8am departure. Our target - Saitama - at least 8 hours away. Route 4 - Shiroishi. Kunimi. Date. Fukushima City. It is traffic safety week (again). In Koriyama we crawled along Route 4 at 25 km/hr. In the car in front of us the driver was slapping himself to stay awake.
11.15 Dennys in Sukagawa City, Fukushima. Lots of coffee.
6pm Omiya City, Saitama. We parked outside the same park where we had spent the night when we were heading north.
6.30 pm We met Denene, an exhuberant, strawberry blonde Canadian who, via email, had offered to put us up for the night. She led us to Amataro izakaya where a bunch of Saitama JETs were enjoying a spot of dinner after a long day at the Prefectural Mid-year conference. The servings at Amataro were enormous and mouthwatering. I can recommend the 80cm long pizza, and the kimchi fried rice. The yakiudon (fried noodle) was not only delicious but entertaining - it was topped with large flakes of katsuo (bonito) which moved as a result of the heat, and drew the rapt attention of the new JETs.
After dinner we did printclub. Printclub is an intrinsic part of modern Japanese culture. Friends gather in one of the many printclub booths which abound in Japan, pose and get their picture taken with all manners of backgrounds. The resultant photographs are adhesive on the back, are about 12mm by 15mm big, and there are normally 12 or 16 of them - grab some scissors and presto - everyone has a sticker momento of the occasion. Showing your printclub stickers to Japanese people is a great way to break the ice, and if you want to bond with your students you can't beat doing printclub together.
But don't forget - in Japanese you say 'purikura'.
We skipped karaoke and drove the hour to Denene's place in Satte (literally: 'Happy Hand). Denene has a permanent internet connection. We love her already.
Diary Main Page
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