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Coffee and Cars

Well, I must say it has been a hectic few days since I've arrived. After twenty more or less grueling hours of travel (though a surprise business class upgrade on my flight mitigated the aches of sitting on a plane for an extended period of time somewhat) I finally arrived in Kanazawa. As I'm sure some of you have seen on facebook already, my host mom is a prolific facebook poster, and several photos of me (often accompanied by food) are already online.

This weekend several events collided. It was the annual Hyakumangoku Festival in Kanazawa--bringing with it several events I've been to in past years--and my host mom's friend, Ma-kun, was visiting from Osaka. Since it was his first time in Kanazawa, we went to most of the parade events, like the lantern event on Friday (where they're floated down the river) and the main parade on Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday evening I returned to curio (where I spent many an afternoon last summer) for their open mic event--which was also conceivably for my research.

By the time I arrived, the shop was already crowded. Sol and Yuko had pushed the chairs and tables off to the side and were setting up speakers. Some people were seated indoors, while others had gathered outside (the weather was nice) to chat and drink beer.

There was a really interesting mix of people assembled. There were many ex-pats, who all knew each other, and some native locals. Everyone--Japanese and foreign-- seemed to know each other, and there were many groups of people happily chatting away. There are few places in Japan where I've seen such a mix of people--at least a mix that was this harmonious.

I stayed for a few bands (I would have stayed longer, but the bus routes stop early here and I needed to make my way home). The last one I saw was Sol and his friend Dean on the harmonica and guitar, respectively, playing some really good covers of blues songs. I hadn't even considered the harmonica as a valid instrument for an open mic, so that goes to show me.

Today, Sunday, my host family and Ma-kun drove to Noto and spent the day with the Kanazawa Roadsters Club. (Initially when they said "roadster" it was pronounced "roadosuta" so I thought it was "Road Stars"...) Basically it's a group of people who like cars and driving and spend time together, from what I gathered. Everyone showed up in convertibles. Ma-kun had driven up from Osaka in his new car as well, so I got to sit in the passenger seat for the day.

After gathering at a rest stop about an hour away, we drove to the Noto airport where a car event was taking place. Anyone with a "cool" car drove to the airport parking lot to show it off. There was a car called a "Knight Rider" and a car that looked like the one from Back to the Future, and other random old cars.

I'm the first to admit I know nothing about cars and mostly appreciate them for their exterior aesthetic. This was my favorite:

There was also one that looked like the Cat Bus from the movie My Neighbor Totoro:

From there, we drove around to random scenic spots, mostly on the coast of the prefecture.

This was a rock that was supposed to be good luck for lovers. There was a small rack where you could fasten locks (like that bridge in Paris) and ring a symbolic bell.

Just a panoramic view of the coast.

Here's my little otter again...

By the time we returned to Kanazawa it was time for dinner (even though we left the house at 6am...). I met a lot of new people who were all very kind and inclusive. Didn't learn anything new about cars, though.


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