Cottage life with music and drinks

My drinking companions who happen to be amateur musicians
During the golden week, I invited my drinking companions of Suginami Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) to my cottage in Amagi for the second time. This time, we agreed to play string quartet in Izu.

Last time we were three violinists and a flutist and did not play anything because we could hardly find music suitable for this combination of instruments. However, a cello player joined our drinking circle recently and I switched to viola in SPO after the last regular concert, and we suddenly found that we were in the position to play string quartet during our stay in Amagi. We then chose Dvorak's America op.96 and Borodin's second quartet for our quartet debut.

Two local sake bottles: Arabashiri (left) and Ike (right) - Both sake are dry and delicious, but the price for a bottle is only 2,100 yen (22$)

My friends wanted to stay two nights instead of one as we did last time, because it was too hectic. They simply wanted to relax more deeply and play music sufficiently. However, two nights and three days stay of guests was a novelty for me and I became slightly scared, because I alone had to take care of five people - four players and one full-time drinker - including transportation, food, cleaning of bed clothes and garbage disposal. They promised that they would do everything to lighten my burden. But, I knew from experience that I should not believe such words. Anyhow, I decided to take up this challenge.

For transportation I rent a station wagon so that I could transport five people, their bags and their instruments including cello. For 48 hours the fee of a Toyota Isis was some 24,000 yen and much to my relief its driving was unexpectedly easy. After having got together in front of the ticket gate of Ito railway station, we headed for lunch at Tanaka. Over lunch we discussed the schedule of our stay and I realized that all friends were not interested in sightseeing but wanted to stay all the time in the cottage to "enjoy the mountain air". But, this meant that I had to prepare two times dinner, two times breakfast and one time lunch!

After lunch we went to a supermarket for shopping. I had already prepared "nanban zuke" of horse mackerel and we bought some pre-cooked foods. For lunch I proposed curry rice and of course nobody opposed to it. Thus our stay in Amagi started.

I had bought two kinds of local sake Arabashiri and Ike in 1.8l bottles. In the first night we drank one bottle of sake and some additionally shochu and red wine and enjoyed playing music. The weather was fine and comfortably warm.

A shnap shot on a rock

On the second evening, we enjoyed "shichirin" barbecue on the terrace.
The second day was extremely fine. The day started with a stroll in the woods after breakfast. A few walking courses were recently made by the cottages administration. For weak urban people, steep slopes seemed to be a hardship. However, after about 30 minutes walk they returned to the paved way without accident.

I did not need much time in preparing curry sauce, cooked rice and salad, and the rest of curry sauce was again used at night in combination with spaghetti. Spaghetti with curry sauce is rather unusual in Japan, but tasty.
While I was cooking others were enjoying violin duo with cello by Couprin. It was a nice background music for the cook.
For dinner, I arranged a barbecue using shichirin - a traditional small cooking oven made of diatomaceous earth. As I started to use it about a year ago for grilling dried fish at parties, I accumulated experience. Therefore, this time I arranged chairs around the oven, so that everybody could watch the advancement of grilling and benefit from its heat also in the cold evening after sunset. I also decided to grill not only fishes but also sausages and potatoes and this was a success in two ways; everybody was happy about grilling diverse things in an open air and I could use up all leftovers in the fridge.

After the evening party, we played Jenga and bet small amount on the play. We were so exited and nearly forgot the time passing.