Friday, December 12, 2014

The past couple of months

Life has been rather quite over the past couple of months. Hubby had been very busy with his office work and brought home a lot of work. But on weekends, hubby and I visited a few sightseeing places in nearby prefectures, and ate at a few restaurants in Akita City. We enjoyed the autumn season immensely, and now it has already started snowing in Akita prefecture. In this post, I will chronicle our everyday life for the months of October and November.

On 4th October, hubby and I had lunch at a restaurant named Kathmandu Kitchen. It is a Nepalese restaurant located in Omachi area of Akita City. First we had Samosa snacks. Then we ordered set-menu lunch consisting of a curry dish, saffron rice, and salad. Hubby’s lunch set had Keema curry and mine had spinach-chicken curry. Both the curries were mild, had rich flavor, and were delicious. We also ordered Coca-Cola soft drink and Mango Lassi to go with lunch. It was nice to have Nepalese food though I found the taste similar to north Indian food but fortunately (for me) less spicy.
Samosa snacks

Hubby having Samosa

Keema curry and salad

Spinach-chicken curry and salad

Hubby having lunch

Mango Lassi (left) and Coca Cola (right)

I had a few errands to run on the evening of 8th October. So I took a local train from Ugo Honjo Railway Station near our home to go up to a station named Nikaho. Ugo Honjo Station is a very small station and serves the local people well. A huge Gotenmari ball hangs from the ceiling at the entrance area inside the station, and really brightens up the place. Gotenmari balls are typical traditional handicraft of Honjo region, and are made of vivid colors and have sophisticated creative designs. While standing at the platform of Ugo Honjo Station, I saw a few scarecrow puppets put up near the back side of the railway station for Kokumin Bunkasai National Cultural Festival (English webpage and a more detailed Japanese webpage) that was going on those days (4th October to 3rd November). In fact, Akita was the host prefecture for the festival this year. The colorful scarecrows looked awesome. Akita is basically an agriculture based prefecture and such scarecrows are an important part of the lifestyle of the farmers here. In fact during the rice harvesting season, I have seen many such scarecrows all around the place where we live. Oh the tranquility and happiness of village life! Anyway I got off the train at Nikaho Station which is just two stops from Ugo Honjo Station. Nikaho Station is even smaller than Ugo Honjo, and is unmanned after 5 pm. At the waiting room of Nikaho Station I saw a huge display of a fictional local hero character named Dewa warrior Ga Saan. This character was also displayed for Kokumin Bunkasai National Cultural Festival. I realized that although Akita prefecture is sparsely populated and does not have much entertainment facilities, people like to celebrate little things in life. After returning home, I saw news on television about the lunar eclipse going on at that time. I opened the window and looked towards the sky, and saw that the moon was in total lunar eclipse and its color was a deep copper red. The moon looked so beautiful.
Huge Gotenmari ball hanging from the ceiling at the entrance area inside Ugo Honjo Railway Station

A few scarecrow puppets put up near the back side of Ugo Honjo station for Kokumin Bunkasai National Cultural Festival

Enlarged view of some of the scarecrows

Enlarged view of the other scarecrows

Fictional local hero named Dewa warrior Ga Saan displayed inside Nikaho Station for Kokumin Bunkasai National Cultural Festival

Moon during the total lunar eclipse as viewed from the window of our home at 19:21 pm

Moon during the partial eclipse phase as viewed at 21:16 pm

On 11th October, hubby and I visited Lake Tazawako Dakikaeri Prefectural Natural Park and Dakikaeri Shrine about which I will write in a later blog post.

13th October was our 9th marriage anniversary day. We just relaxed at home. Hubby modified our home mini-library in the morning. In the afternoon, he cooked our lunch consisting of two kinds of spaghetti dishes. He cooked Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino for me and Spaghetti Carbonara for himself. Of course we tasted each others dishes, and both the dishes were delicious. Then we watched a couple of English movies on cable television. Later in the evening, we bought a Sushi Bento from a nearby supermarket. I also cooked Kitsune Soba noodles from scratch. Our dinner of Soba noodles and Sushi was nice. We spent a nice relaxed day at home on our marriage anniversary.
Hubby modifying our home mini-library

Hubby cooking lunch

Our lunch of Spaghetti Carbonara (left) and Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino (right)

Hubby having lunch

Our dinner of Sushi and Kitsune Soba noodles

Hubby having dinner

On 18th October, hubby and I went to see a Bollywood movie named ‘English Vinglish’ at a theater in Akita City. The movie was renamed as ‘Madam in New York’ for its release in Japan. Although the dialogues of the movie were in Hindi language, there were Japanese subtitles so it was easier for hubby to understand the storyline. It was a comedy drama movie and we enjoyed it immensely. I should mention here that only a few selected Bollywood movies have so far been screened at theaters in Japan, and that too mostly in Tokyo area. So it was really a pleasant surprise that ‘English Vinglish’ was shown at a remote theater in Akita prefecture where comparatively very few foreigners (Indians) live. Also I watched a Bollywood movie at a theater after almost two decades, and it was really a nice experience. On our way back home, we saw beautiful autumn colors right in the heart of Akita City.
I am standing next to the poster of the movie ‘Madam in New York’ located in front of the theater

Autumn colors in Akita City

On 25th October, hubby and I visited Yamadera Temple in Yamagata City of Yamagata prefecture. We went there by our car, and were surrounded by colorful autumn foliage all the way up to the temple. We had to drive for about 3 hours on an expressway and a national highway to reach the temple. The expressway and the national highway were so scenic and beautiful due to the fabulous autumn colors all around. We stopped at a couple of parking areas along the way to click photos of the autumn foliage. I will write about our visit to Yamadera Temple in a later blog post.
Autumn colors near our home in Yurihonjo City

Autumn foliage on our way to Yamadera Temple as viewed from moving car

Autumn foliage as viewed from a parking area along the expressway leading to the temple

Our car and autumn foliage at yet another parking area

Autumn colors near this second parking area

On 2nd November, hubby and I went to see an English movie at a theater in Akita City. We saw that a temporary stage was set up at the first floor of the building where the movie theater hall is located. And Taiko drum performance was held by four performers in Namahage costume and ogre masks. It was an enchanting performance, and was held as an event to mark the closing of Kokumin Bunkasai National Cultural Festival.
A temporary stage along with many Taiko drums

Taiko drum performance by Namahage costume-wearing performers

On 22nd November, hubby and I had been to Mitsui Outlet Park Sendai Port located in Sendai City. It is the largest outlet mall in Tohoku region and has nearly 120 domestic and foreign brand stores, as well as restaurants and amusement facilities. It took us almost 4 hours of car ride to reach the outlet mall. In between we stopped at a service area along the expressway and had lunch at a restaurant. On reaching the mall, we saw that an entertainment show was going on. A juggler performed many funny tricks with balls, juggling clubs, and knives. We enjoyed the show for about 20 minutes. Later we bought winter jackets and a few other clothes at the mall. That night we stayed at a hotel in a neighboring city. We noted that the Christmas decorations and illuminations were already up everywhere we had been that day, that is, the service area along the expressway, the entrance area of the outlet mall, various shops at the mall, and even the hotel we stayed that night. Everywhere there was Christmas mood. The next day we visited the historical site of Tagajo Fort located in the present day Tagajo City of Miyagi prefecture. I will write about our visit to the site of Tagajo Fort in a later blog post.
Hubby is having lunch at a service area along the expressway. We can see Christmas decorations behind him.

Christmas decorations at Mitsui Outlet Park Sendai Port

The Christmas trees are so beautiful

A juggler performing funny tricks with knives at the mall

Hubby standing at the mall along with several shops in the background

On 29th November, hubby and I had lunch at a restaurant named Big Boy in Akita City. We ordered set-menu lunch consisting of a main dish, salad, hot soup, dessert, and cold drinks. Hubby’s main dish consisted of stewed hamburger patty, and my main dish consisted of hamburger patty, fried fish, and fried chicken. The food was delicious. Afterwards we had lychee fruit for dessert. I love lychee very much and had them after almost 3 decades. It was a sumptuous lunch and we enjoyed the food very much. In the evening, we drove up to Autobacs store in Akita City itself, and changed the tires of our car to studless snow tires in preparation for the long hard snowy winter of Akita prefecture (it is already snowing heavily now). It was fun to watch the store staffs remove the usual tires of our car and replace them with the studless snow tires. We had to wait for about an hour to get the tires changed as there were many customers that day. We read Doraemon comic book while waiting. Afterwards we bought a few groceries in the city and then returned home. That night hubby made popcorn in a frying-pan. It was the first experience for him to make popcorn and he was very excited and happy to see the corn kernels popping. I compiled a video of the corn kernels popping in the frying-pan.
Hubby’s lunch of stewed hamburger patty

My lunch consisting of hamburger patty, fried fish, and fried chicken

Lychee fruits for dessert

I am having lychee fruits

Autobacs store staffs changing the tires of our car to studless snow tires

Hubby drinking a cup of coffee while waiting during the changing of tires

And reading Doraemon comic book for passing time at the store

Hubby made popcorn in a frying-pan

A compiled video of the corn kernels popping in the frying-pan

It is now snowing heavily in Akita prefecture and is extremely cold. Hubby and I are eagerly looking forward to the New Year holidays.


Uttpal K said...

Thanks for sharing the wonderful food experience.:)

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks Uttpal K for your comment.