A bit of a dud…

I'm not sure what you'd call this...

I’m not sure what you’d call this…

I had actually been somewhat of a roll. Let’s see… on the previous three Sundays, I had spent time in London (going to France, coming back from France, and in transit on the way to Cambridge). While this weekend wasn’t going to feature any time in the capital, it was shaping up to be fun. If all went well, I was going to meet up with Genba, a dude I met during the time I worked in Yamagata Prefecture. He was planning to take the train from Birmingham to Leeds and we would hang. Sounds good 🙂

Well, it's a bit "raw"

Well, it’s a bit “raw”

But before Sunday, it was time to chow down. I had been invited to a raw food party in Rawdon – which is officially a part of Leeds, I guess. But a bit of a trek from the city centre although accessible by bus. Anyway, why pass on an opportunity to meet new people and try some delicious food? So Friday evening, I hopped off on a bus headed to seemingly the middle of nowhere and quite fittingly, didn’t know where the hell I was exactly.

(Seriously, why can’t the buses in Leeds be like the buses in London? On London’s buses, the names of the next stops are displayed inside of the buses – which is obviously helpful for those not familiar with a certain area).

Well, I knew I was in Rawdon but I wasn’t exactly sure how to get to Steve’s place (Steve being the dude hosting the party). So after walking around Rawdon like a headless chicken in the rain (not a downpour, I might) for too long, a woman named Mariesa (whom I would find out was the co-host) directed me to the correct place.

As for the food, I can’t say I was crazy about it as raw food might not be my thing. But it was nice as always to meet some new people (Interestingly enough, Steve told me he has never voted, owned a car or a mobile phone). Steve and Mariesa host a raw food party the last Friday of evening month, so that might become a habit. Or at the very least, I’ll know where to go next time.

It's that time of year

It’s that time of year

But for me, the highlight of the weekend was supposed to be meeting up with Genba, who was planning to arrive at Leeds at noon. Except that he felt ill yesterday (Sunday) morning, so he was unable to come. Anyway, there was something interesting in Leeds yesterday. You may know that the year of the horse is upon us. In order words, Chinese New Year is upon us. If I’m not mistaken, the official start of Chinese New Year was January 31 but celebrations were held in Leeds yesterday.

So wanting to get something out of the weekend and wanting to meet up with someone I hadn’t seen in awhile, I asked Kotomi if she was free and interested in coming along. She answered yes to both questions, so we went to Leeds City Hall to enjoy the festivities…

Which didn’t always feel Chinese. Some of the performers on stage partook in rumba and breakdancing, activities which seem very Chinese. In addition, members of the Baltica Community School of Russian Language & Art performed a ballet dance. But members of the Chinese Community Association performed a Chinese Lion Dance, which seems to be very common at Chinese New Year celebrations and always cool. And a Chinese Poem recital was staged, in addition to a tai chi session.

It was nice to get up close and personal to him...

It was nice to get up close and personal to him…

But other than the vegetarian egg rolls that I ate, the celebration was rather disappointing. Chinese New Year celebrations are probably best served being outdoors. Oh well, not every weekend can be exciting.

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