Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday outing

Today was a rare solo Sunday outing to Hachinohe. (I'm a homebody and--with the exception of major trips, like to Hiroshima, Osaka, etc.--rarely go to places outside of Towada by myself.)

It started with a trip to Sweet Peach Salon スウィートピーチサロン for lunch. I was a little nervous about getting lost, but I only had to pull over once twice to check the map and regain my bearings. ^_^

Even though the Salon location is a little further out there than the main shop (which is right in downtown Hachinohe), I picked that location because it has free parking and I figured the roads would be less busy and thus less stressful to navigate for someone unfamiliar with the area.

Anyway, back to Sweet Peach Salon! It's a pretty little shop (seats about 18 people total, with 3 tables for 2 and 3 tables for 4) with a nice atmosphere.

The lunch menu is limited to one set that you can choose to have by itself (680yen), with cake (880yen), or with a parfait (1100yen), but within that one set, you get a good variety of smaller dishes: some bread, a waffle, a small salad, some fruit, and curry, plus a hot drink (coffee, tea, etc.).  

Being the glutton that I am, I went for the lunch plus parfait. =P It was pretty simple, but I liked it because instead of the usual corn flake or whipped cream fillers, it was pretty much all fruit plus a bit of ice cream: pear, pineapple, persimmon, strawberry, kiwi on top, plus banana mixed in with the ice cream, to be precise. The proportion of fruit to ice cream made me feel much less guilty about indulging myself. ^_~

Following lunch I headed to the Hachinohe Koukaidou (公会堂 public hall/civic auditorium) to watch my Nihonbuyo teacher, Rika-sensei perform. Thankfully I didn't get lost at all (hooray for signs leading to City Hall, which is next to the Koukaidou!) and made it just in time for her performance. (I entered partway through the performance before hers, in fact.)

I didn't get the story 100%, but it was still a really impressive dance--she played 3-4 roles (indicated by the changing of headpieces) all by herself! She was a baby (or little kid), an old man, and a husband and wife couple, too, I believe. I was really in awe of her skill, and that of the guy who was helping her with all the headpiece changes.

The guy had to sit in a kneeling position unobtrusively in the back for most of the dance and only moved forward a bit when it was time to change the headpiece or to take a prop from Rika-sensei. The timing was impeccable and super impressive! With all the different props I imagine it must have taken a fair bit of practice to ensure that he had the correct headpiece ready for her to take at precisely the right time and in precisely the right location (on the stage).

After the performance I went backstage to give my compliments to Rika-sensei.

It was pretty crazy because she had to remove all of the makeup from her face, arms and legs AND change into a regular kimono while accepting presents and congratulations from various visitors. She also had to make sure that each visitor received a small gift (sandwiches and tea) as okaeshi (お返し a sort of return gift/answering gesture of thanks).

Once again I was struck by just how expensive it is to do Nihonbuyo. I mean, on top of paying for kimono/wig rentals and dressing (and possibly a make-up artist as well), you have to think about preparing/buying sufficient okaeshi for people who come to watch you perform. @_@ Though I get the sense that at least it's only something you have to do for major performances (i.e. where there's an actual admission fee), since I only remember seeing all the お返し being given out during last year's big Hanasuzukai performance and not for the annual Shimin Bunkaisai. Or maybe it's for all performances and I just wasn't really paying attention last weekend...

Anyway, after the performance I headed back home--again miraculously managing to avoid getting lost on the return trip! ^_^ And that was my Sunday out in Hach!

スウィートピーチサロン (Sweet Peach Salon)

5-2-5 Kitahakusandai, Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture

To-o Nippo Press Co. Hachinohe, 2nd Fl.
Parking available
Hours: 11:00-18:00, Mon., Wed.-Sun.
(Lunch Served 11:30-14:00)
Closed: Tuesdays (except National Holidays, in which case it will close on the Wed. following the holiday Tuesday)