Just a couple of days to go now folks. One of V's bosses had offered to take us out for a drive this Sunday. We reported to V's place after our breakfast at McDonalds. I just wanted a small breakfast as I knew we would have lunch soon enough, but the breakfast burger was huge. Far superior to what we get in Australia and more expensive, but not that much dearer.
E collected us and V and our first stop was a well known and famous shrine of which I have forgotten the name. But before then we had watched a street parade in Hirosaki, an annual event with many many dancers and a variety of music from pop to traditional. I took no notice of course at any of the hot looking guys who were dancing.
Now, I think it was a shrine and not a temple we stopped at. One is for Buddhists and the other for Shinto. After a cold drink, we then stopped at a fantastic little bakery in the middle of nowhere in the forest and a few things were bought. It is a favourite with people from Hirosaki to drive to on a Sunday. From there we went on a bit further to a picnic ground. The seating facilities were not that great, but the park was pretty enough. It was quite humid there and some insects bothered us, just like in Australia where there would be flies bothering us. E had put together a wonderful picnic, the main dish being a zucchini slice she had cooked, along with crisps, nibbly things, bottles of cider and a custard/junket dessert. On top Maccas a couple of hours earlier, I was full.
We packed up the picnic gear and cleaned the mud off the chair legs where they sank into the soft damp soil. Yes, one of us went a over t when a stool leg sank. I could not possibly confirm that it was V.
We went up hill and down dale around sweeping and tight corners as travelled a circuit around Mount Iwaki and we ended up at the beach, Ajigasawa Beach to be precise. We had seen all sorts of housing and farms along the way.
The car conversation was interesting. Although E spoke English well, having lived and studied overseas, she was puzzled about the way we speak of some fruits and vegetables. This matter had never occurred to me, but it was thought provoking. We have a banana and some bananas but not celery and some celeries. There were a few more we thought of but I can't now.
The beach was pleasant and we sat on the bleachers for a good while and V, E and myself paddled for a bit, except something stared nibbling at V's feet. It was a bit chilly for swimming, but of course that never stops kids, so there were a few in the water. They were collecting some seaweed too for later eating. It was very light and flimsy and I should think would have been eaten raw or blanched at the most. Some lads were horseplaying and dumped one of their mates in the water after pulling down his swimming shorts. Some things don't change around the world.
We left the beach late afternoon and drove back to Hirosaki by a direct road and passed by many more farms and stopped at one shop to buy local produce.
We thanked E profusely for taking us out for a lovely trip and that night R, V and I ate good Indian food at a restaurant next to our hotel.
There were quite a lot of lavender beds around.
These dancers in the parade could turn their outfits into about ten different outfits by turning them inside out, around etc.
The shrine gate.
The shrine itself.
Mount Iwaki as we left Hirosaki. I told E it would make a good picture with the wires when she suggested they would spoil it.
Here she is closer. Traces of snow were still adorning her crown.
Our picnic lunch.
Ajigasawa Beach. Not Bondi no, but not bad.