March 9, 2008

Food Festival, Birthday Party, and Relaxing on a Sunday

After Jacob's morning Yoga class, Mike and Ilena took advantage of our first real warmer weather day (leaning towards Spring time?) and each went on short runs on the Rokko Island Green Belt path. It was a really beautiful day today. The sun was shining, the many fountains that dot the main drag of Rokko Island were flowing, and people were out and about.

In the late morning, we took a family stroll around Rokko Island to check out two festival events that we had seen from our runs. First, at the ground floor of the Rink Shopping Center there was a seafood festival that featured all sorts of interesting looking fish, as well as some interesting snackie type items like friend potatoes on a stick, sweet potato stuffed with cream, and mini-donuts with various fillings. We sampled the potatoes and donuts! Mike sampled some of the more exotic items. Here are some pictures of the interesting food items that we saw:

Afterwards, we wandered over to the Kobe Fashion Mall (a nearby building that looks sort of like a UFO), which was hosting a large free event sponsored by various local companies. This food festival event included an assortment of free samples of all sorts of different foods (rice, sauces, nori, meats, fishes, vegetables), as well as a Jazz performance by the Canadian Academy Jazz Band. On the way in, everyone was handed free chopsticks (hashi). Once inside, we got bowls of rice from the rice cooker people, and then wander around and load up with the various food items. While we were in line, an official looking photographer walked up and asked us something in Japanese. When we didn't understand, she asked us in English if we minded if they took our picture. She further asked that we be eating while they snapped the picture. I fed Lauren some rice and Jacob stuffed down some of his own as the flashbulbs fired. So maybe we will be in next year's pamphlet or up on a billboard or something!

Lauren got very into the Jazz band, deciding to spontaneously get up in the front and dance, with various spin-moves that were mildly evocative of the Elaine Benes Dance from Seinfeld (but much much cuter!). We saw several Japanese people move their cameras off the band and start taking pictures of Lauren. She's like a rock star here.

In the afternoon, we split up. Mike and Lauren went to Ashiya for a birthday party at the house of a classmate of Lauren's. It was a very cute four-year-old birthday party, complete with playground, toys, cake, hamsters, and even a clown.

Ilena and Jacob spent a chill afternoon on the island, biking, playing frisbee down by the water, swimming at the family swim at our gym, and playing soccer. A perfect day for a Jacob. And Ilena!

We had an interesting dinner this evening. We started off with some sushi from our local supermarket. And followed it up by splitting a large Subway Turkey Sub on Honey Oat Bread. (Yes, there is a Subway on Rokko Island). Of course the 20 pieces of sushi and the turkey sub were approximately the same price!

One exciting footnote (for Mike at least). Today, he successfully read his first sign that used both Kanji and Katakana. This sign says "Osaka Gas," one of the big sponsors of the food festival. Baby steps...


The Ricketts Family said...

Just catching up on the last few blog updates. Sounds like you guys are having a ton of fun. The baseball games look the best to Lee and I. :) Keep the updates coming... we love them.

Matthew J said...

That youtube link was priceless...but I have to say that Elaine Bennes doesn't have anything on my niece!!!

I have a question about sushi...Have the two of you tried a new type of sushi (or sashimi) that is non traditional for a Japanese restaurant in the states?

Mike said...

I have eaten a bunch of sushi that I haven't previously tried. But I'm not sure I've tried anything that wouldn't be available in the US. The key thing about sushi in Japan is just that its SOOO much better quality (and cheaper). It's going to be hard to eat sushi back home after this!