Back from their elephant riding, dove-liberating, sand-swapping Thai love fest, our happy couple Jane sensei and John
were congratulated once again, this time by Jane's students, who were eager to know the juicy details.
Thanks to the arty photography and a bit of the old technology we were all able to enjoy a slideshow (replete with soundtrack)
and conjure up once again the magic they must have enjoyed.
Highlights this time include John's impromptu Scottish dance class (hilarious !) done to the heady sound of ..yes...you guessed it-bagpipes.
As always, gifts and offerings were plentiful -ranging from a pink boxing glove practise set (put to nice effect in Jane's fisty-cuffed demo) to a magic food mixer (collective gifts-thanks to all who contributed) to seasonally refreshing
and homemade savoury cakes. Not surprisingly, the champagne corks were popping at an alarming rate
and we all had a good knees-up despite everyone virtually melting in the heat. Sometimes the air con just isn't enough.
Soon, Mitarashi Matsuri was a-calling so up the river we sped in a convoy of chrome and wheels, splitting through the willows like
samurai gatecrashers. The speed soon gave way to slowed down peace and love vibrations as we water-walked knee deep,
candles in hand. Such a calming experience and as close to -dare I say it- 'cosmic ', Japanese shrine-visiting gets.
With new age chimes being aired over the candle lit water, it's not difficult to be seduced by all this. There are also a zillion other details
which can enchant here too (such as the magic pebbles). Seek and ye shall find !
The evening ended with a liddle listen to some carefully selected, flute-only,
melty jazz grooves and then senko hanabi-those pretty, pretty fireworks- by the Kamogawa.
Congratulations Jane and John and thanks to everybody who came and bought or made presents. The newly-weds are already talking of repeating their
voyage d'amour, in which case we'll gladly repeat our celebrations, this side of the China Sea. See you all at the third anniversary party !
■ 2008 のイベント : O Hanami- Riverside Picnic! Diary !
Once again everybody, thanks for a lovely o hanami riverside picnic! Although the Kamogawa blossoms were already deep into
their green phase, we all managed to have a good laugh. As usual, we were freezing cold despite the sunshine, so we only survived an hour and a half by the river.
The food was fun and thanks to Kana for her delicous homemade banana fruit cake. We also had a special guest drop in -literally- in the shape of a huge Black Kite
(those increasingly aggressive eagle-like birds that rule the Kamogawa!) which swooped down and grabbed a bite to eat!
After going north up the river to buy records (yes, there is a second-hand record shop up the river!) the party re-started and we were joined by
three more merry musketeers.
One of our favourite Italian bistros, Maskera was all pizzas, bottled beers and animated conversation, giving way to a
really interesting bar SOB, down a nice long rouji on Kiamachi street. There we gazed at the huge toy collection, drank Okinawan beer
and listened to our new records (-Gil Scott Heron and Funky French Soundtracks ) which the master kindly played for us. One nightclub later,
it was definitely time to be heading home, having walked and talked for hours..Aaaahh Spring at last!
■ Diary: GSE Christmas Party !
■10/6 HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY GSE!!!! - Merry Mexican Style!
This was a night of fun and colour in the luxuriously spacious Reina de Reina restaurant, by the Biwako canal in Okazaki, Kyoto.
The place is very woody-how we like it-with stately furniture and it's lush Mexican lighting spills outside beckoning fresh air seekers
back inside away from the still black waters of the canal.
There was a huge gathering this time-filling the entire restaurant- and despite the slowness of the service
(some thought this was a good thing),the atmosphere soon became lovely enough.
The highlight of the evening was certainly Satoko and Kazumi's handmade pinata-(see the picture). For those of you who don't know, this is
a wonderful Mexican creation filled with sweets for kids to smash to smithereens to the sounds of an old spanish chant after which they hurriedly grab the fallen delights.
After the kids had a go, Chika gave it a real ninja-turtles 'thwack' (plus a thousand more!) to loosen it up a bit and eventually-lo and behold-the sweets came raining down!
Although lifeless to begin with, the staff became more smiley as the evening wore on. Bonus points for the selection of bottled Mexican beers on offer too (first timers for most of us) and for accommodating the round of tequila slammers
which were shotgunned by a certain little posse at the wide and woody bar-including our Dot-back again from the UK!
Foodwise, some liked the paella, others prefered the blood-red prawn cocktail, I quite liked the selection of fiery green pickles which went with the tacos. 'Coursey but pretty good' I think , is the general verdict.
Thumbs up and spinning sombreros all round! A big thanks to everybody who helped to make it a fun and magical evening!
One more time: ....Dale ....Dale....Dale.... No Pierdas el tino.....!!!
■ Future GSE projects : Summer Circus School! ...watch this space!!
■"NEW! NEW! My Kyoto" -Must-eat Japanese Sweets in Kyoto
Welcome to Kyoto city! What are you expecting from Kyoto-temples, traditional dance, history and so on?
Although there are many things to experience for visitors, I would like to introduce some must-eat Japanese sweets here.
When you walk around Kyoto City, you must find many shops making and selling Japanese sweets, which are known as wagashi.
Wagashi originated in the Japanese tea ceremony, so they have a nice balance with Japanese tea.
I hope you can enjoy the lovely harmony between the bitterness of tea and the following sweets: kudzukiri, monaka, and anmitsu.
Founded in 1716, Kagizen is famous for kudzukiri, which is made from devil’s tongue, kudzu, and looks like jelly.
Because it is served with black syrup, you can enjoy the subtle-taste of kudzukiri and the sweetness of honeydew, which run into each other nicely.
Also, this shop has suikinkutsu in their garden. It makes a nice reverberation when the water drips into a big jar which is under the ground. T
his is the way to enjoy the sounds of a Japanese garden. Let’s try to eat and listen there.
My second recommendation is the monaka from Sentarou. It holds bean paste between thin crisp rice crackers.
The bean jam is full up and almost runs out, therefore, we need to eat it with our mouths wide open.
I prefer to have it with strong tea because the bean paste is a little sugary.
The best of the sweets I believe is the shiratama-anmitsu from Gion Komori.
Shiratama is like mochi ; and bean paste and syrup are added to it in a small bowl. If green tea ice cream is also in it, then it is really tasty.
It is not oversweet, and you can enjoy the beautiful faint smell of tea.
In addition, the stream (which is called Shirakawa) flows right by this shop, so you would see the swinging willow above the water.
Komori will present you with a nice break from sightseeing.
These three sweets represent a fraction of the number of Japanese sweets in Kyoto.
Please try to find your favorite ones by yourselves. Sweets are necessary for us to live our lives more actively.
They will make your travel in Kyoto even more enjoyable and memorable.
■"My Kyoto" - a High School Giant Stepper writes about the delights of Gosho - The Imperial Palace Park
I live in Shiga but I really like Kyoto. Kyoto is very beautiful because there are a lot of beautiful buildings.
The people in Kyoto are very friendly. Many people are very kind and very funny. I study in Kyoto. I go to a school in Kyoto.
Kyoto's history is very interesting.I have studied Kyoto's history-Kinkakuji, Ginkakuji, Kyotogyoen etc.
I have studied my school's history too. It is very interesting and beautiful. My favourite place is Gosho in Kyoto. It is quiet.
It is a good place to sleep. My other favourite place is Shijo. It has many shops.
The music and book shops and many other kinds of shop are very good.