Well not entirely busy, but I did do a lot. I guess, maybe. Friday
night the 5 Native Teachers had a meeting over dinner to talk about
the state of the union (of native teachers). We met at 7pm at a cool
restaurant called Bamboon. I have a point card there and forgot it
which was stupid since I could have gotten tons of points as we paid
for the meal as a group. Then we went to this cool, but small, rock
bar with a live band playing “born to be wild” and other classic
American favorites. There was a misunderstanding and the two girls
just didn’t come in which bugged a guy in the group since he told the
bar owner 5 people and there were only two. The other guy in the group
(of three guys two girls) left with the girls. Then we went to a
mellow, but pricey, Jazz bar called Monks. Finally we met up with some
of the new Koriyama JETs at a place called Radio Bar. We left at 2am.
Wow, that is late for me.
Saturday I did nothing. I had some stuff planned, but I didn’t get
around to them. I cleaned my apartment a bit and gathered some old
clothes that I am going to ship back. I also tossed about 30 single
socks. I have no idea how I keep getting single sock since I only take
them off at home, and at the same time no less. I never use one sock
for anything, but somehow I had about 30 singles. So I tossed them and
will buy some new ones when I need them. Maybe I can wait until I go
back to Atlanta in December and get some nice ones that fit. Sunday I
went into town and had lunch with Chandon and then we went to Tsutaya,
which is the video place with a nice café. I had 4 of the magical
cookies and a mango drink, but when I got home they put me into a 4
hour coma as usual.
The Note. Tuesday, September 04, 2007
On Monday someone found a note in their shoe box. It was a big problem
because it was rude I think. I only heard about a little of it. Then
today I saw the vice principal comparing the note to some notebooks
the students write in Japanese. I think someone student was displeased
with another student for something and wrote an anonymous note about
I, foolishly, tried to dress nicer today. I wore a nicer shirt and
near-suit slacks. Apart from being overly hot and looking too formal,
I hate the way they fit. Or don’t fit rather. I could lose 50 lbs
around the waist, but these pants are too tight and my t-shirt is too
short so the mixture of those three things make me look ridiculous. My
lower half looks thin and my upper half looks like it is flabbing over
my belt. I feel so stupid I am considering wearing shorts and a
t-shirt like several other teachers. I’m definitely going to do that
during the winter. Though then it would be a running suit.
Part 2. Thursday, September 6th, 2007
Seems the teachers were nearly content with letting it go when someone
wrote another note. There was a big meeting with copies of the note
and samples of all the students’ handwriting from various things
they’ve written. I couldn’t read it and still don’t know what it was
about exactly. Though I think it has something to do with the
student’s club. There is also the possibility that she wrote the note
to herself. That’s pretty clever in a way. I guess that would work if
you want to bring an issue out and especially if you want people to
think another person said it.
On another note, it’s rainy cats and dogs. For about two days it has
been a torrential downpour. I drove into town last night and on the
way back it was blinding. There were times when I couldn’t see the
road. Even the parts of the road where it was a hill had puddles on
them. Last night it calmed down, but today it has been raining for
about 6 hours just non-stop. Like a wall of water. I should check and
see if a hurricane is nearby.
I bought some blank poker cards (design on one side blank on the
other) and I made a matching game since the kids love to play cards. I
thought it was a brilliant idea and should go over great. But since I
have a tendency to just do things without mapping them out, I found
many problems. To be honest the card game annoyed me and I’m sure the
kids hated it. I have to redo it, but hopefully I can use it since it
would be helpful.
There is something about Japan that has always bugged me and I usually
just get over it, but now it’s building up and happening a lot. When I
write anything in Japanese and make even the slightest mistake, any
Japanese person nearby will make some comment about how funny my
mistake was. Sometimes it will be subtle like a chuckle, but in class
or in groups or at a party it will be much bigger. In class kids will
laugh at loud at the sheer absurdity of me drawing a kanji character
with a different stroke order or leaving off one small tick mark. I
couldn’t imagine ever doing that. I mean maybe if a Japanese person
wrote ‘fart’ instead of ‘fat’, that would be funny, but every little
mistake gets a mountain of laughter.
I thought at first it was just kids which would be universally
understandable, but it’s everyone. Today in class I made a slight
mistake and the kids erupted with laughter. I wanted to yell “you
can’t even spell “ASK” and you are in the 8th grade. It’s
three letters. I think that gorilla that uses sign language or some
beeping box could spell it. A #$%&#% gorilla. COME ON.” But that would
surely cause problems. I would imagine me using the argument “everyone
laughs at me so I figured it was ok” wouldn’t get me very far.
Stink Friday, September 7th, 2007
There is some general stink related with me today. I took a shower
this morning, but then I put on some clothes that were hung dry. Since
it has been cool and rainy/moist over the last week or two, the
clothes didn’t dry well so now I have some pre-mildew stench. Maybe no
one can smell it, but I sure can. I had thought about buying a dryer
and then I decided to get over it and not spend the money, but I am
back to considering it again. It’s usually not an issue in the summer
since clothes dry outside in an hour or less, but this summer was so
cool and rained all the time I have had to hang them inside. I can get
a new dryer for about $400, which I might consider this autumn.
Tokyo is getting hit hard by the big typhoon, but here it’s just rain,
rain, some wind, a bit more rain, then a lot of rain and the annoying
thing is it will rain hard and then stop and your brain thinks “ok
it’s finished” so you don’t take your umbrella into the store and then
it starts to pour and you are soaked, or maybe you do take your
umbrella and you have to run to your car and do that awkward dance
where you try to get in the car without getting wet and then try to
fold your umbrella up and pull it in the car, but you have to pull the
umbrella over you to get it to the passenger seat and since it’s
soaked it drips all over you and the inside of the car in such a way
that you would be less wet had you not even used the umbrella.
That WHOLE paragraph was one sentence.
BOOM! Monday, September 10, 2007
There was a teacher’s meeting today, an especially long one, and the
English teacher was kind enough to suggest I do something crucially
important in the English room while the meeting went on, at least for
an hour or so. I was in there watching some kids retake a test.
Actually at one point I was just staring out the window watching the
tennis club practice. It was cloudy and cool. Then BOOM, there was
some loud snap like thunder, and then this wall (or floor I guess) of
rain fell straight down. I could see it coming and it hit and soaked
everyone outside. Then it kept pouring and everyone was running around
trying to close things up. Some girls got completely soaked, but most
gets just got really wet from the initial downpour. My parents always
talk about some drought in the southern US now, and I have nothing to
relate to that with. I just say “oh really, it rained for a week
You must be wrong Tuesday, September 11, 2007
The phone rang and someone answered it and I heard her say “oh
[student’s name] ok I will get that homeroom teacher”. Then she turned
to someone and said “is [name] in the 5th grade?” The other
teacher didn’t know, but I knew and said “no the 6th
grade”. Since I lack the ability to hold someone’s attention as I have
mentioned, she asked a few other people who all either didn’t know or
thought the kid was in the 5th grade. Then she called the 5th
grade teacher who quickly stated the kid was in the 6th
grade. No apologies were made and I just sat there ignoring it all. I
have learned that sarcasm doesn’t work in Japan.
Hard to believe it has been 6 years since Sept 11th. Today
is even a Tuesday which makes it feel all that much stranger. I
remember where I was and what I said, which was inappropriate since I
was half asleep when my roommate told me and I was confused with
Madison Square Gardens. Someone told me recently that there was a
brutal hurricane beating down on the area back in Sept of 2001.
You Wrote THAT?!?!?! Wednesday, September 12, 2007
It’s raining again, but it’s cool and fresh. I drove to school since
my umbrella was in the car anyway. I made it on time and stood in the
entrance as kids came in. It’s student council election time so there
were more kids than usual greeting kids. All the electorates had their
names and campaign slogans on their shirts, even though these
elections are just about voting for who is the coolest.
Anyway, I was standing there by the principal and this elementary
school 3rd grader came up and handed me a notebook with
upper level English and the principal saw it. He flipped out and
started saying “you wrote that, oh my, you wrote that? It’s perfect
English, WOW”. He didn’t even give her a chance to explain. Then I
said, much to his dismay, “no it’s from her sister. Sometimes she
comes by the school and I teach her English to help prepare for an
upcoming interview”. But it was funny until that point since the
timing was great.
During regular English with the 7th graders, the teacher
put them into 10 groups of three. Each group had a high, medium, and
low level student. He talked about this last year and I thought about
doing it, but he did it much better than I would have. When they
finished doing some bonding activities I told them that these groups
will be the same in my English Conversation classes as well and the
kicker was the group leaders would get a bonus if everyone in the
group turned in their journals. They were pleased with that even
though I haven’t given them anything for earning points so far. I
think maybe the mere fact that some kids have a lot of money and
others don’t gives them some bragging rights.
Let there be light. Thursday, September 13, 2007
I noticed my headlight was blown recently so I went into town on
Tuesday to buy a new one. I had to take vacation time and go during
the day since I wanted to avoid driving at night. I got it and tried
to install it myself but found it was nearly impossible. It looked
like I had to disassemble half the frame since everything was so
compact (being a compact car). Today I had no classes so I went to the
local garage. I took the light bulb and asked if they could do it.
Since I know the owner and teach his kids he got his best mechanic to
work on it. At first he pushed and twisted the bulb and I was afraid
it was something super simple, but then I was glad when it took him 30
minutes to actually change it. I could have started unscrewing things
to get to it like he did, but if I did that I would have unscrewed
something that could only be exposed in a sterile environment or
something like that. Luckily it all went smoothly and they only
charged me $10. I was expecting it to be much more, but it wasn’t.
So far there are about 16 people signed up for the national English
test called the Eiken. Ei means English or England and ken is part of
the word for test. The opposite of the Eiken is the Kanken. Kan being
part of the word Kanji, and ken still meaning test. It should be a
good turnout and I hope many people pass it. Two boys are shooting for
level 2 which is usually taken by high school seniors. That will look
really good for me if they pass, even though they go to the local cram
school and that’s why they would pass. The bad thing about this test
is it is the same day as our big school festival. So everyone will be
mentally focused on that, and probably do poorly on the test.
Something I remembered from the long meeting yesterday that is worth
mentioning. I forgot about it and was wandering around then I came in
the teacher’s room just as they were sitting down. ARGH. They saw me
and so I joined. Toward the end was the part that I find a gross
invasion of privacy. It’s called ‘information sharing’ and we talk
about who was sick and why and what their temperature was and other
nonsense. Anyway, one teacher who loves to talk started on about some
important issue and then got softer and softer since it was a really
secretive part and the windows were open. At some point I could no
longer understand her which I attributed to my poor Japanese. But
after the meeting, I was chatting with another teacher and he said
“have you ever noticed how X-sensei sometimes mumbles and then gets
really soft? I can’t understand her when she does that and she always
does it.” I was so pleased that it wasn’t just me.
Chocolate Butt? Friday, September 14, 2007
I was walking up the stairs to the 5th and 6th
grade classes and two nice girls were behind me. They started poking
me in the butt. That’s culturally acceptable in Japan and really
annoying (I know it is hard for you to believe something about culture
here annoys me). These two girls were not the type to do the butt
poking so I was a bit curious as to what provoked the poke. Then they
started saying chocolate butt. Poking me in the butt and saying I had
a chocolate butt was pretty strange from anyone, but more so from
these two. I asked what they meant and they said I had chocolate on my
butt. Oh that can’t be good. I couldn’t see it since my neck didn’t
bend that far, so I went into the bathroom and found I had in fact sat
in chocolate or something. I wiped it off with water so I had an even
bigger stain, but hopefully that part would dry soon.
I was supposed to go to this nice okonomiyaki place tonight, which is
Japanese omelet of sorts. But the girl hasn’t replied to my messages
so I don’t know what is going on. It is a 3 day weekend and some
people had talked about going camping at one time, but I have heard
nothing along those lines in a while. Hopefully I will hear something
soon or I might be sitting at home all weekend like last time. Next
weekend is also a three day weekend and it is payday. I think we have
the welcome party on Thursday.
Country Life Sunday, September 16, 2007
I really like country life in Japan. There are several reasons why,
but mostly because the air is clean and the area is quiet. Another
reason, which has happened occasionally, is the random fruitings. When
a local farmer has too much of something they drop some extra in front
of my door. If I am home they might knock, shove it in my face, and
scurry away. One neighbor is nice and chats a bit. Another thing about
country life is the random small festivals. Today the local firemen
had some festival where they pushed a cart around with bells and drums
on it while drinking sake. They would occasionally hit the drums or
play some beat. I heard them going around our little area for a few
hours this morning.
Here's a short video
I made of it when they were parked by a neighbor's house blessing the
home with a little jingle.
Link to the whole festival page will be here.
Stupid Japanese TV show of the day. Don't worry
it's not dirty or inappropriate. It has some sound, but even if you
can't turn the sound up you can understand how silly it is. Oddly, I
see things like this a lot here.
Thought you knew… Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Back at our August meeting with the BoE, they mentioned we have to
start doing observed classes for the other NTs. That’s no problem and
quite beneficial since it will give us all a chance to see what the
other teachers do and get some new ideas. So that was in August that
they mentioned it and they also said the first time would be in
September. On Tuesday I realized I hadn’t heard anything and emailed a
friend and she said everyone received a memo about it and it was
scheduled for Thursday. I asked around my school and found out they
too received a memo, but assumed I already knew so they didn’t say
anything about it. So I guess tomorrow I need to get someone to cover
my classes so I can go watch another teacher.
Tomorrow is actually a bit inconvenient for me since we also have the
welcome party that night. I guess I will just go to the class and then
get a hotel room and stay in town until the party that night since I
was planning on getting a room anyway. It will just mean I have a few
hours to kill between the class and party. The party is at a new place
this year and we have to sit on the floor. I really never sit on the
floor unless I am playing with a child or a dog.
Furee Saturday, September 22nd, 2007
One of the things about Japan that is good about being a foreigner,
especially in a small town, is that you stand out and are easy to
remember. Sometimes this is annoying, but sometimes it's great and
works in your favor. I had a package from the US and it was delivered
on Friday, but I wasn't here. So I looked up some of the kanji on the
delivery notice in case they asked for certain numbers or information.
Then I called the number. Someone answered and went through this long
spiel about who they were and the company. I responded with "is this
Black Cat delivery", and the guy said "Oh hello Ryan, I can redeliver
it before lunch if that is ok." So I said yes and I was finished. Not
only am I the only foreigner on his route, but I am the only foreigner
in this town.
So Thursday was busy, but fun. I left at 11:30 and drove to the city
hall where we took a public car to Constantine's school and watched
him do a class. Next month we go to John's school, then in November
they come to my school. We do this through January and then I don't
know if we start over or not. Then I got a hotel in the city so I
could drink and not worry about getting back to Konan. At 6:30 we had
a welcome party for the 7 new people which was really fun. Some of the
vets did the thing where you yell Fureeee (fu ray) and do a little
cheer for new people or people leaving. It's some the standard rigid
way you honor someone in Japan. Then we did it for the leader of the
board of education since he really likes those traditional things.
Then Friday morning I had a big breakfast which was included in the
hotel cost, which was super cheap already, but amazingly nice. After
that I had a Starbucks coffee and then went to the meeting at 10.
After the meeting I had lunch with a few people and bought another
gigabyte of RAM for this computer. This as in mine, not the one you
are reading this on. Though I haven't done anything major to test the
new RAM, but I'm sure it will be better. Last night I went to Jintei,
which is this amazing place. There were 7 people though, which was
getting a bit too big for my taste and a few people were getting loud.
I don't like big groups of foreigners because we always get loud as a
group and I am starting to get sensitive to that. Although there was
one girl there who had this phrase I liked "shut the front door". She
used it in place of something else.
So that brings us up to now. I've got nothing major planned over the
weekend. I might work on some web stuff or clean again since I cannot
maintain a clean apartment for more than a day. Oh one thing I have to
do is go to a convenience store and pay for some, hopefully the last,
Japanese books I bought. They have English explanations for the tough
grammar which makes so much sense. All my other books explain the
complex Japanese grammar in Japanese and that is simply stupid. The
reason those books don't explain the grammar in English, is because
they can't speak English, but they pass it off as "it's better to
learn the language completely in the language". Which in fact it is
Fast Sunday, September 23rd, 2007
Man, I ordered those books Friday and paid for them at the convenience
store on Saturday at 5pm and one of the books was delivered today. The
delivery guy called me at 7am and asked if I would be home all day so
he could deliver it. Wow, how fast is that? That's nearly same day
delivery or at least within 24 hours. I think the other three will get
here this week. I've already read some of it and it is great.
Feast Monday, September 24th, 2007
The rest of the books came today. Wow that is fast. I got next day
delivery apparently and didn't even pay for shipping. Orders over $15
are free shipping. Anyway, Sunday night I ended up going to the
beer garden with some people, but I drove so I didn't drink. It's just
a hassle when everyone drinks since you have to walk to the train and
wait and take the train 3 stops and get out and take a taxi back to
Feast again Tuesday, September 25th, 2007
school Stephanie texted (not a word) me and asked if I wanted to do a
BBQ by the lake around 6. I said ok even though it would be
dark. I got some meat and headed out and when I got to the place early
I found it was tornado style wind coming off the lake. It was really a
bad time to do it, but we hung in there and found a decent place
behind a bathroom where there was minimal wind. It was good food
and good times, but it reinforced my desire for a table that fits
around a grill. I am determined to buy one sometime.
When it pours… Thursday, September 27th, 2007
I was talking to a student in the hall on Wednesday. She’s one of my
favorite kids. When I first came to this school I remember her always
smiling with this huge genuine smile when she saw me. She’s a really
nice girl and her brother and sister are as well. I’ve met her mom a
few times and she is a hottie mom. I’ve always thought her mom was
attractive and she is 35 just like me. I mentioned sitting near her at
a party for the elementary second graders back in February or March I
Anyway, I have to close all the windows and doors in the school this
week. That duty rolls around once every few months since all the
teachers take turns. I was in the art room closing up and this student
was in there. I made small talk and one of the things I mentioned was
“how’s your mom?” But I said her first name rather than “mom”. It was
no big deal and I don’t even know why I typed that, or this. She said
her mom was fine and “really wants to meet me again.” Ehhh, in what
way? Like a date? Or just hanging out? I would love to date her mom
(her father died 5 years ago), and I don’t even mind that she has
three kids, but I think they would mind. Wouldn’t it be weird having a
teacher hanging around your house? Plus I can’t live in Japan forever,
and I’m sure they would want to.
So then another friend of mine told me he knows a girl who recently
ended a relationship and he mentioned me to her. She said she was
interested and we chatted about that for a while. I didn’t give it
much thought since I figured he was just yapping, but the next time I
saw him he asked if I was interested. I got some details from another
friend and everything seems to be in order so I don’t know what to do.
Maybe we will all casually meet somewhere, but I hate blind dates like
that. When people are just going to hang out and two people are
interested, that’s different. But when you go somewhere specifically
to check out another person for a possible relationship, it’s just too
Last night I went to this okonomiyaki place with some friends. I’ve
mentioned that before, it’s like a Japanese omelet. There was this
little girl who was fully Japanese and went to an all English
kindergarten and spoke fluently. She was shy which got in the way
some, but she answered everything with a little bit of wit as well. We
asked who her foreign teacher was and she said “it’s some strange name
I can’t remember”. BOOYA. The all English kindergarten is a brave
idea, but only a few parents do it. I wish it was mandatory, but there
is this belief that kids may not develop their Japanese identity if
they are exposed to too much foreign-ness. Rubbish I say, rubbish.
Energy Drain. Friday, September 28th, 2007
I had a class with my 8th graders. They seem a bit slow and
just don’t pick up English like all the other grades I have ever
taught. It’s strange how a whole grade can be like that. They are like
that in all subjects as well. Anyway, I had a class with them where I
tried to play Wheel of Fortune, even though I am still working out the
kinks. It took the whole class period to do one sentence whereas the
other grades usually get through three. It was such an energy drain
because they would take forever to answer. It was like “uh, well we
could pick G or maybe D” then they would sit around for 2-3 minutes
just thinking and staring as Japanese kids do so well. Then I would
say “ok either solve the puzzle or pick a letter” and they would think
some more. You just can’t maintain any energy like that.
Then the above mentioned student whose mother I find attractive told
me her mom was coming to the school tonight to see the chorus perform.
When she told me my eyes lit up and I said I will really try to see
her since I too want to see her. The student said the phrase “she
really wants to see you again” and I said I do too. The student
doesn’t seem to freaked about me showing an interest in her mother.
You know if we got married or something, I would have to take her name
in Japan. That would be fat though I would prefer a name like
Kobayashi or something really cool.
I had a good class with the elementary 4th graders today.
We reviewed capital English letters. I think English is the only
language with capital and lower case letters. It’s annoying teaching
the difference when you are learning a language like Japanese where
there are no differences. The class was fun and we played some decent
games even though it is really hard preparing for elementary school
classes. It’s hard because you can’t have any down time or they get
distracted and start chatting. They are kids. I did the same when I
was young and even through high school since I have such a short
attention span. It’s also hard having to always make a fun game since
elementary school in Japan must learn fun English so no lectures. Like
they would sit through that anyway.
After school two wicked hot young student-teachers (college age)
showed up in their standard black suits. They looked like FBI agents
since you always wear black suits with white shirts. They came after
school to meet and greet some people while not disturbing any regular
procedures. Unfortunately they are not here for English just health
and Japanese, but they are still cute. I think they live in my small
town too. I don’t understand why we always have these cute student
teachers who seem to be from my little one stop light crossroads, but
yet I never see them walking around town.
Speaking of my town, this morning I didn’t bring my bag with me.
Actually I left it at school since I had nothing in it yesterday and
it felt odd to take it home empty. Then half way home it felt odd to
not have it. So then today I came to school without it and the ladies
helping kids (as in two) cross the street gasped at me. I though my
fly was down and Mr. Wiggly was hanging out or something, but they
were shocked (yes shocked) to see me without my bag. Then on the way
two kids both acted the same way. One kid was really confused and kept
asking what happened. I had to show her the bag when we got to school.
It was really bizarre that they were so concerned that I didn’t have
my bag. I couldn’t even make something like that up, it was just way
out there and yet I wasn’t really surprised when they reacted like
that. I have found that Japanese people are concerned with things that
I could not care less about. I care more about the average lifespan of
the Fiji Bull Fly than I do about half the stuff they care about here.
It’s just odd cultural differences.
I had this bad conversation today with a student and I am not even
going to write it out. I’m just going to cut to the punch line. It was
a girl student so you can figure out how it went. Basically the way
you say closet is o-she-e-ray. However, if you were to say o-she-ree-e-ray,
which seems to flow off the tongue a little easier, you would then
have said “insert something into the butt”. O-she-ree means butt and
e-ray means to put in. I guess closet means “to push things in”, maybe
they were overstuffed in the past. So basically I had this
conversation and she kept looking at me funny. “Can I put these things
in your butt?” Then I asked a passing teacher and it was all
Harvesting Sunday, September 30th, 2007
I woke up at 6:30 and left at 7am to drive into Koriyama so we could
drive another hour to go rice harvesting. I've always wanted to try
this, even though I live in the middle of several rice fields. It was
organized by some Japanese non-profit group. I wanted to drive myself
just in case there was an ambush situation, but that was frowned up.
Then Dave showed up and said he would have to leave early so he had to
drive, so I rode with him.
An ambush situation is like when a local church says "Come by this
Friday for FREE PIZZA". Yea alright, party on dude, who doesn't like
free pizza? So you show up and then they say, the free pizza starts in
2 hours, but first we have this fun talk about why you should join our
church. I was expecting something like that here, and sure enough
that's exactly what happened. We drove for an hour and we get there
during the opening ceremony. Then they teach us how to harvest. The
hand blades are passed out and we go at it. You grab the stalk and
chop the base and then tie a few bundles in a X formation and hang
them to dry. Dave and I carved out this little alley that shot all the
way across the field, which was only about 30 feet wide I'd say. We
did it for about 15 minutes and they announced we were finished.
Finished why? Are we changing jobs or what? Nope, that's it. Then we
spend 2 more hours watching a local dance group dancing and then we
played bingo in the rain. I really wanted to harvest rice for an hour
or 2 or more, but as long as we had the appearance of harvesting, that
was what was important. Summary of my
Rice Harvesting Day.
Don't get me wrong. The dancing was enjoyable and I wouldn't have
minded if they would have said we might watch it. But the flyer said
rice harvesting all day which is exactly what I wanted to do. This
ambush thing is common here and I usually refer to it as "so Japan".
They don't see it as an ambush, they see it as appearing to do one
thing but having another intention. Here the intention was for us to
watch this local dance group and try some sake from a local brewery.
The rice harvesting was just for fun for 15 minutes. I also wouldn't
have mind if we harvested rice for a few hours and then we sat down
and had a warm bowl of soup and watched the dancing. That would have
been pleasant, and not an ambush. That would have been like a bonus.
Overall it was fun, but I won't be participating with this group
anymore I don't think. As we were eating and watching, someone from
the group that planted the rice back in the spring mentioned they
planted for about 10 minutes and then went to visit some guy with a
horse and then to some cake shop where they were given cake and coffee
and then given a bill. That is so Japan.