August 8th&9th – Yoshii-san

Yoshii-sanSensei‘s sister, invited me for two days in her house to make Japanese stuff with me, and show me Nagahama once more. On the first day, I met Etsuko-san, a lovely friend of them, leaving in a huge traditional house near Sensei‘s one 🙂 She spent the first day with us, walking near the lake and playing games. She left after eating the delicious dinner Yoshii-san made for us.
I spent the next day with Yoshii-san. She gave me a lot of hand-made souvenirs and I remember we spoke a lot about the differences between France and Japan. Their son went during a year in France to learn cooking, and is now working in a restaurant near Tôkyô, if my memory’s right.

These two days were my last days in Nagahama, since I was leaving the following day to Kôbe. I’m really glad I spent it with them, they’re a lovely couple (*´ω`*)♥.

August 6th – 長浜花火大会 (Fireworks in Nagahama)

The Mayor of Nagahama offered four tickets to Sensei, Abe-san, Chris and I to assist to the Nahama fireworks’ show. We had the best seats ! And it was the most beautiful Hanabi I’ve ever seen (*´ω`*) So glad I was able to take those pics !

August 2d&3rd – Ibukiyama

With Chris, Robert, Rebecca and Alexander (Andrew‘s big brother), we decided to climb Ibukiyama 伊吹山, 1377m (you can find more information on Wiki) by night to see the sunrise from the top of the mountain, instead of seeing it from Mount Fuji ^^” (I’m still going to climb Fuji-san one day, I promise ! lol). We left home around 9:00 pm, and arrived at the top before midnight, doing a yakan tôzan 夜間当山 (climbing the mountain by night). During the hike, we talked to a group of young Japanese guys, who were coming from Nagasaki just to climb Mount Ibuki ! When we arrived, it was really really cold but we were able to sleep a little bit. Just a little bit ‘coz the Japanese sun rises around 4:00 am in the summer ^^” It was a little bit cloudy but the sunrise we saw was amazing ! And we went down the mountain (it was already 30°C at 6:00 am !!!), being able to see all the beautiful flowers 😀

It was a really nice experience, and I can’t wait to climb it again ! It was the first time I climbed a mountain by night, and my next challenge will be Fuji-san \o/

August – 富田人形 the end

Though the program had ended after the show on July 29th, we held a last drinking party with everyone (even the Mayor of Nagahama came!!!) on August 1stNana and U-chan, who came visit Nagahama with me on August 1st and 2d also joined us ♡

On the 7th, I ate dinner at the Onsen Sensei‘s friend holds, with ChrisShichô-san (The Mayor of Nagahama) and Satsuki-san.  Asked by the Mayor, Sensei’s friend rented me a really nice yukata and promised me to give me one before I go back to France ! Such a nice person ! And before the dinner, SenseiChris and I were able to assist to a meeting with all the heads of Nagahama, including Shichô-san.
I stayed in Nagahama until the 10th (see further posts), when Sensei  and I went a last time to enjoy the Onsen and to take the Yukata his friend kept for me. I was also able to meet Sensei’s grand-kids (they’re so cute *ω*).

July 29th&30th – Rehearsal, show and after

On the 29th, we left home early to go to Yogo Bunka Hall 余呉文化ホール where we were performing on the afternoon. We did a little rehearsal, had lunch there and felt the stress going stronger and stronger while the show time was getting closer >_<” We took pictures and … The show must go on!
We actually did pretty well, everyone was really proud of us, especially Sensei ! Plus, my Japanese teacher of Kônan University came to see my performance, and she was really surprised that in two months, we get to be able to do such a performance 🙂
You can find a video of our performance here 🙂 Please, enjoy it !
On the evening, we had a drinking party in the kaikan, to celebrate our success (lol).

The next day, the 30th, we hold a Sayônara party with all the teachers and volunteers who made these two months awesome. It took place in the shamisen teacher’s son’s restaurant, a typical Japanese izakaya, where we ate and drunk a lot (as usual haha).
It was a really nice way to close our program, especially because we were going to Nara the following day ^ω^

I’ll never forget these two months in the Japanese countryside, with only rice fields around us, going every where by bicycle, drinking momo sake and eating macha kitkat almost everyday, drinking too much coffee a day, laughing while doing our everyday training lessons, and doing radio taisô every morning ヽ(*´∀`)ノ♡

July 24th – Culture Day

On July 24th, the volunteers hold a Culture day for us. They made a Kamishibai 紙芝居 for us (it’s a traditional way to tell stories, usually for children ; it’s basically a wood and paper-made small theater), played Yoshibue よし笛 (it’s lake Biwa region’s traditional flute, made of reeds), help us making makizushi 巻き寿司 (sushi you roll yourself), made Tedama 手玉 with us (there’re small hand balls, made of kimono fabrics), and we did a Hanabi in the evening \o/

July 21st – Chikubu-shima & Yukata contest

On the 21stEric and Andrew‘s hostfamily organized a little trip to Chikubu-shima 竹生島, an island in the lake Biwa ! We went by boat and spent the day there, before going back to Nagahama for the Yukata Contest 浴衣コンテスト we were joining all together.
The island is really small but so pretty that we finally spent a lot of time there.
We get back to Nagahama a little bit late so we had to hurry to wear our yukata and do a last reharsal (I was playing flute and my friends were singing Biwa-ko shûko no uta 琵琶湖周航の歌 – you can find it easily on youtube).
We were really stressed and didn’t wanted to participate in at all… and the guys who performed just before us were awesome !!! They sung a modern version of a really popular Japanese song which was just outstanding !
BUT, in the end …. we WON ! We won the Grand Prix of 50 000¥ (about 500€ at the time) !!! We all decided to give it to sensei and the Tonda Ningyo Troupe so they’ll be able to buy all the stuff they need to improve their repertory and their puppets.
Since we won, we all went to a conbini to buy some alcohol and we drink in front of the station (which is forbidden haha) waiting for our hostfamilies to pick us up.
It was an awesome day, one of these days you can’t forget~♡

July – Tonda friends ヽ(*´∀`)ノ♡

On July 4th and 20th, I went with Eric to his Kendô training sessions ! I first went with his lovely host-mum, and we were both really impressed by the strength and the screams (lol).
On July 7th, we all wore our yukata  and went out with Satsuki-san in Nagahama for the Summer festival 夏中さん and ended in a cool (but expensive) bar ~♪
On the 22d, I went by bike to the lake Biwa with Andrew  and Eric, before going to Evan&Liz‘s hostfamily to a BBQ party \o/

July – Tonda Field Trips (*´ω`*)

On July 6th, we went to Hieizan 比叡山, a beautiful temple in the prefecture of Shiga. The rainy weather gave a really peaceful atmosphere to the place, it was really wonderful and full of serenity. When we went back to Tonda, we stopped to see the little Torii 鳥居 in the water (almost the same as the one in Miyajima 宮島 where I went with Konan University, except that the one in Shiga is not famous ^^).

On July 13th, we went to Kinomoto 木之元, a little village really close by Tonda, to visit a Shamisen’s strings factory. They make strings not only for Japanese Shamisen in all the country, but also for Chinese and Corean Shamisen 🙂 It was really interesting to see how they make it and why it is so easily breakable.
Then we went to the Grand Golf to spend the whole afternoon playing golf and then relaxing in the Onsen (((o(*゚▽゚*)o))) I definitely love onsen and miss it so much now >.< And then, I finally took the train to go back to Kobe in my lovely family ♥♥♥ (see next posts)

On July 31st, it was the last field trip of the program… We went to Nara 奈良 and we first went to the Tôdaiji 東大寺, which houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha 大仏 Daibutsu (Height: 14,98m / Face: 5,33m /Eyes: 1,02m / Nose: 0,5m / Ears: 2,54m). One of the interesting (and funny) things is that there is a hole in a supporting post, apparently the same size as one of the Daibutsu’s notrils. Legend is that those who pass through it will be blessed with enlightenment in their next life (and we all passed(*^-^*)ノ !)
Then, we ate a really delicious Japanese lunch and visit some other pagoda and temples. The grandchild of one of the volunteer was also here, so we had lots of fun playing with him 😀

July – Tonda Bunraku~♪

This second and last month in Tonda with my lovely friends was, as you can just imagine, awesome ♥

On the 2d, we wore our pretty yukata 浴衣 and had a koto 琴 and shamisen 三味線 lesson (^ω^)
On the 3rd, we made some key rings, magnets and other pretty little stuff, and ate our first Sômen 素麺 [thin wheat noodles]. In the afternoon, some newspapers company came to film us and they interviewed Jenny and I ^ω^
On the 4th, we went to the calligraphy sensei’s temple and had a lesson there before a nice tea ceremony 茶道 \(^o^)/ —love tea ceremony♥ —. After we came back to the kaikan, Chris built up a little pool so that we can paddle in it ヾ(@⌒ー⌒@)ノ

On the 9th, we went to a primary school near Tonda and performed for the children and some newspapers company. Children were so cute (*ω*)
On the 10th, Evan&Liz host mum and two others women made a tea ceremony for us. It was really relaxing — even if the seiza 正座 isn’t a really comfortable position x) — and of course, we wore our yukata 😀
On the 11th, we made Shikishi 色紙 [a square piece of high-quality paperboard —for writing poems or painting pictures].

On the 18th, we made sand art 砂絵 ! so much fun drawing our beautiful sand pictures 😀
On the 20th, we made some mochi (even if it was really not the right season xD ) 餅つき [pounding steamed rice into the dough used for rice cakes].

As usual, thank you guys ♥