We went to Nihonmatsu Shi recently.  Nihonmatsu Shi is translated as Nihonmatsu City, but I think that is being generous.  It’s definitely more of a town, IMO.  It is a little south of Fukushima City, between Fukushima City and Koriyama City.  Our purpose in visiting Nihonmatsu was to see their famed Kiku Ningyo.  Kiku=Chrysanthemum  Ningyo=Doll   So what are you imagining now?  Chrysanthemum dolls?  What image does that put in your head?  I was anxious to find out what Kiku Ningyo were, exactly.

I told my husband that we were going, and he said, “DS (Our son) won’t want to see them.”  I said, “I know.”  He said, “DS won’t want to go.”  I said, “I don’t care.”  This was all in a whisper so that darling son would not hear our plans and find some reason to back out.  In truth, darling son did enjoy the adventure.  No, he did not care for the kiku ningyo, but he did enjoy the food and the fight.  (More about the fight later.)

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We have arrived at Nihonmatsu Station. And our first glimpse of the chrysanthemums.

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Outside Nihonmatsu station.

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We took a shuttle bus to the castle, where the kiku ningyo are displayed.

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There they are!  Kiku Ningyo!  Chrysanthemum Dolls!  My Japanese teacher told me she visited Nihonmatsu forty years ago to see them, so they’ve been displayed during autumn for a long time.

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Lots and lots and lots of chrysanthemums on display.  More than I am showing here.

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Isn’t it gorgeous?

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I don’t think I’m in Kansas anymore!

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They showed dolls which represented portions of Nihonmatsu’s history.

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They had an English handout explaining the history….but I think I threw it away.  Oops.  I’m not a big saver of pamphlets.

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I love the autumn colors.

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I think this is from some sort of boys’ battle? Darn it, I’m not sure.

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This display shows how the kiku ningyo are created.

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The petting zoo…My son liked this.

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Fried tofu….Yum.  They had lots of different kinds of delicious food, and it was a real festival atmosphere.  My son liked eating the yummy food.

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We took a bus back to the station, but there wasn’t much there.

Okay….the FIGHT.  This is what happened.

We were sitting and waiting for the shuttle bus to arrive to take us back to the station.  Meanwhile elderly men were guiding traffic.  Suddenly an old man started yelling at a driver.  (Of course, we look to see what is going on.)  The driver, who was rather tough-looking and about thirty, yelled back.  They yelled at each, then the young thug got out of his car.  “Oyaji!”  “Boya!”  “Bakayarou!”  They continued yelling at each other.

My son said to me, “What if he has a gun?”  I said, “This isn’t America.”  LOL

Then the shuttle bus arrived, forcing the driver to get in his car and move on.  That was the end of the fight.  The most exciting part of the day.

Later, my son was telling my mom about the fight in English:  “And I heard the word ASSHOLE!”  I thought that was funny that he translated the swear words.  I think forty years from now, he may not remember the kiku ningyo, but he will definitely remember the fight.  😉