Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yamagata Living

Day two in Yamagata was an incredible day of leisure. In the morning Ryo's father, Yuu-san, took us fishing in a river about 30 minutes away. 20 minutes in the car and we were surrounded by lush green and mountains. We had to look for the perfect fishing spot. Yuu-san then donned his fishing pant/boots.

...and so did Irwin. LOL. Pic is too cute not to include.
Yuu-san showed us how to hook our worms, and then how to cast and move the bait through the water, targeting the places where the water was running fast but deep. On his thrid cast, he caught this little guy, which made us believe that river-fishing was a piece of cake.
Of course an hour or more went by with Irwin and I catching nothing but some sunshine and prime cicada singing. Ryo also hooked a little guy, which she released. In any case it was a beautiful day to be outside, immersed in nature.
After fishing we picked up Chie at the train station, ate some famous Yamagata soba (much thicker than your usual soba, and cooked al dente), and climbed up a big mountain to Yamadera Temple where clusters of altars, temples and resting places were perched atop cliffs overlooking a marvelous landscape.

Following our sweaty hike, we went to the local farmer's market. There we found incredible fresh produce, and pictures of the people who grew them:We bought our veggies here and our meats at a supermarket for this evening's barbecue! Mari was able to join us by evening, and Irwin got some good flames going in the new grill. That Black Jack fan sure did come in handy.I can't remember if this is before or after Yuu-san was fighting the roaring flames of the grease fire.And the fish that Yuu-san caught met with this fate.Ryo and Chie scarfing down food.We capped off the evening with a true Japanese summer experience -- fireworks! Our cheap-o packet of assorted fireworks were slightly disappointing (most of the fireworks were made in China, and we wanted to place the blame there) but still we all had good fun.

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