Monday, September 6, 2010

My Summer Vacation

I always loved the first day of school. It meant a new unicorn Trapper Keeper, a closet full of new Fall clothes and a fun little assignment called "What I Did Over My Summer Vacation."  Still sun burnt and scratching at lingering mosquito bites, I enjoyed reminiscing over my summer and writing about my family vacations and frequent trips to the community pool.

So here it is, What I Did Over My Summer Vacation: Jewshi Edition. This will mostly be a photo essay, but I can't resist a few words.

In a nut shell: I saw a lot of art, played a lot of Scrabble, ate approximately 5,657 ice cream cones, sweat so much I looked liked like my entire body was painted in melted butter and wore the same outfit nearly every day while hauling a massive backpack full of unworn clothes around Naoshima, Takamatsu, Tokushima, Miyajima and Hiroshima. Oh, and I went camping. So I was dirty, sweaty and fashion challenged. But you should still look at the photos because dirty sweaty vacations are the best kind. Well, minus the dirt and sweat parts. 

If you ever come to Japan, or if you're currently here, you must must must visit Naoshima. I just used bold and italics so you should know I'm being totally serious. It's famous for being an art island, which means it's crawling with modern art galleries and outdoor sculptures, funky cafes and restaurants (something I constantly long for here), chill people and the most amazingly cool public bathhouse that looks like this on the outside:

And like this on the inside:

We were sleeping on the beach, so it was a nice treat to do our nightly scrubbing and soaking at this artsy little sento. Naoshima also has beautiful beaches and everything on the island can be reached by pedaling a bright blue rented bicycle.

Another highlight of the trip was the Awa Odori dance festival in Tokushima. The normally sleepy city is invaded by a million tourists who come to watch the 80,000 participating locals who wear costumes and do traditional dancing and drumming in the streets. We wandered the streets, beer in hand, sometimes getting pulled into the big dance circles to shake our booties, old school Japanese style.

There was, of course, lots of eating: Tom and I took an udon making class, which you already know about, ate oysters in Miyajima and visited Okinomiyaki Village in Hiroshima, which fulfilled my gimmicky food tourist needs. This "village" was, in fact, three floors of okinomiyaki stalls. Hiroshima-style okinomiyaki is different than it's Kansai cousin; instead of a mixed up meat, seafood and vegetable pancake, it's meat, seafood and vegetables are sandwiched between a thin crepe and a thin omelet. It's also stuffed with noodles, usually soba but we also tried one with udon.  

Ok, I'm doing that thing. I'm doing that thing where I say I'm not gonna say much and then I can't stop blabbing. It's the "you hang up, no you hang up" of blogging. So without any more adjectives, nouns, verbs or even adverbs, I give you:

What I Did Over My Summer Vacation