Nothing in particular to write about today. We took one of the birds' eggs our a few days ago to hold it up to a light and see if anything was growing inside. We couldn't see anything, but just as I was about to put it back, I thought I felt something move. I held it up to my ear and could hear a distinct "cheep cheep" sound. It hatched two days ago and everything seems to be going well. Somehow the Awii and Klee know just what to do to take care of the baby, and from the brief glimpses we get of it when they come out to eat (although usually they take turns - one of them is always sitting on the eggs and baby) it appears that the baby is growing bigger. Today we couldn't resist so we shooed the parents away from their nest and took the baby out to play for a few seconds. It sounds rude, but it looks a bit like your average little old lady that we see walking down the street here.
Tomoe went to a special village "ladies club" meeting today where they they made oyakai (bread balls with some veggies inside). Tomoe was hoping to learn some good "traditional" techniques, but it turns out that they just use all kind of processed "instant" oyaki powders and lots of sugar to cover up the natural flavors of the veggies that are put inside. This is, of course, because that is how most of the people were raised and taught in the 60s and 70s, when "convenience products" became more available. There are, however, a few older women in the village who still know how to make an oyaki with raw ingredients. Still, some of the neighbors used to using processed, pre-packaged, additive-filled seasonings and what-not, are showing a bit of interest in Tomoe's "revolutionary" methods of pickling and preserving foods over the winter.
Today we take the Pug (our car) to a new friend who lives up in the mountains a bit. He is an ex-race car driver with all the tools and know-how to fix the strange squeaky sound that has been coming from the left front wheel. It turns out that the break-pads were completely bare. I mean COMPLETELY. The sound was from metal on metal. Its a wonder we are still alive. We left the car there and will have to do any commuting by bike until the parts we ordertomorrow come in.
Although we haven't needed the car for the past two weeks, we have a meeting with the mayor tomorrow (to discuss how we can help the township and what support they could give us). I have no doubt that if we did not fear for our lives, we would have driven the Pug to city hall. Now that there is no such option available, we feel fine to ride our bikes the 30 (very scenic) minutes it will take. I am glad the Pug is lame. It woke me up to the obvious fact that we have come to rely too much on driving. I mean, we used to bike 45-50 minutes one way to and from work in Tokyo (not so scenic), and in Hakuba I rode 30 minutes back and forth on much steeper roads. Somehow, having a car makes us lazy. Further proof that cars (even the Pug) are evil by nature.
The photos of the baby bird are not the greatest, but we are reluctant to pull him/her out just for a photo-op. Unfortunately, we planned poorly and built their nest in a way that is very difficult to peek into.
The other photos are just random photos of country life - our neighbor making nozawana tsukemono (pickled regional leafy thing), the hole we dug to store all our daikon (big white radish) over the winter, and a lot of hakusai (Chinese cabbage) drying outside a local farm house.