Tuesday, August 09, 2011

春日井市と犬山城 (Kasugai and Inuyama Castle)!

So, today I have a paper due in which I'm supposed to summarize a newspaper article. I still haven't even read the article, and I've got to work and go to the gym later, so I thought - why not update the blog?!? Seems like an appropriate response to a looming deadline, right?

Anyhow, I've been eating the most fresh, wonderful delicious veggies for the past week now, and I'm feeling spoiled. Why, you might wonder, have I been able to enjoy such wonderfully deliciously perfect veggies? Last week, I finally got out to my friend's house in Kasugai. We've been planning for me to go out there for ages, and yet somehow it just never kept working out. I'm SO glad it finally did!

He lives on a huge farm in the country, so it was my first time to get to see how a real Japanese farmer lives. As we arrived, his grandmother was sitting on the porch doing something that looked suspiciously similar to de-shelling soy beans. There were vegetables EVERYWHERE! They even had a shrine room in their house to pay homage to dead relatives. It's entirely possible that the shrine room in itself was larger than my entire apartment.

I of course didn't bring my camera (WHAT was I thinking? I always forget it at the worst of moments!), so unfortunately I've got no pictures for you.

After exploring the house and the farm for a bit, my friend and I headed over to Inuyama, where I got to eat my very first Dango, which was incredibly delicious! Every time I've asked before, I've been told they're not vegan, but this woman ASSURED me that hers were, and it was DELICIOUS! I will definitely be asking again in the future about their veganness.

Then we went up to Inuyama Castle, which was AMAZING! It felt super old and creaky with these ridiculously STEEP stairs! We had to take our shoes off and put them in bags before we went in, and my socks were so slippery and the stairs were so steep that I was afraid I was going to fall off the stairs to a very gruesome and uninteresting death. Luckily, I survived and was treated to a breathtakingly spectacular view from the top.

Inuyama is actually the oldest castle still standing in Japan today, and you could totally tell. I told my friend how it felt SO much older than all of the other castles I went to, but he assured me that Okazaki-jo is DEFINITELY older. So I read the guidebook, and Okazaki-jo was originally constructed earlier, but it was abolished during the Meiji Restoration, and, if we count when construction started, Inuyama-jo, building starting in 1440, is the oldest left in Japan. Super cool!

When we got back to his house, his mother had prepared a HUGE bag of fresh veggies for me, and she'd made me some vegan somen. It took me about an hour to eat with chopsticks, but it was totally delicious and worth it! I even managed to make the loud slurping sounds like you're supposed to! :-) When I FINALLY finished eating, his mom took me to the peach trees to pick some peaches! So much fun, and I've been gorging myself on delicious peaches all week!

Some peaches and a delicious kabocha right from their garden!

I had a lovely time, and I am SO looking forward to visiting again! My friend lives in Osaka, so maybe I'll just have to go visit his mom and sister sometimes. :-)

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