Today was our host family day in Masuda city. After a luxury breakfast, Nina and I went painting with our host-mother. She taught us how to paint traditional Japanese style flowers on a piece of bamboo. The result looked pretty good, and it was quite easy to do as well. Next, our host-father took us to his own vegetable garden and rice field, which were next to the house. He told us a lot about the different vegetables he was growing in the garden as he picked them. The vegetables that he grows in his garden are used in the dishes they cook, which is really amazing.
After this tour of the garden we went by car to a school, where we would see kagura (a type of Japanese play) performed by children. All the other participants and host-families were here as well. The first play was about a family whose 7 daughters had been eaten by the 8-headed dragon Orochi. They were getting desperate since their 8th daughter would be the next victim, and so they prayed to the gods. Their prayers were answered and they made really strong sake to get Orochi drunk. After an epic battle Orochi was finally defeated, and the family lived happily ever after. During the break after the first play we got to experience ourselves how it is to wear the Orochi costume, play one of the drums or wear one of the kagura costumes, which was really interesting.
The second play was about Ebisu, the god of luck, who was going to catch a Red Snapper for us to bring good luck. Of course he did not catch it immediately, and since he threw around candy every time before he would give it another try, we got a lot of candy. After a couple of times he did manage to catch the fish though, and to celebrate it even more candy was thrown around.
After the kagura we went to an onsen, where we spent about half an hour in the hot water before we went to an udon restaurant. This was definitely a great ending for a great day.
Lieke Vermeulen (The Netherlands)