August 2009

End of Summer

Today's the last day of August and it really feels like the end of summer. I've stayed here in %E4%B8%80%E8%89%B2%E6%B5%B7%E5%B2%B8_resize.jpgJapan for the whole of this summer. I usually take a long summer vacation and go abroad to recharge my batteries,but for various reasons I decided to stay here which is quite unusual for me. I've been busy getting ready for my recital in the autumn but managed to fit in a few days of fun here as well.

Having my friend's children stay with me was great fun and quite inspiring. They wanted to spend a day at the beach which I haven't done for over 20 years!!! I was a bit anxious in the planning stage...I wondered whether I'd survive the heat and the sunburning (especially as I hadn't experienced the extremely humid and hot Japanese summer for years!) and worried about parking and food arrangements but it turned out to be a great day. %E3%81%BC%E3%82%93%E3%81%BC%E3%82%8A%E7%A5%AD%E3%82%8A_resize.jpgEverything we needed was all there and the beach we went to turned out to be perfect. A typhoon was approaching so there were plenty of waves although the weather was still perfect with blue skies and a nice breeze. I totally forgot how much fun it was to go into the sea! Such a liberating feeling!

I also went to a festival which is held at the local shrine "Hachiman Shrine" which I had missed every year as I had always been away at this time. Taiko%20Hachiman%20Shrine_resize.jpgThey decorate the whole shrine with lanterns which are hand painted by locals - some which are nationally very famous - and are lit up with candles.
As part of the festival they had a "Taiko (Japanese drums)" group perform on the "dancing platform" as an offering to the Gods. It was absolutely magnificent and I felt truly proud to have such a tradition in our own culture.

lake_resize.jpgI was also invited by friends to visit their summer apartment near Hakone. Hakone is a very mountainous area and has a beautiful lake and lots of hot springs. Apparently one of the previous mayors was a man of foresight and made laws to protect it's nature and beauty. %E3%81%99%E3%81%99%E3%81%8D%E9%87%8E%EF%BC%92_resize.jpgIt's very rare to see a place (especially a touristic place) without any commercial signs in Japan. It makes such a difference and the scenery was just breathtaking.

So,although I missed seeing my friends abroad and visiting beautiful places in Europe/America,I've had a nice and fruitful summer. I'm glad I stayed in Japan as there has been so much work to get done before I can start concentrating on the actual practicing!

As summer seems to come to an end, I'm starting to feel geared up and am looking forward to getting my teeth into this recital programme.

Please come if you are in the area at the time!
(I've updated my "Information" page for details.)