Chasing Cherry Blossoms
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Island-hopping in Imabari!

So, this weekend, I made the four-hour journey to the northern tip of Ehime to stay with my friend Rebecca (who I met WAY BACK at London Orientation!) Rebecca is lucky enough to call the island of Hakata (sitting in the sea between Ehime and Hiroshima prefectures) her home. It really is a stunning place. Don't believe me? EAT. IT.:

What's more, Hakata's just one of a cluster of gorgeous islands peppering the area. So, for the weekend, we spent our time hopping between them all! Imabari being so much further north than my home, there was also still some time left to take in the last of Ehime's cherry blossoms!

One particular highlight of the weekend included an impulse Mochi Maki at Barbi (our friend's) neighbour's house! A mochi maki is a Japanese housewarming tradition where, to ingratiate themselves with their new neighbours, the Japanese stand on their roof and pelt them with rice cakes (mochi). Now, call me old-fashioned, but I always thought a potted plant and a cup of sugar was the way to get yourselves in with Them Next-Door. Apparently the Japanese don't share my belief as, for ten minutes, Barbi's new neighbours rained rice cakes and other confectioneries on us. As sweet as the foods may have been, the participants were anything but. Kitted out with bags, these bitches meant business. Every rice cake that fell was treated like a drop of gold to be snatched up. And, in a Gold Rush, anything goes. From my timid starting point, I quickly found myself scrapping, pushing and elbowing my way through the crowd to get my own slice of the action. And I don't even like mochi. More than once a mochi ball smacked me in the head. And, at one point, Rebecca found herself curiously riding my arm as I grappled for a rice cake another contender had already set his claws into. Any excuse to knock a few bitches out under the guise of neighbourly fun.

The festivities didn't end there, however - as if to thank us for participating (or, perhaps, congratulate us on surviving) Barbi's new neighbours then presented us all with FRESH FISH. So fresh, in fact, that they were still moving!

What a world.

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