Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nate comes to Towada!!

My big brother finally visited me in Japan! ^__^ His plane arrived on time, just ahead of the typhoon (apparently it was a bit turblulent, but that's all) and I was able to pick him up no problem from Misawa Station on Wednesday, October 7. We dropped by Mini-Stop to pick up dinner and then it was back to my place to sleep!

Then we went to Kirita JHS on Thursday (Oct. 8). Due to the oncoming typhoon, afternoon classes were canceled and the schedule was changed. We were supposed to have classes with each grade (1st, 2nd & 3rd) but the class with the 3rd years was canceled for gasshou renshuu (chorus practice--i.e. all the students singing together for the school festival). But the 1st and 2nd year classes were great. At first they were hesitant to ask questions, but once they found out that my brother likes and knows games/anime, they asked a bunch of questions.

The 1st years in particular asked some interesting questions, like:

- "Do you like [your] sister?"
- "Is H--- (one of the male students in the class) handsome?"

^____^ And I later learned from Sasaki-sensei (their homeroom teacher) that many of the (1st year) students had written about how cool they thought my brother was (because he likes anime and has lots of different game systems--Wii, PS3, DS, etc.). =P

He ate school lunch with me and the 3rd years (unfortunately it was a white stew and he's slightly lactose intolerant) and even got to see what our daily cleaning time is like. After the students had left, there was a teachers' meeting where they presented him with a gift (Tsugaru lacquer chopsticks, and cloth made from a local plant with a horse design) and asked him to talk about his experience at the school. Unfortunately I did a poor job of translating what he said (I'm fine in normal conversation, but when I'm put on the spot I get nervous and forget all my Japanese), but hopefully they could get at least the gist of what he said. ^^;;

Oh, and interestingly enough, more than one person at Kirita mentioned that they thought Nathan and I actually looked alike. I know that our way of speaking is pretty similar, but that was probably the first time anyone has ever commented on a physical resemblance! 

After school, we went to the JTB (the travel agency I always use) to get train tickets for Nathan's travels to Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Tokyo (again). Then we went to Towada Jusco where we had takoyaki at Gindako and bought snacks for the trip. By the time we left the Jusco, the wind and rain had gotten pretty strong and even just getting to the car we got pretty wet.

We were supposed to go to the Towadako(-machi) Community Center to see a taiko practice that evening, but after checking with a friend from taiko, I learned that the practice had been canceled. So Nate checked email and looked up various things online while I took a rare nap. Then when I woke up, we decided to watch Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. This time, Nate was the one who passed out (during the movie). While he was sleeping I printed out maps to places I wanted to visit in Tokyo, and when he woke up we went for dinner.

Before he came I had gotten a bunch of ideas for good places to eat from my friend, Hide-san, but that night we were so tired and the weather was so miserable we decided to just go for fast and cheap food. So we ended up at Marumatsu. At least he found the call button (push for service) on the table interesting.

The next day (Friday, October 9) I taught the first 3 periods at Kitazono ES then went home. (Nate didn't come to the school with me, this time.) We had lunch at Oirase Soba (across from my office) and then drove through Oirase Gorge to Lake Towada. Even though the weather was kind of gray and occasionally rainy, the scenery of the Gorge/Lake never fails to impress me. I was aiming to be at the office around 5pm, but we finished at the Lake kind of early, so we took a small detour to the Former Kasaishi Residence (designated a "National Important Cultural Property" in 1967). It (along with the Towada Museum of History & Folklore) was already closed, so we just took pictures from the outside.

Then we headed to the office where Nathan was able to meet the Kyoikucho (Superintendent of the Board of Education) and all of the teachers in my section. When I took him down to see the first floor (unfortunately everyone had already left for the day), apparently someone from the other section made a comment/inquiry about my "cool boyfriend" to my supervisor! @_@ Of course, she immediately corrected them and explained that he was my brother. But I was really surprised to hear that someone had thought that! I mean, why would I bring a boyfriend to the office for introductions? Moreover, Nathan can--like me--easily be mistaken for a Japanese person, so it that would make it even stranger for me to bring him with me to the office!

But yeah, after that we went to Sakagami's drinking house. We always start at 6pm, so I assumed we would start at the same time, but apparently that day we were actually supposed to meet at 6:30pm! (I hadn't paid much attention to the email Aaron sent.) But it ended up working out OK. I was able to follow his sister back to her house so she could drop her car off and get a ride back with me. Plus Nate helped to get the fire going, so it was a learning experience as well as an eating one. =P As always it was a lot of food and good fun.

The next morning (Saturday, October 10) we were up early to catch 5:50am local Towada train to Misawa, and that was the end of Nate's visit to Towada.

Oh, and in case you missed it in the earlier post, here's the link to my Facebook album for Nate's visit to Japan!