Thursday, October 27, 2005

A picnic

A couple of wks back , we went on a picnic to the area around Mt fuji. Now this was a very iffy affair. We did not know till the previous night , whether or not we were going at all. So , In order to not built up my hopes and then see them dashed, I'd refrained from asking my parents about the specifics of this picnic. I will expound later on why that idea has its merits. Now since I had not asked , I was not told and thus specific details like names of places would be missing. However If you do stick around you'll find my version of a travelogue and get a glimpse into how I view this world of mine.
For this picnic we had to again get up at the unearthly hour of 5:30 AM . Why do all picnics begin so darned early. We were at the embassy at 6:30 AM. Some people wisely arrived at IST (Indian stretchable time) , but we were off by 7:30 AM . GRRRRRR
Our first stop was at Shizuka. Really have no idea why we stopped here, as we had b'fast in the bus. I think we made pitstops for the oldies of the "gotta go" generation. And then we started again and stopped not till we reached the end of the road.... or so . I'd love to think. Our next stop was after we crossed into the fuji city, past hakone and all and finally got to the feet of Mt fuji. The fall colors are changing. The weather forecast said it would be rainy. I wished, they'd get it wrong for once. They did not . but what do u know. It rained only while we were in the bus. And it stopped raining each time we needed to step out. That I must say was terrific.

Notice the awesome variation in shades. We hung around
here for a while and I went justifiably nuts with my camera. There was everything a shutterbug like me could hope for and more. There were changing fall colors . There were the clouds that had descended to kiss the tree tops and then the awesome shades of blue. I've never seen the sky in Tokyo so full of color. I was in heaven and the best thing about is that I did not even have to die for it!!!

The crazy, in my own world gal, that I am , I just wondered by myself clicking away to glory. But all good things must
come to an end and so did this Pit-stop!! It went downhill from here. Dont worry, I don't mean that the day took a turn for worse , rather that this was the highest point altitude wise. We climbed down from this point onwards.
Lunch was at a restaurant-cum-bbq place. It was a potluck kind of arrangement, as we had all taken something or the other. I could have taken pics of the food, but you know how it is at Indian do's with any food involved. The food goes so fast that you can take pics of other people eating it if you wanna forego it. :)
So after lunch, while every one danced, I wandered around and took pics. This horse chestnut
and the wildflowers particularly caught my attention. They are in the wilderness and the flowers especially brought back memories of J.N.U where things just bloom. No siree. No fancy landscaping, just natural beauty in its wild abundance.
I am going to take a break from the pics and tell a funny story. My dad's assistant's daughter is a few months old. An amazingly quite child, I've not seen her cry. I've seen her only on two occasions and this picnic was the second one. Both times, I've noticed, that any body and everybody can hold her and she stays quiet. This is good for her parents cus on occasions like these they can let their hair down and really enjoy without worrying abt the little one. Some body or the other is holding her and they know she is safe. So on this day, Adi as she is called, was dressed in a gazillion layers of clothes. It was past lunchtime , and by the time , I got a turn to hold her, she looked positively miserable. So I asked a lady standing near me, If it would be ok to take some of her clothes off. She agreed and actually took her jacket off. So when I gave Adi back to her mom, I had to tell her, who had the jacket too. Adi's mom removed a few layers then but I noticed after a bit the layers were back on . Some more time later, Adi'd mom was looking for another piece of clothing. Apparently some one removed it off Adi and forgot to tell the mom.
Okie , back on track. So after lunch and when every one had their fill of the mandatory bhangra, we started again. Since my sense of direction is missing , I will not hazard a guess to where we were going. We did seem to be going down but we did take a longer time than we had taken going up so we did meander. This is when I had the opportunity to take pics of Mt Fuji. These pics were taken while we were in the bus. It was frustrating as I did not even have the window seat, and I felt like I was imposing on my neighbour. On top of that , each time I felt I could get a shot, something like a tree or
a building came in between before the actual shot could be taken. And by the time I got a clear shot again, the camera would switch off . ARRRGGHH . They say that , in a year, there are barely 15-20 days when Fuji San is clearly visible. I guess, I am going to have to make some more attempts in order to get the cliched picture of a bullet train with the FujiSan in the background.
Oh well , we were heading towards our next destination. This was a vineyard and we were going wine tasting. Yay Hic Yay. We could have gone grape picking but some thing got lost in translation. Am hoping we can do it some other time. Before we got to the actual wine tasting though, we were given a tour of the winery. We were taken through the intricacies of wine making and little known trivia of whats done with the grapes once the wine is out. Did you know the grape skin and seed remnants are dried and powdered and used as fertilizer. The whole place reeked and the elderly ladies made faces that were a sight. I still wish to live or else I'd taken the pics and posted those too :) These barrels that you see in the pics are french. Our tour guide assured us that allthough the barrels were of french origin, the wines were indeed being made on those very premises. Could not help sneaking my camera in through the fence and taking pics of the grapes. Must say this was the best I could do .
Some cosmos were growing on the premises. These are wildflowers too but currently in season and look really pretty.
And now to my story on why one must not ask too much in order to avoid disappointment. Now another embassy member had not taken that suggestion and had told his preschooler that we'd be climbing a mountain. Then this gentleman sat with us on the bus. He was really patient. I am sure he was used to it but my family was really caught unawares. So this kid who had been really quiet in the morning, asked his dad, when they'd climb the mountain. In a while. Now this kid aint dumb, he can make out that we are going down. He can see the mountains approach and recede. He knows we are not about to climb any, but man was he tenacious. From the time we finished lunch to the time we reached the embassy, this kid did not let up. It was one question again and again with varied responses from his dad. A birthcontrol commecial swimming in mah head to the fury that I am sure was brewing in my dad's head (Am I glad no one in my family reads mah blogs), am sure we covered the entire gamut of emotions. Thus ended another day of my interesting stay in Japan.


k a n u r i t e said...

heh.. this post is as interesting as all your other posts.. someone who cooks, takes awesome pictures, writes well.. you are my dream come true girl!
And the ' are we there yet' kid is always a must in every darn picnic expedition [groan.. and NO I was never one of them! :P]

SeaSwallowMe said...

lovely ramble, bilb. i loved the leisurely tone of the blog. and those photos of fuji-in-the-clouds are very nice.

tocsin said...

Why is it that every person that has ever been has to visit Fuji-san. I am beginning to think that Japan has no other mountains. I must admit it is the most symetrical looking mountain that I've ever seen.

bilbo said...

tictoc , there are plenty of mountains :P. fuji San is just the most famous. There's takao san and mitake san to name a couple of others.....

Ardra said...

am not much for travel blogs-I get lost in the geographical descriptions/details- but I enjoyed this one-

and the photgraphs were delicious!

Ashu M said...

Nicely done! Another of the places on my gigantic "to visit" list! Thanks for the excellent descriptions and photographs - second only to actually being there!

Doh said...

great writeup bilbo !
picnics .. those take me back a long long way ! sheesh
great pics too!

Fizo said...

great blog..I am glad I read it at was at such a leisurely pace..the photos as usual were interest went up a few notches when you described Adi and that Kid...looks like my lil A is a combination of the both..nowadays she goes when I just say oh yes! to anything she goes..sonch ke bolo..aiseech nai bolo ;-) [yikes I am turning into one of those oh! here is a kid story of my own whenever I listen to kids' stories :-( ]

sinusoidally said...

Came upon your blog...

Pictures are gorgeous!