Rain today in Otaki. . .the temperature has dropped as well. Hard to believe it's May.
Returned yesterday from Kyoto and found the hills around Otaki dressed in a new robe of green. On the upper slopes there are still mountain cherry trees--yama-zakura (山桜)--in full bloom.
Today the wife and I went to the community center in our section of the village--kami-jo (上条)--to help with preparations for a festival that will be held tomorrow. I assisted in setting up tents, tables, barbecues, chairs, and such, while the missus worked with other women from the village to cut vegetables for making fried noodles.
There were about 30 people there today to help with preparations. The villagers do everything themselves, from cooking to making price signs complete with pictures. I continue to be impressed by these cooperative efforts and with the closeness I see between the villagers. Many have been doing such things together since they were young, so the relationships feel almost family-like.
As on previous occasions, the work was short and it wasn't long before food and ample amounts of alcohol came out. The alcohol brought with it red faces, stories and laughs. Everyone was watching closely to when I would scribble notes, and soon it was almost a competition to see who could tell something interesting enough that I would jot it down. The truth is, I was purposefully delaying what I wrote so as not to bring attention to any one topic in particular. Most people would probably be surprised by what I write anyway; it's difficult for anyone to understand why another person might want to study things that seem so mundane in their own daily life.
Anyway, here's hoping for clear skies to bless tomorrow's festival. . .Ontake-san, YOROSHIKU!