Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dear Mother Nature,

This post is dedicated to Mother Nature and her weather gods (or demons...whichever you prefer). 

Dear Mother,

The autumn is lovely this year; the hills look like a patchwork quilt of fall colors and it has been delightful to add some light sweaters and jackets to my wardrobe. However, dearest Mother, you gave us all a bit of a scare last week when you decided to send us that one cold day that really belonged somewhere in the middle of December. Do you know the one I'm talking about? It was the day when I drank three cups of hot mugicha, our laundry never dried, and it took me about 45 minutes to thaw out my feet when I got in bed that night. Yes, that's the one. Now, I'm not complaining. Not really, anyway. I just have one, tiny, simple request. That before you send the next round of bitter, nose-hair-freezing wind, you remember that James and I have been living in Hawaii for the last four or five years. Break us in gently, Mother; that's all I ask.

Yours truly,

P.S. But not so gently that we don't have a white Christmas, please.

Now that's not too much to ask, is it? At least there was one good thing that came of our cold spell last week - James and I realized how unprepared we were for the winter and have since remedied that. In addition to the preparations pictured below, we bought warm exercise clothes, pulled out a giant heating pad  to go on our bed this week, and bought gloves, neck warmers, etc. We will be ready when Mother Nature strikes again.

This is our new living/dining room set up. I feel so Japanese now. This table is called a kotatsu and serves as our dining room and study table. It sits about two feet off the ground, and has a heater on the bottom side. When you get cold, you just flip it on and stick your feet/hands/whole body under the table. It is so cozy. I was a little opposed to it at first because I think it is ugly, but it probably goes with the decorations a lot better than a couple of frozen corpses would. So Mr. Kotatsu and I will become very good friends this winter.
Facial hair: another tactic to combat the cold weather. I haven't managed to grow any yet, so I'll just have to hope that my cute hubby stays warm enough to keep me warm :)
The fall really is beautiful here. I visited a school way out in the countryside this last week, and snapped a few pictures on my two-hour train ride out there.

We are hoping to go hiking in the next couple weeks before all the leaves fall, so hopefully we will be able to snap a few more pictures before the season is over.

Yesterday, our branch held it's annual "imonikai." Generally, the imonikai is held outside in the mountains or by the river in the fall, but we got rained out, so we held it at the church building instead. Imoni is a type of potato and meat soup that is either soy sauce or miso flavored. It was delicious!
The branch members, eating and socializing
The imoni. Sorry, this picture doesn't do it justice - it tasted a lot better than it looks!
And finally, a few random pictures from school. A couple weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk and I heard a strange noise over the intercom and a voice saying, "Kaji desu, kaji desu." I didn't know what "kaji" meant, so I looked it up. It means "fire." Yep, there was a fire drill. I looked around and realized that there were no other teachers in the teachers' office, so I wandered out into the hall and started following the crowd outside. A podium and mic were set up and a fireman gave us a presentation about how to use a fire extinguisher. He then had ten students come to the front and put out the bonfire he built for them. 
Here are the students, all lined up and ready to play hero.

The fireman re-lit the fire for each student by drenching the fire pit in some kind of gas and then throwing a torch on it.

The student the proceeded to extinguish the fire in any direction he pleased...toward unfriendly students, teachers who give too much homework, toward the gas canisters, etc.

Now I am no fireman, but does it look safe to you to have the gas canisters enveloped by smoke and possibly flames?
Ah, such grand adventures we are having here! Anyway, we wish you all a wonderful week. Keep in touch - we love to hear what is going on in your lives. Stay warm!

1 comment:

  1. Fall colors - woo hoo! It's been a long time since you've had real fall.