Some parts of being a Rotarian are apparently universal. For example, waking up early in order to pick up garbage along the highway whilst braving on and off wind/rain storms. Maybe it’s just my 70-something year old host dad, but Japanese men seem to be the epitome of litterbugs! They have no hesitation in chucking an empty can, plastic bottle, or candy wrapper right out the window. Personally I find it incredibly lazy and rude, but I guess it’s just part of being an old Japanese man. They seem to have this attitude of, “Oh, someone else will clean up my garbage/dishes/laundry.” So although we only cleaned up a 2-kilometer path, our bags were full! It’s a real shame, and one thing I’m determined NOT to take away from this exchange.
I enjoyed the walk, despite the cold weather, as I chatted with the old wife of one of the Rotarians about differences between Japan and the USA the entire time. She was fascinated by America and wanted to hear more and more about my family, school, job, city, and country. Such random exchanges of culture are what I appreciate most about Rotary. Anyway, as soon as it was all said and done the club President and his wife (the Okawa’s) invited me out for the afternoon. They are the couple who treated me so kindly when I first arrived in Nakagawa while my host dad was in the hospital because of his heart attack. Anyway they had a couple Rotarians and I over for tea and then we went out for soba noodles. After lunch they took me once more to the Museum of Alternative Art where all the art comes from the mentally handicapped. You wouldn’t believe it by looking at the artwork. This month’s exhibit is from a French woman named Niki de Saint Phalle, and the colors and shapes are so vivid and bizarre. I was fascinated. The picture on the right is one of her most famous pieces.
As soon as I got home I headed over to Miki’s house where I just chilled for the rest of the afternoon. It is so fun to simply “chat” in Japenglish with a friend. We went out to eat Tendon (Tempura covered in a delicious sauce, all over hot rice). Afterwards we went to Yaki Niku restaurant and just “chatted” again for a while with the locals there = ) Good times. To top it all off tomorrow my host mom is taking me into TOKYO for the first time. As the Japanese say: “すごく楽しみ！！” Sugoku Tanoshimi!! I am awesomely excited!!
Also, as most of you know, I love restaurants and food to a sometimes unhealthy degree. So I was so happy when within 24 hours I ate out three times!! Haha