Tuesday, 10 May 2011


I have often watched the news at major holidays and marvelled at the 100+km build up of traffic on the Tomei (Tokyo-Nagoya expressway) as the holiday traffic is at its pinnacle. This time there was no marvelling - we were part of it. The first 100 or so km to Niigata we travelled at between 40 and 50 km an hour and we were moving much faster than the cars.... After the Nagano turn off things improved, and we met the very patiently waiting Yamashitas near Niigata station.
It was lovely, as usual to see them. We stayed the night on the condition Lily & Masa went out for a very overdue dinner together. And Hiro was quite chuffed by Reo opted for him to read a book to them rather than me.  Lily and Masa introduced Hiro to Wii....    on the bright side if Hiro can cope with deprivation, it would make for an easy Christmas present...
One of Niigata's claims to fame is being a senbei (rice cracker) capital, and much to the delight of Hiro (and Masa), Lily suggested a visit to a senbei factory. The array of senbei was mind boggling. They had a 'taiken' or hands on part of the factory - something that seems to be prioritized in Japanese primary school education. We could bake and season senbei and with the collection we had, there was no chance of us going hungry as we pushed on to Odate via Tsuroka.
A tobacco hut at a rest stop on the expressway - on the northern
roads the smoking area is usually outdoors.
Making senbei

Hands on

Every company needs an avatar

A shrine to the senbei


Lily said...

It was awesome to see you guys. I think you shouldn't buy him the wii its my bribe to have you guys come here more often :)

Cecilia said...

I am wondering if Hiro will have convinced himself that I want one to the point where he goes out to get one for me...

I never need a bribe to go there, though a magic wand on the expressway might be nice!