We’re winding down in our journey through September’s chronicle of Hannah Comes to Town. On Saturday the 26th Hannah and I chose an easy day. Since the rabbit had been discovered and I hadn’t reconstructed its cage, the two humans in the house paid a visit to the 100 yen shop. Hannah and I browsed for a bit, laughing at all the terrible English that peppered the packaging and stationery, and I recall encouraging her to buy something she probably didn’t need.
In our western friend Seiyu the 100 yen shop is on the basement floor and the groceries are on the ground floor. With a few plastic table cloths in tow (remember how I bought a bed? The rabbit had to stay inside) Hannah and I made a tour of Seiyu’s finest foods. We picked up ingredients for cookies and Hannah found some weird foods to bring home. This is when I convinced her that a whole dried squid was an excellent gift for her brother-in-law. I think shopping with Hannah proved nothing if not that I would make an excellent trophy wife—if my husband is unable to think of a good reason to spend money, I’ll find one for him.
Japan’s most renowned donut establishment is Mr. Donut, an American-born chain that did much better overseas than in the motherland. Japanese donuts are a little different from their American brethren. There are fewer sprinkles (if any) and many more varieties of cake donuts. The love for mushy, or “mochi mochi” textures has infiltrated many of their donut creations, as has soy and matcha flavoring. Like curry, cake, and mayonnaise, donuts have become part of Japanese cuisine, and therefore Mr. Donut was a necessary stop on Hannah’s food tourism circuit.
After covering the new bed in plastic and making sure the rabbit had food and water I borrowed Margaret’s bike. Hannah and I set off for adventure. We swung by Mr. Do to grab a couple donuts apiece, then headed over to the nearby moat to eat our sweets and soak up the sun. We looked good doing it, too.
Since Hannah had yet to see much of Kameoka our next mission was a bike ride. We went up to the Galleria Kameoka, a large building that serves as both an expo and community center. There’s a chapel on the 3rd floor for weddings and a library on the first. It’s a beautiful, well-constructed building, which was made slightly less beautiful when I accidentally dropped the ice cream I’d purchased on the floor. Do you remember that episode of Reading Rainbow, the one that featured the book The Swamp Band (Mama don’ allow no music playin’ ‘round heeeeeeeere)? Lavar Burton was eating ice cream in a park, and the ice cream fell off the cone and landed on his shoe, and he looked so sad that I nearly cried the first time I saw it. It was like that. Except few tears and more scrambling to clean up the mess before someone noticed. And no alligators, which was both a relief and a disappointment.
Hannah and I ended up taking two routes that day. The first was to the Galleria using a roundabout back way to let Hannah see a variety of neighborhoods. After a break the second was across the Hozu river to an area that I don’t ever visit. I’ve been driven through the area on the way to Kameoka’s best cherry blossom site and another time to a taiko performance. Riding past the rice fields and elementary baseball games and traditional neighborhoods was nevertheless a first for me. Hannah and I pedaled around until we had decided it was time to be lazy in the privacy of my home. It was the kind of experience that I can’t describe without turning poetic and lyrical, and this just isn’t that type of story. Visit me and see what it’s like to ride with the late summer breeze at your back while the sun sets quietly behind the mountains, then stroll through a field of sunflowers and listen to the rustle of wind through dying leaves.
Then see what it’s like to rent a couple of movies from iTunes and eat nothing but fresh chocolate chip cookies for the rest of the night. It’s good, people. It’s good.