Hinamatsuri (Kofu)

Hinamatsuri (Girls’ Day/Doll’s Festival) was on March 3rd. Cece’s host family invited us over to their place. We left Tsuru around 9 a.m. and arrived in Kofu a little over an hour later. Kofu isn’t as rural as Tsuru, and there’s even a shopping mall right at the train station. Cece’s host father picked us up, accompanied by his adorable daughters, Momono and Sachi. He drove us to their friends’ house, a couple named Yukie and Haru who have a daughter.

Cece’s host mother had asked us to buy some drinks, so we had the milk tea, calpis, and tea that we had bought. We were served chirashizushi, takoyaki, chicken karaage, and a white pasta. They were all delicious, especially the white pasta.

Both families have lived in America before, so their English is very good. Cece had told me they always speak in English to her, and that they wanted to have a host student in order to have someone for their kids to speak English with. For such young kids, their English is really good!

Afterwards, the two host mothers offered Cece and I to try on their kimono! They were both very pretty, and the one I wore was a silk kimono, which was worth about $500, and was passed down from her mother (or grandmother, I don’t quite remember what she said anymore). Putting on a kimono is indeed very difficult, requiring many layers, sashes and knots, and properly tucking in parts. Cece’s host mother told us she attended a 3 week class before just to learn how to put on kimono. The obi is beautiful, but very stiff, and with a full stomach, Cece and I were laughing about how we could barely breathe in them. We took a few photos indoors and then we stepped out for a little bit to have some outdoor shots.

And when we thought we weren’t already full enough, they gave us cake! It was a strawberry cream cake with a pair of candy hinamatsuri dolls on top. Sachi, who seems to eat everything, quickly took one of them. They sounded really hard when she was biting them! In the end, after going at the head until it looked like a huge bald spot, she got tired of it and handed it to her father. Too cute!

Afterwards, we went back upstairs to change out of the kimonos. When we went back downstairs, Yukie had taken down her koto and gave us a brief performance. It was such a pleasant surprise when she let me put on the finger pieces and pluck the strings. She showed me how to play Sakura Sakura, which I didn’t know is a very famous Japanese folk song that everyone knows. Afterwards, she let the kids play it too.

We drank some green tea after that, and chatted about their time in America, the books on their shelves, movies, Japanese children’s shows, etc. Finally, around 3 or 4 p.m. Cece’s host mother drove us back to Kofu station. Sachi also hopped into the car to join us for the ride, but fell asleep halfway there.

Before Cece and I took the train back to Tsuru, we looked around the department store that’s at the train station. There’s a floor that’s all bakeries, gift dessert boxes, and other souvenir food items. There’s clothes stores on other floors too, but they were all very expensive. There were a lot of pens at the book shop, and I’ve been missing drawing, so I bought two black pigment liners. Cece and I took the 5:30 p.m. train back home.

This was a very fun day! I wish we had hinamatsuri back at home too. I’m really glad that Cece and her host mother invited me!

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