Will's Tour Diary - updated daily (ish)!

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


We headed for the town of Ajimu, an hour away. Our destination - Tsubusa Primary. Beppu is surrounded by hills so we climbed, first through suburbs crowded with countless onsen hotels and tour buses, and then through the grassy hills, where we discovered an African Safari Park.

We overshot the school so we rang our contact - American JET Ben Powell - and got new directions. Found the school but no Ben - he had gone to find us. Another phone call and we met in the flesh. Ben was tall, athletic, laid back and wore his pants low on his hips. He was also cultivating a moustache. The combined effect was very Errol Flynn. He told us he had attended Waseda University in Tokyo and was destined for the world of business, and that although he loved his town he was itching to get out.

Tsubusa was small, rustic and had the feel of a large family more than a school. The staff were friendly, the kids well behaved and enthusiastic. The local kindergarten kids joined the first show and sang up a storm.

Afterwards we chatted to the teachers about the regional delicacy - turtle's blood.

We had a tight schedule - first period after lunch we had to be back in Beppu for a show at
'Asahi Primary.

Asahi was big! And there was good vibe - even as we drove into the carpark the kids were calling out to us in English. The gym was vast and cavernous and perfect for the flood of genki 1st year students who poured in. It was killer show - the kids ate up the material and we had a ball.

We dropped in at the Board of Education and met up with Hana's supervisor for a chat about elementary school English teaching. Mr Tsuji and Mr Teraoka were keen to get some outside input and a highly animated discussion ensued. They even called over a guy from accounts to explain exactly where JET salaries came from. We got on so well that the guys suggested that we meet up for dinner.

Hana told us we were going to an onsen. Yippee! I thought. She directed us on a circuitous route culminating in a narrow dirt road leading up a forested hill. Then the road ran out and Hana said "We're here". It didn't look like the sort of place to find an onsen - more the kind of place to find an axe-wielding murderer lying in wait for unsuspecting foreign travellers. Guided only by the moonlight we walked the short path to a hut next to which lay a steaming pool - an outdoor onsen (rotenburo). The light was sufficient enough to navigate but not so bright as to endanger one's modesty. Sulphur tingling in our nostrils we soaked in the natural warm and even snapped a few pictures as evidence of what the Japanese call konyoku - mixed bathing. Just to make the guys back home jealous.

We met Mr Tsuji and Mr Teraoka at a family restaurant - the odour of sulphur lingering slightly (no showers at natural outdoor onsens!) - and shared a few beers over dinner.


email: will@genkienglish.net

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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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