Saturday, April 3, 2010

Friday, April 2 – Saturday, April 3, 2010-

This coming blog is one of the easiest hard-to-write blogs that I’ve done so far. It is hard because it will be my last while staying at the Kobayashi’s home. I am moving tomorrow afternoon to my third host family, the Shiozawa’s, where I will be living until my return on the 11th of July. Yet this blog is simple because I know exactly what I need to say.

The days have flown by and I’m once again packing my bags, waiting with a heart full of gratitude, anxiety, excitement, and awe. I am grateful because I have had two and a half wonderful months at the Kobayashi’s. They have shown me hospitality that I cannot put into words. I will always be indebted to them for what they have so willingly given to me. I am anxious for what my new life will be like; I know hardly anything about the Shiozawa’s. They live on the very opposite side of my region up in the mountain village of Ooyama. They own a soba noodle restaurant and chili spice factory. Besides that I know very little. I am excited because just as this is an ending to one part of my journey, it is the beginning to another. I will be experiencing a different lifestyle with new friends and family. I am in awe because the concept of time is still ever so twisted. I feel like I have just moved into the Kobayashi’s, and yet I can proudly say that I have experienced so very, very much within the short stay that I’ve had here.

I do not want to spoil these last few days spent simply on the computer, so I will bid you all farewell and go have lunch with the family. I hope I have kept you decently up to date on my adventures while at my second host family. I hope that I can do the same at the coming one as well.

Yet as I say that, and as I reiterate what I wrote before, I know next to nothing about the Shiozawa’s home and the truth is that they do live up in the countryside of Nakagawa. With that in mind, there is a real possibility that they may not have internet access, or at least not a wireless one like I have had at the Sato’s and the Kobayashi’s. If that is the case, I will certainly not be able to upload this blog as often as I have been over the past seven months. I will try my very best to keep everyone current, and will try to post a short blog about my new home before too long. I am in what you might call “the home stretch” or my last three months (actually 98 days if you want to count…Mom). I know that I will experience many more life-changing adventures, but just as the first three months of 2010 have flown by, so will the next three. I am determined to make the most of them. I want to thank Rotary for the opportunity they have given me, my host families for many unforgettable Japanese experience, my school for taking me in even though I am far from their normal student, my friends for being friends, each and every one of you as readers for your continued support, and of course a huge thanks to my family for being exactly what a family should be: people you can’t imagine your life without. I will be back home in no time at all!

One last ever so unique Japanese experience that the Kobayashi’s allowed me to take part in: filleting an unagi freshwater eel. It was a thousand times harder than any fish I’ve cleaned back in Minnesota. Trying not to be too graphic, imagine trying to clean a flailing snake…then make it slimy…and then you know how even after you cut off a chicken’s head it still runs around the farm yard? yeah…SUPER difficult. But it was an opportunity that I would absolutely never have had if it weren’t for the Kobayashi’s! Very fun.

My Eel Bucket
Arai makes it look far too easy!!
I somehow hacked my way through the first one...
Progressively improving, bottom to top. My third (and final) eel was actually not too bad. Well, at least when you compare it to the first two!
I got to go all the way from the beginning, first I filleted it, then I got to grill it, tonight I'll get to eat it!
Definitely had a great laugh. Arai and Shima (two of the workers) are always good for a joke
Don't worry, not my blood! Which reminds me, did you all know that Unagi blood is apparently poisonous? If you get it in your eyes you can go blind! Who first thought to eat these things?!?!
My box...and Arai's box. Guess which one is which
Arai and Shima. True Unagi pros. They told me that when it gets really busy during the summer they can clean up to ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED unagi in one day!! That's right. These three took me about twenty minutes so I think I'd be doomed. They apparently start work at 3 AM and go until about 6 PM.

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