Annelise and I went to Hirosaki today for the Cherry Blossom Festival. We went on a bus trip organized by the base, it was nice being able to just ride along instead of figuring out directions and dealing with paying tolls.
This is the tail end of the blooming season so most of the trees were already green. We found a few patches of still-blooming trees, they were so gorgeous. The day started when we got off the bus. We walked through a small market and of course there were people handing out samples of whatever food they were selling. I snatched a piece of apple and then ended up eating some sort of tentacle. I was distracted and the sample was in my hand before I could say no, so I had to eat it. The flavor was ok, but the texture was not fun. I made it a full three months in Japan before eating anything with tentacles, I'm pretty impressed.
When we got to the park, we walked around a little, taking pictures of the different kinds of trees. I had someone take a picture of the two of us in front of a blooming tree and then another pic of us through a hollow tree. It's a really cute picture, check our Shutterfly site to see it.
I fed Annelise and then we wandered around the park for a while. She ended up falling asleep in the stroller and I used the handy-dandy blanket clips to hold her blanket up so she'd stay warm. I also used the plastic stroller-protector to keep out the raindrops (it only sprinkled). Japanese people have a gadget for everything, I love it!
We didn't actually go into Hirosaki Castle, there were stairs and I didn't want to wake up Annelise to take her out of the stroller. I found out later that the stairs inside the castle were pretty steep, so I'm glad we skipped it. We wandered the castle grounds and looked at Mt. Iwate, which is the tallest mountain in Aomori Prefecture.
By this point I was very hungry, so I grabbed a very yummy donut before searching for more food. I eventually found the area set aside for food and souvenir vendors, but encountered my usual problem here in Japan: I don't read Japanese and therefore have no idea what the different foods are. There were various foods on sticks (apparently this is a universal festival food, along with cotton candy), as well as yakisoba and some other yumminess. I skipped the yakisoba, I can get that anywhere, and went for the potato on a stick. The spiral-cut a potato and then stuck the stick through it, spreading out the spirals so that when they fried it, everything was browned. There were 6 topping options, all in powder form. I bypassed the BBQ and mayonnaise options and chose the seaweed/butter/salt sprinkle. Potato on a stick is yummy, I highly recommend it. Then I bought a Coke and a roasted ear of corn to round out my lunch. Yeah, that's really well-rounded.
On our way back to the bus, I stopped and bought a Kokeshi doll with cherry blossoms pained on it as well as some flip-flop socks. You know, the socks with space between the big toe and the other 4 toes so you can wear them with flip-flops. Not all that fashionable, but oh, so Japanese.
I had lots of fun today and am very proud of getting out and doing something without John. If I spend all my time at home while he's out of town, I will go very crazy very quickly. Annelise was well-behaved, let's hope she does as well when we go on the ferry tour next month!
Again, check ajminear.shutterfly.com for pictures from today as well as some cute pictures of Annelise from the last month.
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