Was my last full weekend in Japan. I got my bus ticket for Fukuoka, where Im going to share a hotel room with Rebecca, Texas Chick, and then go home and see my darlings and some other too. Satrurday we went searching for Green Sand Beach. Barbara from Economics told me about it (as the wife of an IBM employee who lives here with her children and is familair with the area), and shes fairly knowledgable. Unfortunalty its far far away and the buses didnt even go there. The trains did but at the cost of 5000 yen. So we were like, noes, but the English speaking infobooth at Eki Mae (Train station) people gave us another fun idea to do. For 980 yen we could take a boat ride to this island, and take a trip to the onsen. You know, the strip down and be naked place? Well, by gender anyways. Unfortunatly, it was raining. Really raining. Like hard core. We walked about two kilometers in the chill and saw a beach resort that had been closed since the typhoon that came a bit around the same time as when we flew in. Lots of sand everywhere. It was interesting. After a romping walk in the chillled rain we set upon the onsen. The water was hot and I stayed five minutes in the sauna (which is more intense than American saunas). I also took an experimental stay in one of the barrel deep tubs. But that was an excersize in, I hate you. As in, when i went in, the displaced water went over the sides, and kept going over there. I could feel the women listening to the (apprently)fat American’s water just going and going and going over the side. And in the end i didn’t even stay in there for long. The water was too hot. This onsen was too damn hot! Atakai yo! Some of the other ones Ive been too have always had different water heat levels; this was just all around hot. No wonder I was lightheaded by the end of my visit. We toured the gift shop which was reasonably priced as apposed to so much of the rest of the omiyagi (gift) shops Ive been too. I bought Mochi. I hate mochi but this one was good. Biwa mochi, which is a sort of summer citrus. It was a three pack and i gave one to my host moms parents and grandmother when we went for dinner there later on. I also gave one to Kou-host fathers-’s mother when she came over and had a parting gift for me. Ino! The 2007 Chinese Zodiac is the boar! But Im getting ahead of myself. After the giftshop we wandered around, waiting for the boat to come around and take us back. The weather was attoricous. All the rain, and the rain, and cold rain. Maybe on Wensday we’ll go back and try to see the other half of the island to where they have cooled lava flows. Sunday was Mochi mashing day. Mochi is pretty much pulverized rice. At one of the local elementry schools, they had set up the fire places outside. There were many many people. After a long winded speech (honestly, it was), and some more speeches, we went outside. The old fashioned cookeries were set up. Cooking on a fire pit makes it take a while to cook the rice and imo, sweet potato. In the meantime, we bonded with the children. I broke the ice by showing off my crazy Rirakuma cell phone straps. I have a large amount of *crap* hanging off my keitadenwa. I plan to transfer it to my American cell phone when I come back. My cell phone strap collection rivals that of Japanese girls and thats saying something. The kids adored how much stuff I had on my phone and we were able to communicate over the cute bonanza of my phone. Me, Raymond, and Yetang took turns being a mashing trio, and later on I gave Yetang one of my Rirakuma phone strap teddies. I mean, later on I quickly had Raymond win me some new ones at Taito Gaming Station where we plaid an expensive hour of Billards. Afterwards there was a barbeque at one of the local prominents home. Mori san and the Togitsu International Circle of friends. It was a who’s who of local celebrities for a few few people and gaijin students. We had a national athlete, a five star chef, my host dad (ha), one of the largest land owners in Kyuushu, and this guy whose travlled to over 30 countries and enjoyed Germany the best. He spoke English very well, and lived in Kingston for a month a few years ago. There was meat at the party. Real meat. And the food was like school festival food. Yakisoba, which I love, and many many other foods. But unfortunatly, since the barbeque took place in the area where you can park about 4 cars… with no walls, it was windy and cold. And it alternatively hailed, briefly snowed, and rained. One side would be raining while the other did not. It was fearsome. There was a buffet line at the industrial sized grill and the mini heater. Oh yes. After a bit we did leave, Ray, Yiten, and I, for the bus downtown. We had fun going downtown in a warm warm place like the bus. Taito, then some crane games, and book shopping and quiet reflection on our last week. Good times, slowly closing to an end…
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