Thursday, January 8, 2015

The SSEAYP Diaries: Sweet and sweeter (Day 4)

Day two in Shimane, and after packing, I headed out for breakfast with my other two SPYs. The view of the lake was so inviting especially while you’re enjoying a hearty breakfast of ham and eggs. Very un-Japanese...ham and eggs, lol. I was not in the mood for Japanese curry in the morning.

We split into two different groups for two different activities. Our group had wagashi making (a Japanese sweet unique to Shimane), while the other made magatama, a unique piece of jewelry. Before all of that happened, we had interaction with the local youth who taught us a few Japanese games, as well as a whole lot about Shimane culture.

(Dino from Vietnam)

(May, and Mai from Vietnam)

Yes, we played human entanglement.

(Vyvy from Vietnam)

The local youth followed us to our next activities and joined in with us as well.

(That's Hiro, one of the local youth)

(Black bean paste balls)

That's what we were supposed to be making. It isn't as easy as it looks. One would assume making these was like playing with playdoh.

(The magatama class.)

So what magatama is, essentially, is a comma shaped bead most of the time made out of jade and used as anklets, bracelets or necklaces. It looks like half of a yin-yang symbol.

We went to grab food after the refreshing class(es). Walked around the area and saw really quaint things; like this postbox and a love fountain. 

This bakery/patisserie sells amazing bread and ice-cream. The smell of bread wafted into my nose just as I walked into the shop, and I was so tempted to buy everything. Knowing that lunch awaited me, I exercised some level of self-control. Thankfully I didn’t throw myself into the pile of fresh bread. I did get ice-cream though.

I learnt from them that putting your hands at the side of your face is a new Japanese trend when taking pictures. It’s supposed to make your face seem smaller. Yup, the peace sign at your cheeks was a last season sort of thing.

After a satisfying lunch, we made our way to the museum (now located in what used to be a Samurai house).

(Different types of meals that sumo wrestlers used to eat)

More wagashi

My favourite part of the day was having to see the drums (do) and also having a chance to play them plus meet the local drum troupe.

(Nik, from Malaysia)

(Rey from the Philippines)

The music was deafeningly loud, but the tune and the beat were extremely catchy. So much teamwork put into coordinating one piece of music. The troupe itself consisted of babies all the way up to old people. It was like a family traveling together, living together and producing music together for festivals and occasions.

We had our final discussions about the day back at the museum, and we were treated to gorgeous wagashi and original matcha. Seriously bitter, but there’s a method to it’s madness. Apparently you’re supposed to eat the wagashi and drink the matcha alternately.

We made our way back to the hotel for our homestay matching; and to change to our ethnic wear. Guess who I was so lucky to have as my first homestay mate?

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