Ohaka mairi made its second debut (for me) today as we went to go honor okaa-san and otou-san’s deceased parents. It was a gorgeous, sunny day out and packed with people, but since the Goto family ohaka is at the top-most plot it was nice and quiet. The view was absolutely lovely looking out across Kyoto, and the ohaka themselves were a beautiful chance at photos. It was very peaceful, if not a bit windy – enough that okaa-san’s candle kept blowing out and otou-san tried hopelessly to keep it lit. After the process was through we returned to the start of the ohaka, where there was a lovely display of the flowers and leaves (bottom right photo) arranged as old kanji that neither okaa-san nor otou-san understood.
This area also had some lovely tea, which otou-san passed on while the two of us went inside for. When we came out of the building we couldn’t find him, and okaa-san’s response was hilarious. At first she said, “ugh, he always does this, what the heck” before changing her tune to a happier note, because “oh good, he probably went home so now we can go shopping at the department stores!”. Cue him coming out and her groaning at him for still being there. Man do I live for these interactions. We proceeded to walk down to the shrine, where people were smooshed in like nobody’s business. There were these boxes there, called omikuji, with numbered sticks inside that you shake out. After you note your number you tell one of the miko what number you had and the give you the corresponding fortune. I ended up getting daikichi, which translate to excellent luck and is the best fortune to pull. Looks like 2017 is going to be a good year for me.
Once we escaped the madness of the shrine grounds, we strolled toward the river before otou-san abruptly called out “bye-bye” and I was baffled. Where the hell did he think he was going?! Apparently he’s not into the shopping scene and would ‘drag us down’, to paraphrase okaa-san, so he peaced out while the two of us charged on. We wandered down and around Shijo for a while after that, acquiring some really yummy matcha parfaits and lattes. We had to go sit by the river for a bit through so okaa-san could dump the ice from her latte, which drew a few stares and kept me entertained.
We explored department stores after that, initially sparked by my interest in fukubukuro. They’re this amazing concept where, for the first 3 days of the New Year, most major stores and handfuls of small businesses have what are essentially grab-bags of goodies from their store selling at anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3 the value. For example, some have $200-$300 worth of clothes from expensive department stores selling for $100, or $50 grab bags with ~$150 worth of merchandise. They sound awesome and while I didn’t get anything, if I live here in years to come I’m definitely pitching my luck with one of these babies.
We returned home from the stores with some cheap athletic shirts for me and bags from the dollar store for each of us. Did you know they sell tablet face masks that activate with lotion? And if it’s from Daiso you get 35 for $1? I am so dang excited to try these things out, hot dang. We ended the night with a bunch of sushi and sashimi, which I ate most of because either a.no one was that hungry, b.they were letting me go wild because my time is winding down, or most likely c.a combo of both. I won’t complain.
Post-dinner was the packing hell that I mention above, and shit if it’s not an expensive ordeal. Mind you I’m a skank for pottery and that shit is both heavy and requires some mad bubble wrap, so that’s pricy, but oh is my bank account going to be sad when I ship out. On the bright side, all my beautiful stuff will be waiting for me at home – aka a reason for parties with dearly-missed friends! Another cute thing that broke up the madness of packing was Miao-chan, who wanted everything to do with my boxes and better watch herself unless she really does want me to steal her and ship her back to America. Oh, my sweet little nyan-chan, I’ll miss her dearly.