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Will's tour diary
- What? Why? When? Where? - Shows - Seminars

Thu 28/9

We awoke at 6.30 to find that someone had put chains across the entrance to the carpark. As inconspicuously as one can in a deserted carpark, Richard strolled over to the chain, managed to unhook it (proof of the value of a physics degree) and we slipped out.

Took a wrong turn and wound up in the town of  Ushimado. I'm sure there was a good reason for calling a town  "Cow Window". Turned around and made for Himeji. Winding along a tiny rural road, we were flashed by an oncoming truck, but didn't know why - our lights weren't on. Around the corner we were pulled over by the police for a seatbelt check. We passed with flying colours. 5 minutes later we were pulled over for speeding. Anyone who had seen the Genkimobile would find it difficult to imagine such a thing possible, but the police had cunningly located themselves at the bottom of a hill, and the speed limit was 40 km/hr. I was done for going 56 km/hr - 16km/hr over the limit, and the first speeding offence in my 12 year driving career. I was finger printed, my details recorded and I scored a 12000yen fine (about  $200 Australian). While I grovelled and apologised Richard got one of the officers to draw a map to the nearest onsen (hot spring). We relaxed our jarred nerves at the  onsen and recharged the computer, and our mobile phones, at the power point behind the TV in the lounge area.

Early afternoon we arrived in Himeji, and popped into X Primary School (situated south of the castle) where the kids were eager to meet us but the Vice Principal told us that as they already had a teacher from Arizona visit them back in May, they had no need for any further visits, and anyway, the schedule was full. Miffed, we left.

Next school, Y Primary. Lots of sagely head nodding, but a concurrent air of reluctance. Both Principal and VP perked up when Richard mentioned how keenly parents want this kind of activity, but we still got a firm "no".

To cheer ourselves up we decided to see if we could sell any CDs to English Conversation schools. At the first  very well known language school we thought we would have zero chance, but it would be good practice. The receptionist told us quite bluntly to contact head office. We fared better at  another well known  language school, where it was decided I would, in the interests of Genki English, flirt outrageously with the very attractive receptionist. Regretfully the delightful Ms Shimizu informed me that their junior section - which dealt with children - was across the hall. They seemed keen, but suggested we would get a faster response from head office. Richard rang homebase and arranged to do just that. Shortly afterwards we got a message to say that Head Office was interested, and would get back to us.

We drove around Himeji castle taking photos of the Genkimobile before departing for Kyoto. We dropped in at Cockpit, a repair garage where Richard tried to wire the car so he could use his computer while we were driving. The cigarette lighter doesn't work, and on his first attempt Richard had blown the interior light (VW campervans were not, it appears, designed with Internet access in mind). Lack of power steering had taken its toll, so feeling quite shattered I took a nap on the back seat, and awoke an hour later to find that although we could not operate an onboard computer, at least nothing else had been shorted out.

Into the mountains towards Kameoka we went, following route 372. Just before Yashiro we stumbled upon an okonomiyakiya called Edelweiss (okonomiyaki is a sort of DIY pancake). We were the only guests (not a good thing when, for publicity, one is trying to attract attention to oneself) During dinner we got a call from a guy in Kyoto who wanted us to do a seminar - after a somewhat trying  day it was welcome news, and Richard perked up. Afterwards, as we repacked the Genkimobile in the carpark, one of the two women from the restaurant came over, stood suspiciously close to Richard, and explained at length how to get to the closest onsen.

We drove in the dark, conducting an analysis of the day (Richard: "not so good". Me: "Yeah, but its only Day 2", Richard: "Not complaining, but didn't you think that woman was a bit too touchy-feeling when she gave our change back at the restaurant?").

Around midnight we located the onsen, raided a nearby convenience store for food, and  returned to the onsen carpark to spend the night. Just as I was about to go to sleep Richard asked "Did you put the handbrake on?" I checked. "You're going to laugh, but no......"


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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 slagging people off or making jokes which sounded better at the time!!! Please be understanding!


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