September has really gone by in a flash, and I must say it has been a fun and fulfilling month to boot. Not only did I properly start teaching English classes, which so far have been going pretty well – and I only seem to be remembering the names of the rowdy students 😉 – I also got to explore a bit more of Hiroshima:
September 23rd was the Japanese national holiday that celebrates the autumn equinox. It is also the day that the annual Fude Matsuri (brush festival) is held in the quiet town of Kumano, which is about an hour’s bus ride east from Hiroshima City. The festival celebrates everything to do with calligraphy brushes and it is held in Kumano because the town produces up to 80% of Japan’s brushes.
I was fortunate enough to go to the festival with my fellow Saffer ALT, Kelly, and we spent the day among thousands of calligraphy brushes, festival food and performances by the local school and calligraphy masters. It was my first real festival in Japan and it was amazing!
My second visit to the island of deer and temples was just as exciting and amazing as the first time I went there back in November 2013. This time it was incredibly busy and hot, but it was great to experience the island in late summer and try some of the local food:
Ever since arriving in Japan, I have gone without touching, holding, stroking, or playing with a cat or dog. Even though Onomichi is full of cats, they are feral, and run away at the sight of you. So the other day I realised that I needed to take some action before I start going stir-crazy from lack of animal contact – and it doesn’t help that I am desperately missing my cats and dogs who are at home in South Africa.
I did some research and found a cat cafe in Hiroshima City, and it turned out to be a really great place (I will definitely return again soon). It was very clean, no smell, the cats were in excellent condition, and there were so many places for them to go – including a section where they could escape from crazy cat people and sleep at leisure without being disturbed.
Even though we arrived at the cafe just as it had opened for the day, it was already quite busy with at least 8 other people there. Fortunately we were seated right next to one very old-looking cat (though he is only 5 years old), called Musashi-kun, who was more than happy to have me stroke him. Obviously we were allowed to walk around the cafe, but our ‘designated seats’ where we were served our free drink, was were Musashi-kun was, so I was perfectly content to just sit there with him 🙂
Eventually I did get up and try to ‘meet’ some of the other cats, but as typical cats are, most of them were more interested in watching birds, sleeping, eating, or playing with the other cats. But moving on: I will now inundate you with cat pictures!
I hope you enjoyed my picturesque highlights of September 🙂
And on that final furry note:
Official Onomichi Cat Count: 16
P.S. As much as I wanted to, I didn’t add the cats in the cat cafe to my ‘official cat count’, in case you were wondering 😉