I had the pleasure of a brief escape to Anjo today. Anjo is about 20 minutes outside Nagoya, by train. It’s not somewhere I had considered going before, but one of my student’s husband’s parents live there, and I was invited to their home.
I haven’t visited a real Japanese home before, so it was a wonderful new experience for me. The family are really lovely and I had a great time. Almost as soon as I got there I was given an apron and taught how to make ‘ohagi‘ (おはぎ), a kind of mochi rice ball. It was great fun to make them (proper cooking where your hands get really dirty!) and I want to try making some again sometime. I found a recipe here online, so maybe I will try someday.
Being in a real Japanese home, eating a wonderful proper Japanese meal, and even joining in the cooking, really made me thankful to be here. I have all these Japan-related dreams and hopes, and being there in that Japanese house really made me hope that someday I could have my own (or at the very least be close enough to someone that I can regularly visit and cook with them!). I swear I must have been Japanese in a past life or something!
After lunch, we went to a very curious place: Denpark. Denpark is a Denmark-themed park, in Anjo (Anjo is known as “Japan’s Denmark”, apparently!). It’s actually a very pleasant place to spend a Sunday afternoon, but it’s also ever so slightly odd. In fact, I was in stitches from the music. All around the whole park, even in the carpark, they play this European accordian music through these little speakers. It’s just hilarious!
To make things more comical, there are huge bush-animals for no apparent reason:
Yes, I think that last one’s a seasonal pumpkin bush for Halloween!
But don’t get me wrong, it was a very nice way to spend the afternoon, and if I find myself in Anjo again I’d be more than happy to go back! It was a place filled with families and kids playing, and it had a nice atmosphere. If a little kooky… 😉