autumn cup

so, i am taking two 'free' japanese classes these days. one is in town, and the other is in a nearby city. it is free, though we have to pay a few hundred yen per month to cover fees (usually copies) and run by volunteers. i like all the teachers, i think they're very nice, but as they are volunteers, the quality of the teachers vary. luckily (for me!) they kind of switch off, so i may only have the annoying/poor teacher every other week or so. but i'm not here to complain about free japanese lessons!

on wednesday the nakama class went to a iron tea kettle museum. it was really quite lovely, as it was mostly a tea house and garden. actually, there were two types of tea houses (and i learned about them long ago, and don't remember the details). we first went into a small museum with some iron kettles and bells on display. it was nice. i took a couple of pictures of crayon etchings from some old bells.



there was a small garden only visible from within the museum building. i liked how they made a sun shape out of iron.

small garden

small garden


then we went outside to look around. across from the museum was the room where they served matcha. just outside of that building there was a fountain for washing hands, and also to listen for something. i thought it sounded like water going down a drain, but for some reason this was remarkable.


(fellow student (korean) and her son.)

it was a beautiful day, very sunny but not hot. this wall was in front of the building where they still make iron kettles. on the other side was the garden and the tea houses. the garden was pretty, but not really planned for autumn. even the maple leaves were a drab brown color, no reds or yellows to be seen anywhere! there were a few mums, but nothing extraordinary.

garden wall, autumn sky

then, into the garden.

into the garden

tea house

the tea houses were for display only, we weren't allowed to go inside this one at all.

mossy garden

tied-up rock

i don't know the significance of this rock tied up with rope, though i wanted to ask...

view of tea house

the view from outside the tea house, looking at the viewing pond and the other tea house (which is on the right. the building straight ahead is someone's house, outside of the garden.)

viewing the tea house

autumn flower

island in the pond

the island in the viewing pond.

bridge to the island


rest house

after going around the garden, we went to the second tea house. we could go inside, but first i had to go to the rest room. outside of the museum, i found these stacked buckets to be interesting.


then, inside (and outside) the tea house.


pretty carving

pretty view

along the tea house

then we had matcha in another building (as i mentioned above.)

sweets before matcha

sweets before matcha.


my matcha. it was ok. i neither love nor hate matcha, so i didn't mind it. afterward, we went up the street to another museum which had more iron kettles and bells on display. then half of our group went back to the community center in nakama, and a few of us went to lunch, which was up the hill from the tea houses and garden. the view was amazing, and the food was really great (i had the tempura set. yum!)

that was last wednesday. on friday, i had another outing with the munakata class. we decided to go to a soba making "class". basically we would make the soba, then it would be cooked and we would eat it. i don't particularly like noodles, but i was the only one who wasn't interested in going (and i think our other option, though free, was in fukutsu--if i'm remembering correctly, it would have been a sweets making factory. but too far away for most members of the class), so we decided to do the soba thing. the "class" is very near my house, so that was a bonus! i didn't take any photos, though, because my hands were otherwise occupied. my verdict on the noodles? they were tasteless, though the dashi was nice (and not too fishy tasting!) they also provided some okazu, which was mainly oily things, or fishy things, and there wasn't any rice so it was kinda bleh! for most of us. ah well, it was a lot of fun. and, i found a jack-o-lantern pumpkin in the gift shop, so now i have a pumpkin to carve!