We're currently riding on the silent/semi-crowded local Japan Railways (JR) train. It's Sunday morning and we're on our way to meet up with David Copley (director of our YASC program), Katie Young (current YASCer serving in Sendai, we met up with her in our Kyoto travels back in January), and Katie's brother and his wife, Mike and Natalie.
Similar to a library, trains in Japan offer a quiet place to read, write, study, or sleep. I've already slept some, Doug's been reading, so shall I write?
One question we get asked a lot is “How is the weather where you're from?” I always like to point out that where we are in Japan is almost the same degree latitude of where we are from in Arkansas. Thanks to my geography and science classes, I know latitude is a big climate determining factor. So Tochigi Prefecture and Arkansas have pretty similar weather. Both have 4 distinct seasons, both get very hot and humid in the summer time and can get very cold in the winter, usually snowing a couple of times. Also, weather can change very quickly. These past 4 weeks have so have been especially hot and cold, causing many of us some rather uncomfortable health problems. So you know how it's April and everything? Yeah, it snowed here the other night. Not a tremendous amount or anything, but enough to dust the ground. Just like Arkansas!
We had a great time on Thursday celebrating Kelly's 31st birthday with her. We all enjoyed too much Indian food and karaoke. Check out our room number!
Friday was part II of our community building event from last Friday. We all gathered at a local gym to play games for a couple of hours. It was like recess, only better.
The main attraction this week is ARI's 41st Opening Ceremony. Participants' have been in their last orientations and the rest of us have been preparing the campus and the community for the official start of this year's training program. We've been busy in the kitchen making cookies and snacks for the tea party. I love getting to bake in the kitchen! Sang Ah and I made chocolate wheat cookies and blonde brownies.
|Sigiro (Indonesia), David (staff from Canada), Sakura (Japan), Happy (Tanzania), Jenny|
|us with Takami-sensei and his wife|
After the ceremony I joined some participants in the kitchen who were preparing a special meal for our community supper. We had some apples donated so I made apple cobbler. But more delicious and exciting than that was Chai's (Thailand) pad Thai, Cembel's (Myanmar) sweet and sour pork, and Mbuche's (Kenya) chapati. Yum. E.
We all ate entirely too much but thankfully the fellowship that followed included lots of dancing.
|Doug and Ed performing "Imagine"|
So here we are, the morning after. Still full from dinner and a little gassy on a quiet train to Tokyo.
Doug and Jenny