Sunday, August 28, 2011

In spite of the fact that I keep hitting my head on things that are designed to be in the sky, my life in Kyoto is working out pretty well.  I can take the bus to where I need to go and can usually make myself understood.  No one really expects me to speak Japanese, so when I do, they are very appreciative (for my one or two words).  The kids started school today, and they were a little apprehensive, but after an hour of filling out forms, W and I were taken to their classrooms so we could see how they were doing and they both seemed fine.  M was head and shoulders above everyone else in the class.

On Saturday we went to a famous zen temple just east of us.  Amazing gardens to walk through; we'll be back.  N took 100 pictures on his ipod; we will have to download them. Here are two I took with my phone (since we of course forgot the camera).

We went to a children's celebration/ceremony on Saturday night with W's friend in downtown Kyoto. We started with a home-cooked feast that was so good.  I have no idea what any of it was, but it was a mixture of salads, eggs, vegetables and lentils. At the ceremony, we passed a giant prayer bead circle around while the ... priest(?)... chanted a lot of words and numbers.  Then we had ice cream and beer, while the kids did a Japanese piƱata... WATERMELON.  I could get behind this religion...  Then we did sparklers.  Here are some photos:

It's weird to have absolutely no understanding of anything, but this is a very welcoming culture and religion (I believe from the coloration it was Shinto, but I could be totally wrong). Several people told our host that they were very happy to have us attend their ceremony. I need to practice kneeling though; my legs were in agony.

On Sunday we took the train to Osaka (only about 500¥ each, really cheap) to visit another friend who was giving away a lot of things from is mother-in-law's house.  We loaded up a suitcase with dishes and kitchenware, while the kids scored on a big box of plastic toys and animals.  They happily played with that while we packed up the stuff.  Then we had an excellent sushi lunch and B drove us back to Kyoto (THANK YOU!).  Everyone here has been generous and helpful!

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