Sunday, October 16, 2005

Ainu Class

I spent most of the afternoon today being very lost.

I picked up my friend in the next town over, and we went into Asahikawa to attend an Ainu sewing and language class. Unfortunately, neither of us really knew where it was, so we spent at least an hour driving around trying to find the building it was in. I only tried to go the wrong way down a one way street once, but I really racked up some huge gaijin points in the process.

We did eventually find the class, and I'm glad we did. The class was really more like a sewing circle and chat session, and I learned some really beautiful Ainu patterns. They actually remind me of Inuit patterns, and the languages may also be related. The language class was quite interesting too. We listened to some tapes of an Ainu legend, and everyone tried to figure out what it meant. I mostly tried to figure out what the Japanese people were speaking (and the kanji they were writing) was about. So I got to be linguistically lost too (more so than usual).

The best part was all the food they brought. My friend and I had gone for Indian food between classes, so we were already quite full, but they had made some (maybe traditional Ainu?) food to munch on during class. It was like Indian fry bread, but made with pumpkin and rice. Really sweet and tasty -- I'll have to find out how to make it (it would be a great alternative to pumpkin pie with my lack of oven).

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