Sake and Leaving

Last weekend I went to a sake festival in Niigata. I drove with two others in the car with me so I was a little nervous and stressed in case I crashed and killed us all. I didn’t so it was all good. I worry about these things generally and, as it was a two and a half hour drive each way and I haven’t driven that far here in Japan with my old, slightly crappy car I was, I feel, justified in that worry. But it was fine.

We met up with the others in our group in the house/woodworking shop we were staying in and set off for the festival. For some reason I thought it was going to be outside so layered up but it was in one of those big exhibition halls so I needn’t have bothered. It was soo busy. You could barely move for people and we lost a few of our group early on. We would lose others as the day went on, then meet up again somewhere in the hall, lose another and so on.

Sake is fine. It’s drinkable. I could detect some differences in flavour. For some of them. I haven’t been converted to a lover. I doubt I’d order it for myself. Basically, it’ll never replace gin in my heart. But I had a good day so I’m glad I went.

There was some minor drama the next morning. The place we were staying in was very old. I loved it, all wood, glass and dark. But the stairs were very steep, narrow and dark and one of the ladies fell down them the next morning. Because she hit her head we felt we should call the ambulance. They arrived very promptly and took her to the hospital to check everything was okay. It was and she’s fine but it must have seriously hurt. At least it didn’t happen the night before.

In other news, yesterday was the leaving ceremony for the third years. A very formal, serious affair. Lots of speeches, looking solemn, crying, a few songs and many, many men in dark suits. No idea who they all were or why they were there. People from the board of education? trustees, chairmen, owners of the school, local mafia? (probably shouldn’t say that). I need to mention crying again and by itself. There was so much crying.

I can’t imagine being that upset to leave school, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough but that’s me.

I actually quite enjoyed it for all the speeches and crying. The thing I liked most was how the students had set up the whole room. Bringing in the chairs, laying the carpet, setting up the stage, placing flowers all over the show. Then this morning they took it all down again. I really liked that. I imagine my school would sneer at that and claim it produced people who would pay other people to do that kind of thing. Any wonder I hated it. I’m afraid I didn’t take any pictures but here are some of the sake festival.

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