I woke up around 7am on Saturday, had a shower, and lounged on the couch and read cookbooks. I'm not kidding when I say she has shelves and shelves of cookbooks...desserts, chocolate, herbs, pizza, soup, vegetables...yummy.
We had a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, tea, and fruit. After a wonderful lazy morning, we left at 1:30pm for the annual Bluegrass Festival that they attend. We stopped at the convience store for some lunches, and took a long drive up, out of Oita and into the mountains.
Convenience stores in Japan are so much more convenient than those in Canada! At a 'Convi' in Japan, you can get socks, a shirt, toothbrush, drinks, snacks, food, healthy food! Sushi, bananas, pasta, rice, salads. Believe it or not, you could eat quite healthy on a regular basis, just buying at the Convi!
We setup some tarps (in Japan, you don't sit on the grass on blankets, but on tarps) and ate our lunch. The weather was playing games and raining off and on, so we huddled under a cover for a bit while they setup, and for the first few performers. After it finished spitting rain, it got quite hot. One of the bands, that Debbie and Katsunori knew from the year before, had only been able to bring two members. Somehow (I'm not really sure how...they were talking and we were nodding and suddenly - ), we were going to sing with them. Katsunori was playing guitar, and Debbie, Misa and I were singing. We held a little practice session and got ourselves in order to sing Amazing Grace, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, and Power In The Blood.
After our practice, we enjoyed the music until it was our turn to go up. The festival was situated in a grassy field, with a tent set up selling drinks and food, and the small grassy stage on the other side. It was very relaxing to lay on the grass and listen to music, alternately napping and clapping to the beat. Pretty soon, it was our turn...
Taka-San introduced the band, and explained that they were short members and had recruited us - he introduced us as 'The Sweet Poison Chicks'. We got a good laugh, then he changed it to the 'Sweet Potion Chicks'. He also mentioned that I was from Osaka, and had convinced me to say the few words I know that Osaka-ians say....which the audience also found very amusing and got a good laugh from. We sang our songs - in the middle of Power In The Blood, Taka-San said, "Dance, Stephanie, dance!", because I had been dancing while we practiced. So...I did a little jig. Felt kind of silly, but it was super fun!
The festival ended at 10pm, but we hung out until midnight. We grouped under the small shelter, and played and sang... I think there was one of every string instrument! 3 acoustic guitars, a mandolin, a banjo, a bass, a dobro...we sang funny songs (mostly English), and old hymns. It's been a while since I listened to or sang hymns.
There was something about the silence of the night, excepting our voices and the music from the instruments. The breeze, the calm - it was peaceful. I could have sat and sang hymns, listening to the music, forever. I realized how much I love hymns, and how long it has been since I've sang them!
Finally (Akira, Misa, and myself were falling asleep), we wrapped it up at midnight. Got home, crashed immediately...exhausted, but perfectly happy.