We had fun on Monday (yes, I know it has taken me all week to get the post up, these 4 day weeks are playing havoc with my routine!) Anyway, we went up to Gyoda, which is about an hours drive away. There are some burial mounds and a small museum plus a castle.
We started at the museum and joined a class to make a magatama. They are a type of necklace carved from stone, originally they were good luck charms made from bears teeth but over the years the shape stayed the same but the material it was made from changed.
You buy a kit which was about ¥500, you can choose from pink, white or black stone, matching stone bead and there is a choice of string too. You also get 2 types of sandpaper. The class provides everything else.
First we drew around the template and then we had to drill a hole, the traditional way - well using mostly traditional tools, they did have a modern drill bit attached to the end!
Then the rest was the sanding, daddy took a black stone, this is harder than the others, Ebi-kun picked white and I did pink. We started off with the coarse sandpaper in a tray of water and sanded the rock down to the basic shape. Then we switched to the finer sandpaper to get it nice and smooth. The final thing was to polish it with felt. There was a bead included in the kit too, so we sanded that to make it smooth too.
Everyone was really proud of their finished masterpieces!
After the class we had a look inside one of the burial mounds, this is the only mound in Japan that you can actually go inside. They have a TV feed set up so you can see the real body and belongings and then this replica. In Ebi-kuns words "It stinks in here"!
After all that we were ready for lunch, we found a pleasant little restaurant 5 minutes walk from the museum, we all wanted to try the local dish "Jelly Fry", OK, I was a bit apprehensive, they eat some weird shit over here! But it was delicious, it was actually fried mashed potato and veg, tasted a bit like bubble and squeak. It got it's name because it looks like old Japanese coins and the word got changed along the way - or something like that! If you go, try them or make them yourself, there is a recipe here.
After lunch we headed Oshi Castle. It is, like many in Japan a replica. It's not in my top ten of sight seeing places, but OK for an afternoon out. It is very old school in the layout, precious things in glass cases, pretty boring for kids and those who don't read Japanese. I spent most of the time walking round deciding what changes I would make if I ran the place to make it more exciting!
They did have a couple of Samurai wandering around and answering questions, as well as posing for the camera.
After a wander round the grounds we headed home, yet another fun filled day!
Next Monday Ebi-kun is off again because it's undokai tomorrow - the sports festival, it is such a big thing here. I am off to the supermarket to stock up on bento supplies...