February here is still very cold. Most days the skies are grey and overcast. At first glance over the landscape the trees are still bleak, leafless and dreary.
However, if one kneels down and inspects closely, the tips of tiny green shoots can be seen shoving aside the earth and making their way upwards. The same thing happens upon close inspection of the trees.
I stood and observed a few sakura trees beside the roadside. Grey fuzzy nodules lined the branches- a sure sign that in a few weeks our area would be in its spring glory!
It is always interesting to me how this is citrus season and I marveled at all the heavily laden fruit trees.
The way to the historical home takes you through the older part of town where many of the buildings are so tipsy looking that it seems as if a strong wind could knock them down.
There is an old shop along the way that I always stop and peek into. It’s reminiscent of the old-style Edo period shops with big wide doors that are kept open to the public. As I peeked in I saw big bottles of sake, bags of rice, crates, wooden boxes and more. I’ve never gone in and really looked around though. Every time I have stolen a look- there wasn’t anyone in there despite the doors being open! Amazing.
A bit further down the narrow road sits a small park with a rather curious statue. I have photographed this statue before and asked around a bit regarding the significance of it but no one seems to know.
She is bent low to the ground -completely naked. I have pondered many times about what this statue could represent. There are no signs around describing her-so I guess I’m left to wonder.
Before crossing the street I stood for a bit and admired the remnants of an old gate and building structure that had been incorporated into a newer home. I am fortunate here as we have so many old buildings and structures that remind of days gone by. Standing for a moment I envisioned kimono clad citizens, their wooden geta clacking loudly as they hurried on their way.
Directly above this property sits the Japanese traditional villa “Nogata Saiji Kan”. It was the same home I featured in last year’s Hina Matsuri post. If you missed it-don’t worry as Hina Matsuri is coming up soon.
It’s a good thinking spot. There were two other ladies sitting on the veranda chatting. I decided to visit again when the weather was nice and warm. I’ll bring some tea and a notebook, sit on the veranda and gaze out over the gardens and city below. How grand to have been the mistress here at one time.
It was almost 2:30pm and time to slowly make my way back. There is a little strip of shops along the road that are as unique as can be. The main shop sits rather in the middle with several other little shoplets all around it. Everyone of them quaint and delightful-selling all sorts of handmade items, pottery and beautiful handkerchiefs. Antique kimono and various accessories, linens, wall hangings and such are in another. The main shop has all sorts of trinkets, chopsticks, washi-paper and adorable postcards-and that’s only the half of what they have for sale.
They also have free coffee so I made a pit-stop for a cuppa and picked through their selection of seasonal handkerchiefs because I thought it was time for a new one. For 500 yen I walked away with a beautiful and delicate new handkerchief featuring teacups painted in four-seasons flora.
So far I had spent 675 yen out of my 1,220 yen total. My stomach was growling and I had 545 yen left jingling in my pocket. I counted it twice to make sure. I knew just the place where that would be more than enough to fill my stomach for the 45 minute walk home-the train station coffee shop.
A cup of coffee, half a bacon-cheese pita bread and a sweet-bean bun later I was ready to hit the road home and…I still had around 43 yen to spare!
It had gotten a bit cold, especially as I crossed over the long Ongagawa River bridge where it is always guaranteed to be windy. There were so many ducks on the river and in the distance I saw people preparing the area where the annual tulip festival is always held.
A hot cup of cocoa and a short nap were wonderfully delightful after my (cheap) day out.