I just got back from meeting a wonderful family named the Kobayashi’s. They are the owners of a local (for lack of a better word) “fish store” that raises, cleans, cooks, packages, and sells various fish delicacies which are bought by city folks on their countryside outings. The picture on the right is of their store's sign lit up at night. As a side not, I find it funny that all of these weird local fish dishes like salted Sweetfish, grilled freshwater eel, and dried salmon are things that people in larger cities long for. Anyway, the Kobayashi’s offered for me to come to their store anytime I wanted when I was feeling bored. I was thrilled at the invitation and despite the heavy rain today, biked across town to their shop. It’s a “two song” bike ride. I have begun to measure things by the number of songs I listen to on my iPod rather than how far it is (but I’m figuring it’s just over 2 kilometers, so not too far).
The family consists of the father, mother, a daughter who is a first year in high school, and a son who is in 6th grade. The family grandparents also live in town and along with a (surprisingly large) staff, help run the shop.
This picture is of Mrs. Kobayashi and one of the store employees. I lent a helping hand in packaging dried Ayu Sweetfish, rolling individual Ayu, and taping Ayu packages (can you tell they love Ayu out here! Haha). But around 5:30 Mrs. Kobayashi asked me if I wanted to go with her and bring the two kids to the store. I of course agreed and we drove first to their house in the middle of Ogawa town where we picked up their son before stopping off at the bus stop to pick up their daughter coming home from school. They were hilarious to talk with, as both know pretty decent English for their ages. I think I smiled the whole car ride.
Another view of the shop. Plus there's a large kitchen in the back, and an outdoor area that wasn't open today because of the rain
On our way back from the bus stop we stopped at a random gas station where a dog had just recently delivered a batch of 9 puppies. I hadn’t realized how much I missed dogs until I was holding a tiny, week-old pup in my hands again. As I stood there I promised myself that I would have a dog as soon as I’m living on my own. They can always make me smile, and merely having a companion on lonely nights is such a simple pleasure. After returning to the store, the four of us basically chatted about odds and ends for about an hour. I had to be back home by 6:30 so I braved the storm once again and made it back in time for a delicious tempura dinner. PS Tempura has grown to be a new favorite of mine.
This post was quite, quite random, yet I am feeling happy and hopeful about having something to do whenever I'm bored at the Sato's, so you can't blame me. I am determined to go back as often as I can and hopefully stay well connected to the Kobayashi family in the weeks to come.