Working Holiday on Otaru Project

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Golden rain and soba showers

2010.08.23 Monday | by maria@2010
 Last Sunday I attended one of Otaru's summer firework displays with Akiko, a lovely guest I met here at Morinoki. Now Japan is full of artificial night lights come summer, and after the thrill of seeing the first few glistening shows, it kinda gets lower on the to do list, but I was assured by Masa San that this one was going to give us a bit more bang than the usual firework fiesta. Bang it did. Arriving at the harbour front, where the usual array of food stalls were busy selling clams, squid, yakisoba, fried chicken (do NOT think KFC, please...) and of course, beer, we found a spot right at centre stage, with fishing boats gently bobbing in front of us and a huge rock with a red shrine gate perched on top, some 400 meters away. (I don't know how it got there either). Armed with lots of food ( I got a bit too excited me thinks) and a pint, i settled down ready to be suitably wowed. The fireworks started and came streaming down, close, very close to our heads and the crowd loved it though in a slightly scared way, with oohs and aahhs (very frequent applause and gasps of appreciation during a fireworks display in Japan) and then a shout of "abunaiiiii!!!" or " that's a BIT tooooo close for comfort!!!!"...the sparks came down metres away, disappearing into the sea. With frequent breaks to give the mysterious shadows on the rock in front of us time to reload, an announcer gave out information you'd find in the back of your local newspaper, memorials, newly weds and then, what to expect during the next round of fireworks, like fruit shapes (we have a very creative press in south london). We got the watermelon and the pineapple but quite frankly the rest was a mystery, though an enjoyable one. The big sighs of delight came when the glorious golden glistening shower of sparks rained down above us.  And then we were content to leave with our bellies full and eyes bright. 

I discovered last week that I like soba. This was news to me, as I had previously listed it in my not to eat category. I am usually always asked about which foods I hate, as if I must be allergic to every type of Japanese dish going. People always seem disappointed that I actually like the cuisine here, so the fact I disliked soba was great as I had something to triumphantly declare as a no eat zone. But then Masa San came along with his fancy soba making equipment (namely his hands, a large laquerware bowl and a scary machete knife thingy) and went and made the long stringy brown noodle. And I liked it, in fact, I could have eaten it all if there weren't other guests to feed. So now my list is down to two. Natto and steamed egg. Hmmmm....will have to get my thinking cap on, or just go round the streets of Otaru trying the local specialities...