And then there was tea!

I just wanted to thank everyone, who has sent me tea during the last weeks. In fact, I got far more tea than expectet and have to drink about 2 bags a day to finish it all before I leave Japan (mathmatically speaking), which is about perfect for my tea consumption here. So thank you you all very very much, my family, Ruth, Jos and Katelynd and Birte! You’re the best :)

Halloween at Hiroshima University

A happy, if a little bit belated, Halloween to everyone! On Monday I went to a small outdoor Halloween party on the university campus to celebrate the day and meet some new people. Yes, you hear me right: 31st of October and an outdoor party in the evening. I was as sceptical as you are when I heard that, even more considering the chilly evenings the week before, but decided to give it a try nonetheless. Now I didn’t really have a costume or gave it much thought beforehand, so I had to improvise and pull out my Otou-san bathrobe, which you might remember from an earlier post

Luckily I fit in perfectly, as Halloween parties don’t seem to have the same properties as I know them from back in Germany. So there weren’t many spooky costumes gooing around and everything was more designed to fit the image of cute or weird (but mostly cute ;) ). Another guy dressed as the white dog mascot of a cell phone company was more than welcome for that reason and I can’t remember how often my costume was described as kawaii (cute) or even kakkoii (cool). maybe I should ask the company if they could reduce my mobile phone fee for the next month as appreciation of the free advertising I’ve done for them :D

Even my weather concerns soon went out of the window, as it turned out to be quite a warm night. I guess it must still have been around 15°C, so not too cold at all. The only thing I have to complain about was the lack of music and dancing, but well, can’t have it all, right? I still enjoyed the evening and hope everyone had or is having a nice Halloween celebration! :)

In need of Tea!

It’s grey and rainy outside and I noticed something:  the season to drink a lot of hot tea has finally begun. Welcome Autumn! There’s just one problem – my tea reserves are running low. Now that might not really seem like a problem from the outside, but Japan isn’t really a country where you can get fruity tea or other more special flavours and a whole Autumn and Winter with only green and black tea doesn’t sound too appealing.

So what I’m asking is this: If you have any small tea bags to spare in the months to follow, would you mind sending some to me? Of course, I’ll make notes and will think of something nice from Japan when I come back, if you’d like to have something :)

Help please! :D

Pork rectum

Once upon a time, or more precisely last week’s Saturday, me and two mates went drinking in an izakaya (which is like a bar which also offers a wide variety of snacks and small dishes) in Hiroshima. On the menue we spotted, among other things, a snack called pork rectum, which became the topic of heated debates about who was going to eat it. In the end, we ordered it but noone wanted to eat it for about an hour, until we had to leave for the last train. This video is proof that at least I took the challenge in the end… (it’s in German by the way):

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A-bomb Memorial Day

On the 6th of August 1945 at 08:15 the first atomic bomb in world history was dropped on the city of Hiroshima and destroyed a whole city as well as killing ten thousands of its inhabitants. To mourn those that died at that day or after that due to the aftereffects of the bomb a memorial day is held every year on the very same day and this year it was the 66th anniversary. Of course I attended.

The ceremony in the peace park started at 08:00 and was opened by a speech from the mayor of Hiroshima regarding the importance of peace and abolishment of nuclear weapons, before there was a minute of silence at 08:15. The whole park fell silent, except for the rumouring cicadas in the trees around us. To be honest, minutes of silence usually don’t evoke big emotions in me and this was no different, but it was still an impressive moment to witness. After that, the prime minister of Japan, Naoto Kan, held his speech and of course there was also a big emphasis on nuclear power after the events at Fukushima, which still aren’t solved and will be effecting Japan for many years to come. The last speaker was someone from the UN, whom I didn’t know, but he spoke along those lines. All of them laid down flowers at the cenotaph, where the names of all recognised victims are recorded and after the ceremony we also went up there to offer our prayers.

The site of the ceremony with the cenotaph in the background.

Offering flowers and prayers at the cenotaph.

Throughout the day, there were more activities and events related to the memory of the victims such as theatre plays or folding paper cranes, but the most important one was the lantern parade on the Ota river directly next to the peace park in the evening. My language tandem partner Masako and I attended there and even wrote a text for our own lantern, to put it into the water later. It is actually quite difficult to write down something meaningful, which also expresses your own feelings, so it took me a while. But still, I was an attraction as a foreigner who was writing on a paper lantern and an old Japanese guy even took a picture of me ^^”

Masako and some small Japanese girls in cute yukatas are writing their messages on the lanterns.

Our completed lantern, ready for a swim.

And off it goes… :)

And in the end, I want to leave you with a few pictures of the lanterns floating on the Ota river in the evening. It was a really beautiful scenery and got me far more moved than any minute of silence ever could. The day itself was also an impressive message for peace and the whole atmosphere didn’t feel heavy and grievous, but instead more focussed on building a positive future. I for one liked that kind of thinking :)