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Will's tour diary
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Sunday 1st October 2000

Happily, Richard survived the night sans nocturnal feline predation. Downstairs in the Watanabe's rustic restaurant we found a small feast awaiting us - huge bowls of ramen, fried rice and a myriad of condiments. Absolutely stuffed, we bade the Watanabes farewell and left them each a Genki English t-shirt with which to impress their customers.

Set off shortly after 9, with a big drive ahead of us. We were headed for the village of Nozawa Onsen where a friend of mine, an Austrian CIR called Ortwin, lived.

10.30 we pulled into Mr Donuts. I grabbed the coffee. Richard found the table next to the powerpoint. We both whipped out our laptops and began working. An hour and a half later, when the caffeine in our bloodstream had reached toxic levels we finally left.

Crossed into beautiful, mountainous Nagano Prefecture. Lunched by a river in Yazawa. Back on the road. Richard sat in the back trying to wire up a power converter to the VW battery. "Err..Will..I think we better pull over..." I heard him say, and then immediately detected an acrid smell. He had burnt out the converter - it was casually emitting small wisps of smoke.

Hit Matsumoto city at dusk. Richard was still keen to rig the Genkimobile in order to power the computers from the car battery, so we picked up a more powerful converter unit at AutoBacs. There, in the customer carpark, after much fiddling and testing, we succeeded - the Genkimobile was now Internet capable. And we could recharge our phones too.

Dinner at Yoshinoya. Richard ordered the big gyudon, and I ordered the very, very big gyudon, but once we had stripped away the fat from the meat we both had what looked like regular portions.

Rolled into Nagano City - home of the 1998 Winter Olympic - at about 10pm. Richard popped out to a phone and downloaded mail - good news - a JET near Matsumoto City wanted us to go to her school - the largest in the prefecture! This buoyed our mood and we celebrated with all-you-can drink coffee at Denny's (where I foolishly asked permission to use the powerpoint, and was denied by a waitress whose serious mien was impervious to even the wittiest of our off-the-cuff remarks).

As we sipped our tepid brews we watched a group of kogyaru practice their para-para dancing at a nearby table. Para para dancing is dancing where you just use your arms. It looks a little like Ralph Macchio doing "wax on, wax off" in The Karate Kid, both arms at the same time, but with music.

Ortwin rang - he had just gotten home after an epic drive from Nikko and was desperately tired. We agreed to meet tomorrow instead.

We planned to crash in Nagano but couldn't find anywhere to shower the next day, so at midnight we decided to set off for Ortwin's village anyway.

Arriving at 2am we found Nozawa Onsen to be a quaint European style village perched on the side of a mountain. During our exploration I made the mistake of driving down a dead end street. When the Genkimobile reverses a woman's voice blares out the phrase "bakku shimasu ki o tsukete" (WE'RE REVERSING - LOOK OUT") loudly enough to annoy if not actually wake the dead. We didn't want to disturb the whole village so Richard got out and pushed.

We parked in a large carpark near some tour buses and went to bed.


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Opinions expressed in this diary are personal views of Will Jasprizza. They do  not necessarily represent those of Genki English, especially where he is  making jokes which sounded better at the time!!! Please be understanding!


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