Monday, June 12, 2006

Great weekend

Hello all,

Well the busy weekend is finally over, and now I am back to the week so I can take a rest. I wish it would have lasted a little longer, but that's how it always is. And there is always next weekend. Saturday was actually pretty uneventful.

Then Sunday came and all the people from the lab were in a softball tournament. There were so many people from the wanted to play, they had one entire team, and then some of the people had to go with other groups in on two other teams. For those two of the teams, the tournament didn't go so great (they got out after the second round), but for the third team, they ended up making very far and came in third. I bet that probably 95% of the people in the lab were on one of the teams. Even Dr. Yamamoto's son got in on the fun and scored once. I have mentioned it before, but I think I will mention the atmosphere of the game again, which is completely different than most sporting events in the United States. Instead of the competitiveness and trash talking that I am used to, there were just a bunch of kids that wanted to have fun. Half the time, when the batter got up to the plate, he would bow to the pitcher and the pitcher would bow respectfully back. And of course I have to say something about the food, which was nothing out of the ordinary, accept they there were some chicken nuggets, and rice balls. And the rice balls are wrapped in sea weed with a nice surprise in the middle. When I first saw it, I thought "oh, a cherry, that is weird, I have never had anything sweet in my rice." And then I tasted it and realized it was a pickled cherry, which has one of the most unusual tastes. I have decided that I wouldn't particularly care to have one again any time soon.

This is the group picture from after the games

It was a day of a lot of fun, and a lot of sun. I am so sunburned after being out in the sun all day. All day, if I touch my nose or my cheeks, for five minutes after I am asking myself why did forget sunscreen because it burns for at least that long. It is kind of funny because it has broken the language barrier a little. I know exactly what someone is saying as soon as someone points at my face with a smile on their face. I just smile back and say, "I know, I know."


One more thing on the subject of food. I am thinking about changing the title of the entire blog to One Summer of Eating in Japan, because that is all I talk about, but that is one of the most interesting things for me. And when I eat three times a day, there is at least something new at one of the meals every day. But this has to top them all so far. After the game, I guess for a victory dinner of sorts, we went out for Japanese bar-b-que/buffet or "yakiniku."


I don't even know were to start. There are regular tables, but where we sat, you take off your shoes and sit on little mats around the table. In the middle of the table there is a little charcoal grill. You order, and they bring out plates full of raw meat (still no raw fish), and then you get to put in on the grill yourself. They have all kinds of vegetables and every kind of meat (beef, pork, chicken, meatballs, pepperoni, sausage), and it is cut every way possible (thin and round, little cubes, thin rectangles, and then some is just randomlys liced). After it is grilled, you put dip it in miso sauce or soy sauce, and eat it. It is all you can eat meat, and rice, and soup, and ice cream. I wish there was something like that where I live because it was so good and so much fun. The only thing that I hesitated about was the fact that you use the same chopsticks to put the raw meat/chicken on the grill as you use to take the food off the grill, which are the same ones you eat with. There is nothing even to wipe them off on and since each plate is closest to one person, that person cooks that type of meat for everyone. I thought for sure I was going to get sick with food poisoning or something, but it has been 24 hrs. and nothing.

I finally got back to my room and started watching Gladiator, my favorite movie ever, and fell asleep halfway through. I woke up though bright and early very disoriented. At first, I thought I must have overslept and someone was shaking me to get up. I then thought did I leave the door unlocked because how else someone could be shaking me. I then thought wait, I think it is the bed that is shaking and I wanted to know who was shaking my bed and why they had barged into my room without knocking. When I was sat up I realized it was just an earthquake. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do, but I decided since no one was moving around outside, I might as well go back to sleep(the thought that it might be bad no one is moving never crossed my mind). When I woke up a couple of hours later, I tried to figure out if it was all just a dream, so I turned on the TV to listen to the news, and guess what. I still couldn't understand Japanese so it did very little good until they showed many clips in a row of different security cameras shaking and no armed robbers or anything. I came in and found out on the internet it was a 6.2 quake and the only person that got hurt was an 82 year old walking a dog in Hiroshima.

That was enough for one weekend; I have to see if I can top it next weekend, I am thinking about going out of town for the first time in Japan. Wish me luck!

Till next time,

Josh


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