Day 4: Tokushima
Today was another early start to a long day beginning around 8am where we all met a hotel to get on the bus. We took a ride over to their famous whirlpools. Under the largetst bridge in Japan there is a lookout area with a glass bottom floor so you can see the whirlpools. Unfortunately when we got there, there were no whirlpools. Immediatly after that we were on our way to lunch. This time it was at a place called Halleluah Sweet Shop which is owned by a fellow Rotarian. There we indulged in a fabulous buffet with all different types of food. Once again the students where quite open minded about what they are eating which is great.
After lunch we made our way over to Toko Highschool. Here, our students participated in an English class. The Japanese students were so happy to see us Americans and gave us a good welcoming. After “class” the students were broken up into groups including archery, caligraphy, tea ceremony, and music. I visited each of theses classes and was very impressed on how the Japanese students were teaching our American students, their English is very good.
When it was time to leave we found out that one of the students was very homesick and wanted to go home. We had her call her parents from the hotel but they refused to pay for a plane ticket home. Hearing that conversation was heart breaking. After a few changes to the room stays, we were able to put her with her best friend for the duration of the trip.
At night, I went to dinner with my host family in honor of a long term exchange student that stayed with them. There was about 20 people at this dinner including 2 of my students. We had a lot of different food at this dinner including squid and mango yogurt which was yummy.
This day ended with a great nights sleep.
I didn’t get a chance to write this down yesterday as I was too tired and went straight to bed after getting to my first host family’s home.
The morning started off at around 6:30 and breakfast at 7. Like yesterday, the breakfast was both Japanese and American food which was a great start to a long day. At around 9:45 we loaded up the bus again and made our way to Nara which was about 1 1/2 hour away. Once there we visited the “Big Buddah” temple. Once you walk inside the temple, you are greeted with the largest Buddah statue in the world. This statue was massive. Once we walked around to the other side, there was a hole in a pillar that symbolized buddah’s nostril. The idea behind it is that if you can fit through the hole, you will be on the path to enlightenent. All of the students were able to fit through so I guess we are a pretty enlightened group :).
Once we left the temple, we went on our way to lunch. Yup, you guessed it, another tofu restaurant. This time however, they did have some fried crab and a few other unrecognizable items. I must say, the students have been great with trying everything that is served to them, even if it looks a bit scetchy.
After lunch we loaded back up and began our 3 1/2 hour journey to Tokshima on the Shikoku island. Once there, we were greeted by about 30 rotarians, including our host families. The mood changed a bit when we all realized we would be parting ways, though, there weren’t any tears so I am sure everyone is going to be fine. I am staying with a lovely couple, Mr. and Mrs. Tanaka. Once we arrived at their home, Mr. Tanaka was gracious enough to take me on a tour of his house and downstairs to meet his parents who were very happy to meet me. We sat in the takami room and Tanaka Senior took at a world atlas so that he could see where I was from. We had a great conversation even though they could not speak English, Mr. Tanaka was able to translate. His mother has invited me to a tea ceremony on Sunday in honor of July 7th which is a Japanese honoring when a prince and princess meet for the only time each year. I believe we will also be going to a Tokoshima soccor (futbol) game on Sunday.
That’s all for now!!