if japan had a national flower, then it would probably be the chrysanthemum. oh sure, everyone knows about the cherry blossom. but chrysanthemums are a part of the japanese history, too. just don't ask me how.

so, i took hiroyuki to munakata taisha yesterday. it's a shrine here in the city, and they're having an annual chrysanthemum 'festival'. actually, i don't think it's a festival, more like a cultural exhibit. local (and not so local) chrysanthemum groups (say, a chrysanthemum society or local elementary school) put their flowers on display. some of them are just beautiful. some plants were trained to grow on tree stumps. and others grew on frames that made them look like big palm leaves (made of flowers) or umbrellas. of course, i didn't have my camera with me. i hope to go back and take some pictures.

i put hiro in his sling and toted him around looking at the flowers. one old man stopped me and asked 'baby?' and i answered 'hai'. then he asked 'two months?' so i said 'yes.' we contiued with him asking me simple questions in english and my simple answers. ('you live here?' 'yes.' 'munakata?' 'yes.') actually a very relevent topic to my life at the moment, since one e-mail group i belong to and one discussion board i frequent have both addressed this: when someone speaks to you in english and you answer in japanese. with this situation, though, since 'baby' is also used in japanese, i though the man was originally talking to me in japanese. but after the other english questions, i answered in english. he was a nice old man, and he didn't bother me after a few questions. as i was leaving the shrine, a lady asked me (in japanese) if i was carrying a baby. i said yes, and showed her. well, her cries of 'kawaii!' (cute!) made other people want to see, and i ended up with a small crowd of people (seriously, there were about ten people trying to take a look!) exclaiming about how kawaii hiro was. i was ok with it, but i just know that this will probably continue on for years. i hope it doesn't bother hiro too much.