Friday, June 21, 2013

"Shrugs, I ain't gon' judge!" / Ridin' around in dat rain

Happy Summer Solstice! Today's the first official day of summer!

There's no need to recap this week. Except for a trip to the grocery store (Beisia), I've stayed in all week because 1) It's been raining nonstop since Tuesday, and 2) I had to prepare for my first test/midterm that was today. So I'm just going to write about my Friday.

Morning: Psalm 86. Evening: Namaste 183 "The Discipline of Grace"

After we took our respective tests, it seemed that everybody wanted to forget their sorrows, so a group of us went in search of food! First stop was Vidal, the tiniest bakery I've ever seen in my life! The lady who bakes everything runs the bakery from her house. Her business takes up the first floor, and then she lives on the second floor. The décor makes it feel very quaint and cozy, plus all the bread and pastries are really cheap. And delicious, of course!  Bread, cheese, and sweets are my favorite foods, so I was glad to knock two of those out in one spot.

From there we went to Shiga Daigaku's cafeteria. This was my second time there, and the main dish I had included chicken karaage, green onions, a hard-boiled egg, spicy sauce, and rice. In addition to that I ate a tofu salad and one of the breads that I bought from Vidal. Again, cheap and delicious! I was beyond satisfied.

We made it back to JCMU in time for this week's cultural activity: traditional tea ceremony (茶道/sadou)! I was the last one to arrive and as soon as I showed up, Melville-sensei popped up out of nowhere, yelled "Grace-san can translate!" to the three ladies who would be demonstrating sadou for us, and then disappeared. Never mind that another sensei was already there to help us understand what we would see and hear; Melville-sensei said so, so I was doing it!

We all entered the super-secret-hidden tatami room to watch how tea ceremony is done and learn how to receive and consume Japanese sweets (お菓子/okashi) and maccha properly. Obviously I don't know or remember all the rules, but I can tell you that attention to detail, appreciation of subtle beauty, and gestures of gratitude are very important. The whole thing was relatively short, but I really enjoyed it. And I actually did pretty well translating!

Once that ended, I went to Beisia again with a fellow student. When we left the store rain was pouring, and as I got drenched all I could do was look up at the sky and laugh. How beautiful life is! Getting caught in the rain can be so refreshing if you let it be. I'm not even trying to be metaphorical. Not fighting the circumstances and just going along with it, feeling the water on my skin... it was magical. Even though I haven't seen the sun since Tuesday, and I ended up biking around in the rain today, I feel so good right now! Try hanging out in the rain sometime and see what I mean.

The usual out-and-about crowd went to Kyoto this evening, so those of us remaining here watched 'Wreck-It Ralph' in the TV room together before calling it a night. Tomorrow's schedule involves going to a festival and dance performance at Hikone Castle!

70 Days in Kansai photos

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