana 3
Ikebana 4
Ikebana 5
Ikebana 6
Here's a picture of one of the artists at work

Trying Ikebana 10 Jan 1999
While waiting for our chance to arrange flowers, we were served mattcha tea and an-mochi (moh-chee). An-mochi has become one of my favorite Japanese foods -- it's sweet bean paste covered with rice-flour dough. Ours were decorated like a rabbit because 1999 is the year of the rabbit (you see rabbits everywhere in Japan because of this). If you've never had an-mochi, imagine sweet mashed-up baked beans -- without the sauce (just the beans and lots of sugar). It's good stuff; I'm definitely a fan.

After the snack and the flower viewing, we sat down in front of our respective flower pots and flowers. Women dressed in kimono (who had much more experience than we) helped us cut and place various plant life into the bed of pins. After we were done (my arrangement is slightly to the right of center), we took photos of our creations. Here's mine.

Free Lunch 10 Jan 1999
When it was time for lunch, we all sat in another big room and munched on snacks (local Japanese orange-type fruits, sandwiches, crackers, cookies). Up on stage, ikebana artists dressed in kimono (what else?) showed their skills.

Next, we played bingo, and each of the JCMU students had to introduce themselves to the audience (in Japanese) before drawing the next bingo number out of the hat. When someone called "bingo", they got a prize. The prizes included tickets, flowers, pottery, and other decorative items. There were many prizes, so lots of people won. Here are Bob Trombley and Erin Dewsburry with their prizes. After a while, I finally did get "bingo", and won this.

There were two women sitting next to me with whom I attempted to chat (using my limited Japanese skills). I said hello, determined that they were teachers at a local high school, told them that I was a student with limited Japanese knowledge, had a few laughs, and said goodbye when the lunch was over. Japanese I learned in the classroom worked on real people! Amazing!

When the prizes were gone, we all stood up and "swayed" (locked arms and tilted from side to side somewhat in unison) to some Japanese songs. (In the picture of the snacks you can see the paper with the lyrics). There was a cute little girl running around while the singing was going on, and Denis Gaty and Bob Trombley ended up "swaying" with her.

Ayuya no Sato 10 Jan 1999
After we left the hotel, kimono, and ikebana behind, we took the bus to Ayuya no Sato (rougly translated: local fish market) to sample some Japanese food.

The place was amazing. The first thing I saw when I walked in was a mochi stand, so I picked up a package with some different kinds. Delicious!

Past the mochi, there was mainly edible aquatic life -- all kinds of fish and other tasty treats (octopus, squid, seaweed, etc). The great part was, wherever there was a kind of food, there was usually a free sample. You just picked up the chopsticks and had yourself a bite. Try some!

I bought some sort of candied fish (I'm pretty sure the characters in the middle are pronounced "wakasagi no goma??e" -- the only thing I could determine with my dictionary is that "goma" means sesame seeds). They were apparently from lake Biwa (the two red characters in the top right corner say "Biwa"). I'm not used to eating the entire fish, but the way they were prepared, they made a crunchy treat.

Ride Home 10 Jan 1999
On the way home, I saw lots of open space. I'm definitely not in Tokyo! Here are some fields whizzing by with houses in the background, and here are some tree-covered hills spotted by cloud shadows. Both were taken through the bus window.

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