Wednesday, November 23, 2011


So today I decided to visit Ichinomiya, which is about an hour away from me.  Ichinomiya is a famous textiles and yarn town, and home of Noro yarn, which is basically why I was visiting.  Well, that and they have a shrine which hosts one of the most--if not the most--famous Tanabata celebrations in Japan.  Fieldwork!

Also, Ichinomiya has an obsession with the number 138.  This is because the number can be read "ichi mi ya" and if you insert the possessive particle "no," it becomes "ichi no mi ya."  PUNS.

Anyway, I went to Ichinomiya and walked to Masumida Shrine.

Here's the entrance to the shrine.

As you can probably tell, the weather was GREAT.  And by "great" I mean VERY COLD.

10 points to anyone who knows the answer.

This is now the blog about cool dragon water spigots.

Oh hey, kids are the treasures of the country and the household!

...that's why you should shichigosan.

The shrine has a huuuuuuuuuge entrance gate like you would normally see at a temple.

Speaking of shichigosan, that was going on today.


If you can't read the sign next to the sacred horse statue, it says, "Warning: Please do not climb on top of the rock."
What I learned from Chinese history class: if it had to be written down, there was probably a reason for it.

There were some stalls selling stuff to the shichigosan goers.  Stuff like MASKS.

This is a really deep well which you peer into, and if you see your face reflected back at you, you and your family will be protected from illness.

And here's a mirror which will get rid of your impurities if you look into it.

And here's a supremely heavy rock which will grant you happiness in your family if you can lift it.

It was fun watching small children go through the three of them.  The rock was definitely the favorite and involved the most shrieking.



And some more stalls.

This is a good luck bridge.  I dunno why, BUT IT IS.


There was also a sign nearby saying to please stop abandoning cats on the shrine grounds.  Yikes.

So then I went to the shopping district by the shrine, where I had heard that there were a lot of yarn and textile shops.
Unfortunately, I had forgotten that today is a national holiday (Labour Thanksgiving) and normal people get national holidays off.* Which meant that 50% of the shops were closed.  UGH.

So I wandered around the very limited selection of shops.  There were a LOT of places selling clothing, some of it very cheap, some of it very cheap and hand-sewn/knitted.

There was also a shop selling clothes, baby strollers, and curry.  I dunno.

There was also this place:

...which was sort of like the Japanese equivalent of Michael's crossed with Joanne's Fabrics?

...and this place, which was a fabric store and sold POKEMON FABRIC and ONE PIECE FABRIC and GORGEOUS EMBROIDERED FABRIC.

I managed to find exactly one yarn store, which was full of little old ladies huddled around a space heater as they worked on their various knitting projects.  It did not, however, sell Noro, and also all the yarn was in little plastic bags so you couldn't touch it before you bought it.  I dunno about you, but I'm not going to buy any yarn unless I can rub my face on it first.  Seriously, this is how you wind up working with horrifying polyester stuff.  (Everything they sold was on the low end...either that or yarn in Japan is really cheap.  150 yen for a ball?  Yeah.)

...I don't even know.

So then I wandered around until I managed to find a restaurant that wasn't closed/full of smokers.

Katsudon and udon.  Katsudon is lightly breaded, fried pork topped with egg-sauce stuff on rice.  Udon is a fat noodle, in this case in a miso broth.

So after that I wandered around some more, and failed at finding open yarn shops.  Then it began to rain so I decided to head back to Nagoya, 'cause it was getting late anyway.  And then I wrote an essay about FRIENDSHIP.  It was...not that exciting, actually.

In completely different news, I don't understand やばい (yabai).  According to my dictionary it means "dangerous, risky, awful, terrible, crap, terrific, amazing, cool."  Wow.  I'm glad that's clear.  Things which I have heard people refer to as yabai include:
- earthquakes
- the weather when it's hot
- the weather when it's cold
- broken glass
- my mom's knitting skills (my classmates then started obsessively petting my sweater)
- Stuff Not to Microwave
- getting free chocolate from Monday sensei
- having homework
- not having homework
- my tolerance for cold
and many other things.  Basically, it seems to be a word you can use to refer to everything.

On a final note, as I was walking to class on Monday, I wound up walking right behind some of my classmates, who, as it turned out, were arguing over whether I would finally be wearing long sleeves to class or not.  They then turned around, realized that I was right behind them, and were immensely pleased that I was wearing long sleeves.  "If you didn't wear long sleeves today, I would worry about you," one of them told me.
I would worry about me too, if I were wearing short sleeves in 50 degree weather with a freezing wind blowing.  Not all of us can be part penguin.


*Nanzan doesn't believe in national holidays.  We have school EVERY DAY ALL THE DAYS.

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