goodbye to november

i visited my brother in his hospital yesterday. he looked good and said he actually felt better than last week, so that we could have a long chat. i'm relieved that he’s most likely to go home before christmas. he'll soon be free (at least for a while). yes, today is already the last day of november and we will soon have christmas and the new year. but every japanese cannot help but think about momiji 紅葉 this time of the year. the word, momiji-gari 紅葉狩, reminds me of the famous title for a kabuki play (based on a noh play).

momiji-gari (literal meaning is “momiji hunt” and actual meaning is “viewing scarlet maple leaves”) is kind of our national obsession, and it is our essential and seasonal tradition that still shows our naturalist side, which i don’t want to lose. so i went out momiji-gari with my mother. we had just a pleasant walk, viewing colourful momiji leaves in my park, as it was. on my way home i saw a kingfisher flying to the branch of momiji near a small pond that is a winter scene of my park. it was a lovely sunny morning and i managed to mark the end of the autumn 2008.
in the mean time, i spend 3 days in tokyo last weekend. i met up my girlfriends in a busy pub near shibuya station. before getting there, i had a tiny accident – the kitten heel of my short boot got stuck in a groove of the platform (merde!!) and broke when i got off a bullet train and walked on. it was not groovy, really. i’d forgotten how crowded tokyo was until i found myself struggling to keep my way. but our reunion was fun. the more excited about our girl talk we got, the louder our voices rose. i had 2 hours. though it was too short for them to fill me in, it was bad enough to increase my crow's feet.
the main aim of my tokyo trip in fact was to visit gotenba with louie, my son, and chiharu, his fiancée, to meet with her parents. they’ve finally decided to tie the knot next year. it was a perfect autumn day for a drive from tokyo to gotenba in shizuoka prefecture. many other people also appeared to think so. the highway's heavy traffic worn mr piano-man, my ex-husband, out. i felt sorry for the driver. still, it must be worthwhile for him, too. we viewed the most magnificent mt fuji on the way. i’d never seen mt fuji that close and that big before.

chiharu’s father, a young-looking retiree, grows crops, tea plants and various fruits and vegetables as one of his hobbies. and in the background of the garden he designed, mt fuji stood out clear against the flawless blue sky. that was kind of the scenery of sheer bliss. and her mother whom i’d met once before, is a lovely person and one of a few working mothers in the village. she seemed to have slaved over a hot stove all morning. she served us home-grown tea and homemade sweets, using home-grown ingredients.

as we left the house for lunch since they booked a table at a nearby hotel restaurant at the foot of mt fuji, her mother handed me a huge shopping bag. i was curious about what’s inside. guess what? there were many boxes of local specialties and delicacies: for example, a fresh real wasabi, which is no longer seen in our fridges (i’m sure many people have no chance to see a fresh one in life, so i show you my pics) in each bag of mr piano-man’s and mine. our brief visit went like: we got there; finished all the plates on the table; bagged plunder half an hour later and then quickly left.
in retrospect, mr piano-man and i could've been like bandits, i’m afraid. yet, how could i never say no when her mother also offered us bags of home-grown peanuts, rice and fresh yuzu picked from their garden? we japanese almost cannot have a new year’s feast without yuzu. meanwhile, louie looks forward to helping chiharu’s father out to farm and harvest next year. it sounds like lohas, don't you think? her parents have epitomised that. i am extremely envious of their lifestyle!



Les Cotrions said...

Happy to hear your brother is better!
Lucky you! You visited Japan! I love Asia...I visited China, India and Vietnam and I left my heart there!
Have a nice week end!


vosgesparis said...

You are totally right I have never seen a real wasabi... as it comes only in tubes here ;) and even then I find it hard to use haha. Bice to read you had a good day with the family of your sons fiancee. And it is good to read your brother felt a bit better! greetings from holland