We slept in quite late (we were up late last night talking) but I was keen to check on HMAS Delica.  It was still there, but I was accosted by the shop-staff the when I went to move it.  He told me that the police would be coming shortly.  Lucky I guess…  I moved it across the road to a small supermarket so that we had time to eat breakfast/shower.

Today we were heading to a sake (rice wine) festival in Saijo City, famous for the sake produced using its clear spring waters.  Again, parking was going to be a challenge.  Even more-so once we’d seen how many people were here.  No chance of a sneaky park, all the shops had rent-a-cops working.  Luckily, we managed to get in contact with the local ALT and parked next to his apartment.

saijo sake saijo sake saijo sakeHe joined us, and we all walked towards the festival, visiting a few sake distilleries along the way (including free taste samples). The weather was holding, with occasional light rain to remind us that it could start at any minute.

saijo sakeThere was lots of festival food, including Hiroshima’s famous yaki-kaki (grilled oyster).  Risa bought one and it was huge!  I’m not a huge shellfish fan, so I saved my money.

saijo sakeWe walked around for a while, looking at shops/stalls/distilleries and headed to one that our local ALT host recommended.  There were signs about mandorin and anime.  Once again I was wrong thinking it had something to do with fruit… We’d walked into a mandolin concert that was preparing for a concert.  The hall was empty when we walked in, so there wasn’t any way to make a sneaky exit.  We sat down, and listened as they did a quick warm up medley of ‘oldies’.  By this stage the room was starting to fill up, but they sounded quite good so we waited around for a bit longer.  A sheet was handed out with music that could be requested.  I found jiburi (Ghibli Animation Studio) and had to hear it, so I requested it, but not before someone requested the oldies medley again…

The mandolin concert (by East Hiroshima Mandolin Group) was quite a surprise, and certainly not was I imagined I would be doing when I woke up this morning.

saijo sake saijo sakeWe left after they played my request, and we headed back towards the main food area where we grabbed a smoked leg of chicken.  It was ¥700, but it was delicious.  The chef/owner even came out and had a chat to us (and invited us to come visit him if /when we get to Shimane Prefecture).  Our friends were going to a ¥1300 sake nomihoudai (all-you-can-drink rice wine party) which I would have loved to join, but as a driver I had to give it a miss.  Instead, we said good-bye and battled the traffic back through Hiroshima to a michi-no-eki in the hills outside of Hiroshima.

It seemed quite remote and isolated, and it was until people started doing laps along the mountain-pass that we were parked next to.  Up and back, up and back, over and over…  I’m getting old, because I wished they would shut the hell up so I could sleep (though, I do wish that I could be racing up a mountain too…)