Sooo, at the beginning of August, Guillaume came to visit!!!! And because I was still in class, we spent his entire first week here hanging around Okazaki.
I was SO excited to get to hang out with Guillaume again! Yay!
His first day here, we took it easy, and I just showed him around Yamasa and the area where I live. Then that night, we went to the Dance Festival at the Okazaki Civic Center.
Guillaume and I at the Okazaki Civic Center festival!
View of the festival
The week was extremely busy - every day, I would get up and go to class, meet up with Guillaume for lunch, then go back for more class. And then after class we would do some exploring!
The first day, we went to Gifu and explored the gardens there and went up to the castle - it was a lovely ride up and then walk around. We also made our way over to the temple with the largest paper mache Buddha. It was HUGE, and I would never have known that it was paper mache. I guess it's base wasn't, and it was covered with gold laquer. It was super cool.
I somehow have NO pictures of Gifu (I really remember taking some, though), and since Guillaume hasn't yet sent me his pictures, that will have to wait.
Another day, we hung around Okazaki and went up to the castle, which was lovely. It was actually only my second time up there - I really love the area.
I don't know why I like to regularly stick my tongue out in pictures! Us at the castle - it was hot, and we were tired!
Us at the castle!
Beautiful clock on the castle grounds!
And then, of course, one day it was my birthday.
When I got to school,
this little dude, whom I have named Bazarian, was sitting in my seat,
and in front him there was a card from Martin with Tetris for my FamCom Emulator.
Bazarian was from Alexis, and I absolutely ADORE him! And I have been having so much fun playing Tetris!
And then I got home, and Guillaume made me a delicious dinner with a delicious chocolate banana cake.
Guillaume cooking my dinner!
It was so nice to have someone cook for me again. And then, of course, I had lots of fabulous presents from him, as well - a ton of delicious food, an adorable bag, and some fabulous new earrings and bracelet.
I can't even believe how much I love birthdays! I also got a package in the mail on Saturday morning right before we left full of fun games and clothes from Mom and Kristen.
On Friday night, it was the beginning of the Okazaki Festival, and since I was dancing in it, Guillaume and I went.
After school, Guillaume and I met up with Jin Han, and we went to a short shamisen concert, which was lovely (and of which I unfortunately did not take pictures) before heading up to Northern Okazaki. Jin Han and I danced in two dances, and I think I only messed up once. It was super nerve-wracking because it was in front of a TON of people and we were being filmed (and apparently appeared on TV), but it was also extremely fun!
(PICTURES TO COME - the were unfortunately all taken on Guillaume's camera)
After our yosakoi dances, we participated in a Bon Odori parade. Basically, everyone was doing the same simple dance, called Bon Odori, and parading down the street. It was fun for a while, but it was so repetitive that it did eventually get boring.
Guillaume hadn't danced at all, so after far too long of watching that, he decided to go home. I stayed, though, because that night we were going to carry the mikoshi, and I SO wanted to see what that was all about.
If you're wondering what a mikoshi is, it's this thing!
I met up with Laura, and she let me chant with her group for the performance in front of the judges, so that was fun!
Me ready for mikoshi carrying!
Jin Han rockin' out mikoshi style in his happi!
Other than that, we watched lots of episodes of the season 3 of True Blood and tried to keep things a little calm (which was impossible for me, what with school everyday and still having to work) before heading off to Hiroshima and Kyoto!
And that's it! We had a fabulous time hanging out in Okazaki before heading on our way to Hiroshima!
I'll be adding pictures of Gifu to this as soon as I get them, and I'm heading off now to write a post about Hiroshima!