In Japan, uniformity is the rule. Even holidays are generally uniform. Everyone is off at the same time clogging the roads and attractions which have to make most of their money during those few peak times and then they sit relatively dormant for the rest of the year.
Golden Week is one of those peaks. From April 29th to May 5th A LOT of Japanese people have several days off (the lucky few have all that time off) so most of the big places are chock a block full of Japanese people “relaxing” during their few days off a year.
For this reason, I have been trying to avoid going very far for this holiday and I DREAD the time when the kids get big enough to realize what I have been doing, and, they too, wish to join the pilgrimage to Disneyland or Universal Studios.
Luckily DH loves “hunting”. He follows his manly instincts to hunt via Yahoo and for the last few years he has managed to successfully find little unknown gems in the nearby area. We have ridden little trains in tunnels with glowing images made by the local kids; We have run around a labyrinth cave looking for the clues to the mystery; We have found reasonable accommodation and this year he found archery!!
After watching Brave, DD1 has convinced herself that she IS the Japanese Merida. We have the wig and dress. Daddy made her a bamboo bow and she can shoot rubber suction cup arrows pretty successfully at the target on our patio door. So when Daddy found real archery, they both got pretty excited.
I was much less excited. I can’t aim and luckily I don’t have to hunt for dinner. I was an outfielder in high school softball because I had a helluva strong arm. I could bring the ball in from way out there, but nobody knew where it was going (including me) I’d catch it and lob it in to the team. They were all on alert and ready. So here I was, about to spend my day with a dangerous weapon on a shooting range!!
We got there and they set us up with our bows, and a quiver full of arrows. I found out that I’m “left-eyed”! I didn’t know that could be, but it turns out the if I aim with my left eye I should shoot left handed! THIS may have something to do with my poor aim?!
We went to the beginner range and stood about 3m from the targets. They told us the rules, how to actually shoot and then we all had a go. After about 30 minutes we all had the hang of it. Even I was hitting the target. Notice, I said “target” and not the bull’s eye. I was still pretty thrilled.
After about an hour the big kids and the Dads went off to the trail and shot at targets while walking around the course. It was like golf with a bow instead of a club.
Meanwhile, I stayed back with DD2 and my friend decided to stay and keep me company. We were chatting and shooting as if this were so completely natural. I may have even eventually hit a bull’s eye but it was just so fun to be outside doing something so interesting that I never really noticed how I was doing.
The most amazing thing, however, was looking over and seeing the 5 year-old casually taking an arrow out of her quiver and shooting it off as if this is what all 5 year-olds do. I recently read about “50 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do” and I’m going to see if archery is on the list. I just looked and “throw a spear” is on there so archery counts. Hmmm that book looks interesting. I also found this guy’s blog. My quest has begun!