Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sunday, May 2 – Wednesday, May 5, 2010-

I HOPE YOU HAD AN EXCELLENT 20TH BIRTHDAY DAD!!! Oh wait…that’s me who’s turning twenty this year, oops. Haha, oh well, we all know you’re still 20-years-old at heart!

Golden Week has indeed been golden. It’s been a busy mixture of friends, food, outdoors, great weather, work, and relaxation. I was able to start the week off well by meeting the two other Shiozawa children. My host sister is 24, married and lives an hour away while my younger host brother is 18 and goes to university down in Tokyo. They both came back to relax this week, so I finally got a chance to get to know them.

The night of the 2nd we all went out to dinner at the local yakiniku Korean BBQ restaurant. It was a fun atmosphere of laughs and merriment. The 3rd was a busy Monday during which I helped out a little bit at the Shiozawa’s Soba restaurant. Golden Week is by far their busiest time of the year and a little extra help is always welcome. During the afternoon I had a fun visit from Kris Burridge (one of the area ALT English teachers from Australia) and his friend Brendan, who was visiting from back home. We ate at the restaurant, went down for a little nature walk, and even made pottery that afternoon.

During the evening I went bowling with a group of fellow college students. One of my host mother’s friends has a son who is my age and he and his friends took me along for a really fun night of games and ever more barbequing! So glad it’s been high 20’s all week (somewhere around the low- to mid-80’s F., which is just perfect).

Yesterday, the 4th, besides being my father’s birthday, was a busy day of working at the soba restaurant. I think they were all glad I’d had a bit of experience at waiting because yesterday I did everything from delivering meals, clearing tables, cooking different foods, washing dishes, to even taking orders. It was a fun (albeit hectic) way to spend the afternoon, it made me excited to be back at the Northfield Golf Club later this summer. Did you hear that Tanner? I’m even getting work experience over here!! =) Then last night I went over to Miki’s house for a nice dinner. I stayed overnight at the Miyazaki’s only to visit my previous host families this morning. The Sato’s are still just like I left them, nothing new to report there.

The Kobayashi’s are still doing great, yet the store is getting much busier now that summer is getting closer. Masahito and Yuki are busy studying, Ma having to deal with a middle school level work load now. He told me that it’s cramping his ability to spend all day running around town with friends. I made fun of him by saying that even though I’m in high school, I’ve actually got less work to do than him! Poor kid =) haha

This afternoon we went over to the Nakagawa Suiyuen Aquarium ( photo of Miki and the giant Amazon fish to the right) again where their store had a food stall at the local matsuri festival. It was a busy place, and a hot afternoon, so I’m glad to be kicking my feet up again back in the Shiozawa’s living room. I take back what I said before. Golden Week was definitely a good mixture of friends, food, outdoors, great weather, and work, but looking back on it now I can’t exactly say “relaxation” in that also! But it’s all worth it, right? You’re only 19 in Japan once!

"Down Under" with Kris and Brendan
Ryou and Orie taking their shot during bowling
Dinner party at the Sato's house (different Sato, don't worry). Very fun crowd, too bad they're all off in Tokyo during the rest of the year
The rice fields have almost all been planted here in Nakagawa. This is the scene near my house
The little red bridge I bike over every day on my way to the restaurant
Happy Children's Day (May 5th). Miki taught me how to do what it seems like every single Japanese child innately knows how to do: fold origami
Too busy to smile, carving a piece of soap stone
The Suiyuen Festival. Those carp flags are part of the May 5th celebration
Masahito and I enjoying gelato near the blow up fish
More carp flags
Miki in the rainforest!