Friday, September 30, 2005

Lots to tell

Bleh, I let it happen again. Too many things to write and not enough time to write them. I have 15 minutes here at the Internet cafe to write about the past few days so it'll have to be short. Here's a summary of what I've been up to.

Tuesday: Shigetoshi
Wednesday: Shigetoshi
Thursday: Hiroshima-Kyoto
Friday: Temples of Kyoto
Saturday: Laura

On Tuesday I met Shigetoshi at a train station near his house. Sasaki Sense dropped me off and he spoke with Ken for a few minutes before they left me on my own. Shigetoshi brought his whole family, wife Chica, 11 year-old son Hoshi, and 7 year-old Anri. We went to a very nice Unagi(eel) restaurant for lunch and tried to talk to each other. Shigetoshi knows very basic English and his family members knew none. Needless to say, it was very difficult to talk to them but we tried our best.

We went to do some sightseeing near his hometown of Kurume City then went to his house to drop off the wife and kids. His daughter is ridiculously cute and his son is your typical 11 year-old, probably plays too many video games, collects Magic cards and spends way too much time indoors. I gave his daughter some finger paints and Care Bears stuff and she loved it. I gave him an outdoor lawn game and he responded with a very uninspired 'arigato'. Oh well.

Kurume Dity is about an hour and a half drive from Fukuoka City where we were headed that night but we ended up taking off pretty late. We went to see Shigetoshi's mother who is my Grandma's cousin and her sister who obviously is also my obasan's cousin. They were all very thrilled to meet me. It's interesting to me how they still feel such a strong sense of family even though I'm so distantly related. We took pictures and looked through old photo albums and finally headed off for Fukuoka City, arriving around 11:30 PM. I was exhausted and crashed immediately.

Shigetoshi let me sleep in until 8 AM but couldn't wait any longer than that. We had a busy day of sightseeing and he really took me to a lot of cool places. I saw a famous temple, Fukuoka tower, like the SpaceNeeedle of Fukuoka, and a museum dedicated to Fukuoka's history. It was very frustrating, having such a limited ability to communicate, but we had a good time regardless. He spent way too much money on me and I felt really bad. He dropped me off at my hotel around 5 PM and drove back home. I had met him once before, in Hawaii 17 years ago, but it was good to really meet him and get to know what little family I still have over here. He drew out a family tree for me and showed exactly where we were linked. He's a ridiculously nice guy and I really appreciated his enthusiasm.

That night we ate sushi with Ken's uncle Ichiro. We again had too much soju and went to bed feeling good. Thursday morning we went out with Uncle Ichiro to the best ramen place in Japan. It's become a big chain with about 30 restaurants throughout Japan. They have a day once a month where the bossman comes in and cooks for everyone that it's a really big event. This was that day so we joined the throng outside the restaurant and bullied our way in once they opened. Ichiro knows the bossman and we got a nice seat up front and talked to him while he worked. Well, they talked to him, I smiled and nodded.

After ramen, Ichiro drove us to the train station and we headed to Hiroshima. They have a really nice museum there and it was very humbling to see all the effects of the atomic bomb that the U.S dropped on them. War is fucking brutal.

I only have a minute left here so I'll post the rest later. Laura is waiting for us and we're off to see more temples. Sayonara.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm requesting more frequent blogging. Now that I'm back at my computer for 6 hours a day again, I need something to keep my mind occupied while my body plays poker.