Days 1215 - 1221
Sunday, July 17, 2011 - Saturday, July 23, 2011
Day 1215 ( Heading for Gunma )
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Went to church in the morning then went back to my apartment to do some final preparations to go on a 2 day trip to a prefecture known as Gunma. I was invited there last week by a Japanese lady who I met in May at the Jamaican festival. She spent 2 years as a volunteer in Westmoreland, Jamaica. I was supposed to meet up with her as well as some other persons who volunteered in some other countries like Belize and a small island in the Caribbean known as St. Lucea. We are going to go rafting tomorrow.
So the lady gave me directions to get there and I wrote down the time and train route precisely as she told me. I got to the train station on time and saw a train there waiting. So I asked a train attendant and he said its the next train that I should be taking. So when the next train got there, I sure enough jumped on it. Only to realize 2hrs 30 mins after that I was at the wrong location, farrrr away from my intended destination. I ended up at a place called Utsunomiya in a prefecture known as Tochigi.
I asked a worker at the Utsunomiya station to direct me to Gunma. but he said where I am headed for is like 3 hrs away :O I called the others to let them know what was going on, and one of the persons said that there is a way to get to Gunma that will take only 2 hrs. So I got on the train made a transfer then finally met up with the 4 other persons. I knew only one of them so I introduced myself to the others. We then had dinner then headed to an onsen ( hot water bath ). This is my second time at one of these things. The first time was back in November 2008. The owner said this onsen has been in operation since 1689.
Before we met up, the others were hiking for like 3 hours in some mountainous area. I of course told them I am not so much interested in hiking, especially since I have a bad ankle.
Day 1216 ( Rafting )
Monday, July 18, 2011
when my friend asked me if I was interested in rafting, I instantly told her yes. This is because I was thinking of rafting as a serene, quiet, relaxing thing in a nice river on bamboo boats like in Jamaica. That only the wealthy had access to. Ooh how wrong I was.
I was imagining this:
But actually it was more like this:
When the guide started giving us instructions, I was trembling. He was telling us what to do if we fall out of the tube boat, what to do if it flips over and how to position ourselves if we fall out of the tube boat and it leaves us behind. Hearing all of this made me want to quit, because I cannot swim. I was the only one on this trip that couldn't swim. The guide warned us that its all about team work and we should all try to keep the tube balanced at all times.
A part from the scary instructions, it was all about rowing forward, rowing backwards, holding on and sitting inside the tube when rough waters appear. Again, I was so scared. But as soon as we started rowing forward and passed the first big wave, I realized how much fun this was. It felt like one of those water rides at an amusement park. Actually the rough waters and waves in the river was much more fun than when it was quiet and steady. We rafted about 13km / 8 miles and it took about 1 hour and 30 mins. But it was really enjoyable.
We then went to another onsen ( hot water bath ) that had a bunch of old naked Japanese men. Now my third time at one of these places. Afterwards we had lunch then we headed for the train station very tired. The other male who was there is going to Jamaica for 1 week. He also lived in Jamaica for 2 years, in an area known as Mandeville.
Day 1217 ( Car Accident )
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
My sister called me early this morning telling me that she had an accident with my car in Jamaica :0 .... One of the crazy Jamaican taxi men ran in the side of my car. Luckily she was ok. However, the insurance is in my name, so now I have to prepare a letter known as "Power of Attorney" to allow my sister to take care of insurance stuff on my behalf.
Day 1218 ( Horrors of World War 2 )
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 ( 3 years 4 months )
Today is the last day of work before summer vacation. The English supporter who is 70 years old came to assist me with my 3 classes today. Because she was 70, I asked her if she experienced World War 2. She said yes, it ended when she was 5 years old. She said her dad was actually the captain of a ship that America sank near North Korea at the time. She also mentioned that a survivor on the ship that her dad captained, came back and told them the story of all that took place. Her dad's body was burned in the air raid that took his life and the lives of several others on that ship. But she said her family managed to receive her dad's bones.
Her husband also has an horror story about his family as well. Her husband had 4 siblings. 3 sisters and a brother I think. Her husband's dad decided to split the family up by sending him, his brother and another sister to some rural areas in Japan. His dad, mom and 2 sisters stayed in a developed area of Yokohama. Unfortunately, the US bombed Tokyo and some areas in Yokohama some months before the war ended. and his dad, mom and 2 elder sisters were killed in that bombing incident.
Her story had me silent for a while, as she was the first person I knew who was directly affected by world war 2. I told her that she should write a book about it. But she said one of her brothers already did.
Day 1219 ( Presentation at Meeting )
Thursday, July 21, 2011
For the first time in over 3 years working for this company, I got the opportunity to give a presentation. Outside of doing one of my poetry before someone else did a presentation while in Okayama, I never got the opportunity to give a presentation. I remember a head teacher asked me once if I wanted to do a presentation. But I asked him if they wanted me to do a presentation because that was how I thought the system worked. I told him at the time if they wanted me to do it, then I will do it. He didn't get back to me.
I couldn't help but notice though that even persons who came after me in my area were doing presentations but still I wasn't given an opportunity. But I kept silent. However, after just 3 months in Yokohama, my head teacher approached me and asked me if I could do a presentation. I told him sure. It was basically a brief presentation about my like in Okayama and the transition to Yokohama, and how I overcame whatever obstacles I faced. I showed them briefly how I taught my classes and then ended with my poem "into Japan".
The persons seemed quite impressed afterwards and I got quite a few compliments. One person told me that they were asleep throughout the meeting and woke up when I was doing my presentation. A lady from the Philippines told me she could not stop laughing throughout. Yeah it felt good.
After the meeting, I went to do a medical check for my company. Its a mandatory requirement. Because if you are not healthy, guess what? They can and will fire you!!!
Day 1220 ( Japanese Lesbian wants US Citizenship )
Friday, July 22, 2011
Stayed in all day playing video games, reading and watching anime.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Again, stayed in all day playing video games, reading and watching one piece anime.