This post could be called many things: The Oni Cafe, The Best People in the World Live in Onishi (and/or Read this Blog), Why Wasn’t I Born a Japanese Person?, Satan Created Goodbyes, I Adopted a Japanese Grandfather, Kurumi is Actually a Bear… I could go on. It’s a big wrap-up of my stay in Japan though there will still be a few more posts about Japan before I’m done with this blog series. Alas, this post is titled Return of the Fluids for foreshadowy reasons. (Also, Fluids 2: Bigger, Badder and More Watery was messing with my website search engine optimization…)
Today is my first full day in Renkum, Holland. I was greeted at the nearby train station by the residency concierge, Josien Jonegan, who graciously gave me a ride home with my cumbersome luggage. I was shown around the house and quickly given a key. Josien knew I was tired as I had just come off of 28 solid hours of travel. (Let me tell you how grateful I was for the ride from the train station as opposed to wrangling a bus…) Had an ok night’s sleep. I’m fighting jet lag right now and staying awake as long as I can. I’m eating french fries and fried chicken wings with a sweet chili sauce and drinking a malbec. It’s glorious. Wanna see some pics? Of course you do.
This one’s for you Rosalie! Japan has an obsession with cute. Like… really really has an obsession with cute. In Japanese the word for cute is “kawaii” and there’s a massive culture built around it. I’m getting a little sucked in to the madness with anything that is a black cat, and of course, Gudetama. Let’s look at some pics.
Meet the Watanabes. They are adorable. Actually they are the epitome of adorable Japanese people. I describe them as a 70 year old couple placed (not trapped) in late 20’s/early 30’s bodies. They are super sweet and talented people and they are very active in the community. I wish I could have had more time with them. They know some English but usually I use my translator app to communicate. I love when their faces light up as we understand something together. Here’s their website. (It’s in Japanese so see if you can run it through google translate.)
Things are coming to a close here and I have very mixed feelings about it. Ryder is finally here so I’m really happy. I have two and a half days left in Onishi so I’m sad. That means there’s 7 days left of the Japanese leg of the trip. I’m on day 40 of 80 and I feel like things are moving too fast now, especially the last days here in Onishi. This is a big art weekend at the brewery (it’s a big complex that once was a sake brewery but is now where all things art takes place) and we have lots of activities scheduled. I may actually take some video! I’ll be busy packing and cleaning and saying goodbye which stresses me out a little. Need to write a light post today. Anyway… just airing some thoughts. Let’s look at some weird and cool stuff.
The house I’m staying in is crazy. There may be some pictures on the Shiro Oni website, but not as detailed as what I’m going to give you. The residency itself can house 10 people and guests if need be. There are 3 floors here and roof access. Let’s look at some pictures!
Before I came to Japan I kept hearing stories about how amazing the 7-11s are out here. For example: A Japanese girl has come to America and she’s being driven around by a friend of hers. She needs to go to the bathroom and asks her friend to just pull over at the 7-11. Are you sure,” he asks? She’s sure. She completes her transaction and returns to the car, displeased.
Welp, Japan continues to make sweets for me to sample despite my pleas for them to stop all production so I can become a lean, dangerous, exercise machine. I haven’t put myself on a scale since I’ve been here but my clothes still fit me, so there’s that. And the Saitama challenge? A memory. Distant. A gentle whisper on the breeze drowned out by Taiko drums on Saturday nights.
It’s weird stuff 3! SO much weird stuff! Cat 1: Weird stuff This is… not what you think it is. Someone *had* to be fired over that….
I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time!! A few of us made a short bike ride to the other side of the river to the soy factory for a soy sauce and tofu making workshop. This place does lots of things with soybeans – soy sauce, miso, soy milk, tofu, soy cheese, baked soy goods, and even soy donuts and ice cream! I am really enjoying being a part of this culture. Let’s go!
Onishi seems to be known for its rocks. I wish I knew more about it but the information center here does not have an English translation of the town history. Intel is slowly getting released to me though, so I might be able to edit it in later. There are piles of rocks everywhere. I also nearly get run over by large, wide trucks full of crushed rocks on a regular basis. There are several stone dealers here and I ride past lots of crazy views every day and wanted to share them with you. Thinking of you, Brett and Shannon!
One thing I extra special appreciate about Japanese people is that they understand if you add sugar to anything it transforms into something marvelous. Don’t believe me? Ok, take the avocado for example. Granted, it took a long time for me to warm up to avocados (back in the day when I was picky about eating stuff) but now I find avocados, just as they are, delicious. I think they’re better when turned into guac, but do you know what happens when you add sugar? Four-dimensional time bending, that’s what. I’m a fan of, and have made for myself, both avocado pie and avocado shakes. If you’re a lover of avocados you should give one of these magical mergers a try.