Woke up in a bed much stiffer than I’m used to back home, but maybe that’s just the effects of such a long day of traveling yesterday. I went upstairs to breakfast where I met Anaïs and Amberly, the students from France and Canada, and the other Rotex girl named Mai, who is twenty years old and studied in South Carolina several years ago. They are all quick to laugh and I can already tell we’re going to have a fun orientation. Mr. Ohtake-San is the owner of the cabin and he and Mrs. Matsuba-San, the Tochigi district Rotary Youth Coordinator, have an awesome schedule set out for us. I went straight to the window to see Mt. Fuji, 富士 山、but unfortunately it was rather overcast so we couldn’t make it out mere kilometers to the west of the cabin.
The cottage is quite nice, three floors with a nice wrap around porch on the second level. Max and I have a downstairs room and Simon to joined us this afternoon. It is not a lake cabin like we’d call it back in the states. It’s more of a mountain home, situated in the hills around the lake. This afternoon the gang loaded into the cars and we were taken to a cool area of Yamanka town where there are “Eight Tiny Seas”, more like koi ponds really but we had fun tossing fish food into the water and watching the underwater fights ensue.
We ate Soba for lunch and were taught the “correct way” to eat it: slurping the noodles down with lots of noise. You’d hate it Mom, a whole restaurant full of slurps and smacks! So naturally, I fit right in. We then went to a grocery store where they bought food for our meals back home and us students bought a box of Japanese Ice Cream Popsicles to share. Before heading home we stopped at a miso store where we got to try the different flavors of miso they had made that day. Miso appears to be a Japanese staple, but I’m fine with that. It tastes sweeter here than what I’ve had back home and with a little soy sauce on top it can be quite good.
The evening was spent welcoming Simon and going to a Karaoke bar. Matsuba-San has already fallen in love with me and she brought me up on stage to sing me a Japanese 1990-something pop song involving the English lines, “I’m just a women, and I’ve fallen for you.” We did have quite a bit of fun though, leafing through an enormous book of songs that they have on hand. We ended up singing some Journey, Black Eyed Peas, Shakira, and finally the song, “Doomo Arigatoo Mr. Roboto.” A fitting song to end the night on.