June 6 (Cambridge River Festival)

On June 6th, my friend Michele and I got up bright and early to help a friend out at the Cambridge River Festival, where she would be selling her own artwork and vintage silk kimono (in Japanese, you don’t add any equivalent to an “s” to make things plural!), as well as the makings of her fellow creatives back in Japan.

the shop's owner, Aiko

This is Aiko– a wonderful artist and new friend ( You can check out her website here! ).
She and her husband were at the festival while her mother-in-law watched their little boy for the day.  She is primarily a painter, specializing in cheery illustrations.





Our friends Brooke (pictured above) and Bing stopped by to check out the festival as well- it was a really fun day, despite being somewhat chilly for June. Aiko dressed Michele and I up in kimono and obi, and we actually drew in a good number of customers, several of which went home with kimono of their own!
As a thank you for helping, Aiko offered Michele and I a free gift for the day.  I picked out a necklace of Mount Fuji, and slipped the money for it to her husband while she wasn’t looking.  She’s a hard worker, and gives the profits of each product to the artisans that made them.
It was definitely a purchase I would never regret.

rice-planting in Omura


We planted a rice paddy!
In socks!
Haha- there was so much mud that it made a sucking noise when you took a step, it was great.
And it wasn’t just people from the program that brought me to Japan- we were with a group of kids from two (I think) schools.  It was so much fun.


I am currently in the City of Omura, Nagasaki, and I’m having a really great time!
I’m staying with a host family- so I have a Mama, Papa, imouto (little sister), and otouto (little brother). They’re all really great(and quite young- I’m more like a younger sister than a daughter, which is fun!).  My Mama, Kumi, is such a sweetheart, and she can speak some English, so if there’s a word or something I don’t catch she can explain it to me.  Every night I help her cook, I go shopping with her, and do laundry, etc (I know some people just find those to be chores, but it’s enjoyable for me).  She is always asking if there is something I would like to try or do, so my stay is full of adventures!  Youichi (Papa) is super nice as well- and he works at Canon (aka the best camera-maker EVER).  His english isn’t so good, (as in nonexistent), which is okay- we have been fine with communicating!  I really appreciate everyone’s efforts. My imouto, Hiro, is super cute and sweet- she’s somewhere between 5 and 7 years old, I’m not sure- and she calls me “onee-chan” (big sister) (かわいいね!).  She has been teaching me to make origami cranes (at which I am terrible), and likes to show me her favorite candies so I can try.  My otouto, You-kun (Youdou) is 13 months old, and so precious.  Sometimes he just wants to be held, and so if I’m there he’ll hold his arms out to me.  And he is always hungry!
Last night Kumi took Hiro and I to see ホタル (fireflies).  It was so pretty!  And we went with another family that is hosting my friend Maki.  While we were there, my friend Alex was there with his host family too!  So I got to meet them.  (– I hope he’s not having too much trouble communicating- he doesn’t speak a lick of Japanese).
We are going to perform for our families, so we have been learning a dance routine- it’s a medley of Japanese songs. We will dance to a little kids show’s song, Anpanman Taiso, so all of the kids can sing along, as well as an old fishing dance, and contemporary music such  as Exile and AKB48.  It’s really fun to be learning- I love dancing! It’s tiring when you dance for five hours a day though!
Today (since here it is now 6am) we will be meeting the Mayor and then planting rice in the paddies and going to a school to play with the children. I’ve been told the fields will be dirty work- usually requiring you to throw out your clothes after!  I hope I don’t have to, for I only have a few articles of clothing (I packed light so I could buy gifts for back home)!

Well, I should try and get a half hour more sleep- my jet lag hits me randomly during the day.



(Hiro and Youdou!)