This Sunday my wife and I went to a recreational spot situated parallel to the Kakogawa River （加古川の川）that's about 10 minutes from our house. We were to meet several friends and have a potluck get-together out on the field near the river. When we arrived no one was there. It turned out one of the gathers was running late due to the train being late. So we waited for a few minutes, and eventually they all showed up in a vehicular caravan, just like you'd see a line of camels marching through a desert in the Middle East.
One by one they entered the park, but the parking lot was pretty much full by this time. We managed to snag a nice spot near the entrance so we could easily exit when the partying was over but the rest of the entourage had to park along a curved section of the lot.
They quickly disembarked and we were setting up tents, tables and getting our spot situated. The men did the heavy lifting, and the women went to work spreading out the potluck pabulum. It was all up and over in less than 20 minutes.
It turned out to be a very excellent day for an outdoor event. The sun was out in full force like Luke Skywalker and his light saber. It was an idyllic day, roughly 22-23 degrees, brief gusts of spring-like wind, and a few whispy clouds much like the tafts of hair sliding across a bald man's brow.
The food was awesome. There were spring rolls, fried chicken, dips, sushi, chips, cookies, cakes, Chinese dishes like sweet and sour pork and all manners of side dishes. I personally whipped up two batches of vegetarian Mexican cornbread. Why two batches you ask? Well it's because one I make for the whimps who can't handle spicey food whilst the other one is for those who like to have welts and blisters on their tongue. My wife mixed up a fine spinach dip, that I latered munched on when we were home. It was a heavenly mix of great food and tasty snacks.
Everyone got on rather well, there were a few beer drinkers in the mix, unfortunately for me I couldn't imbibe due to driving to the location. There were about 20 members who joined the party and of those about 6 were non-Japanese. Most everyone spoke in a mixture of Japanese and English. A couple of times we were lost in translation, especially a word that vexed even a few Japanese-English teachers: 肩が狭い (kata ga semai) which literally translates as narrow shoulders. But the meaning is more along the lines of "to feel small in or with something." As in, I screw up at work, and all of a sudden I start to feel small around my co-workers. There were other words and expressions but I have since forgotten them.
One member broke out with a kite and started flying it high above our tent. He got it as high as his spool of string would allow, which was roughly around 200-300 meters. This lured an old man to our group. He was also flying a kite nearby and had noticed that there were foreigners where we were "potlucking" it. So he moseyed over to our group and started chatting up the kite flyer. He stayed for a few minutes but before he sauntered off he gave one of the female foreigners a four leaf clover.