Two weekends ago Juan and I decided to hike Mt. Tsukuba again. Why???? Apparently I just enjoy torturing my husband and my self. We decided to hike a different (longer and more treacherous) path up the mountain. I'll spare you the details, but let me just tell you that is was a little more difficult than our last climb and we are not anticipating on climbing this mountain again, at least for a couple of weeks/months/ possibly years.
After our short lunch we took the cable car down and walked right smack into a matsuri. I don't actually know what the festival was for, but I think it was for Japanese founder's day. Regardless of what it was for, there were lots of people there and all of them had plastic bags with them. PLASTIC BAGS????? Well Juan and I decided to stand around and see what was going on. Before we knew it, there was a parade of people being brought into the temple and everyone was cheering on the famous sumo wrestlers who were among the parade. BANZAI!!! BANZAI!!
About a half an hour later. The people came out of the temple and came up on the platform and started throwing stuff off for the masses to catch. Mayhem shortly ensued as old ladies, teenagers and little kids started scrambling for mochi, boxes of candy and bags of chips and sweet things. After the craziness ended, I realized that everyone was opening their bags of mochi and reading the papers inside. Unbeknownst to us, within every sealed packet of mochi there is another prize awaiting you. So Juan and I went home some mochi, shrimp flavored chips and a nice bag of rice heavier. Not bad for a day of hiking.
The next day, Juan and I were guests of my adult class. Some of the ladies had invited us for a nabe party. Nabe being a traditional winter dish in Japan where everything is cooked in one big pot, then brought to the table and served piping hot. It was delicious!!! Thanks go out to my students! WE HAD A FANTASTIC TIME!!!
So below I have included some pictures of our adventures up Mt. Tsukuba, the festival, a strange trip to the grocery store and a couple from our nabe night. Enjoy!