Monday was supposed to be a school day, but a national holiday took it's place and we got to relax. Except we didn't because we had a big Rotary meeting. It was the last big meeting for the outbounds before they go overseas. This of course meant a whole bunch of speeches and the like.
|Giving my speech|
|Everyone was having a real good laugh at these phantom feet|
Until the boss Rotarian gave me a pretty angry look
|The group is getting smaller|
This meeting went on for ages though because the outbounds had to be briefed on all the small details like flights and the like. It took sooooo long and it was ridiculously hot but we got there. (It was really just an hour or so.)
I got back home and had dinner with my hosts. We had a big feed of sushi and it was amazing. I seriously love sushi.
The next day was the last day of school. I had a small snooze in first period because our teacher didn't show up and I was feeling fatigued. I accidentally fell asleep on top of my pen.
School was another half day but there was still kendo. I had hopes that it would be a short session because it was the last day but those hopes were washed away as the time ticked on. We started training at 1:30 pm. I was hoping to stop at 3, that would be nice.
It was so hot, I was sweating like anything as I looked up at the clock, 3:20: pm, hmmmm.
Maybe we will stop at 4. Nope, four o clock came and went.
I was shattered, sore and sweating. Finally, 5:00 pm came and that was it. Just a short three and a half hours. Everyone was exhausted. And I still had karate to do later!
I was contemplating not going but I thought I had better. Turns out that it was a good thing that I went!
Fuyuki and I both knew it was my night for revenge so tensions were high.
We started our fight. I couldn't land many hits, he kept blocking them all. Every time I kicked low with my left leg, he would block and send me reeling with a sore shin. But I couldn't show pain, just gotta endure and keep trying.
I started to land a few of the kicks and some punches were finding their way through. I even got a couple of head kicks on him!
It was going my way! At one point he came at me with a big roundhouse to the middle but I managed to sweep out his standing leg and put him on the ground. I could see his leg was starting to get sore.
He got me with one of those punches that just comes out of nowhere. It put me on the back foot for a wee while but I came back with three big kicks to his sore leg. That was it. Three in a row put him out of the fight. He was still moving but the bout was finished real soon.
It went my way. I was pretty stoked. But he said that he'll get me back later on tonight. I was actually very scared.
After about 30 minutes of resting (fighting other people) we got back for the rematch. I was panicking, I knew he was gonna smash me.
So I went in with all guns blazing. It wasn't long until one of my punches found its way through his defence and sunk right into his guts. It put him out for a wee while. When he got up I could see that he was hurt.
Some punches and kicks later, a kick to the thigh put him back on the ground and that was the night. We finished up, both sore but this time it was Fuyuki who had the most bruises.
I dread next week, I think I'm going to get wasted.
|I may have 'won' this round, but I still got hit pretty hard|
You can see where Fuyuki managed to kick me, more than once.
I had brunch and then went with my host Mum to this really small town called Maze.
We were going to do river/rock climbing. There was this hostel where a Japanese man runs all sorts of outdoor safety courses and other things like this rock climbing and rope courses.
He was also fluent in English and French! (Plus, of course, Japanese.) We turned up and got ready to go to the river with this guy. But of course I'm foreign so we spoke a bit of English. When they found out that I could speak Japanese they asked if I would like to come over tomorrow and help out with and English course.
I said sure! There were going to be two Americans and two French people as well. Well this should be interesting!
This Japanese man, Rocky was his name, plans to open up a language school one day and teach language his way. He doesn't sit people down in a classroom but rather gets them outside and gets them active. He wanted us foreigners to basically just be there and speak English to these people who were keen on learning English.
It seemed an interesting take on learning but sounded quite fun.
But that was for tomorrow. Today we were doing river climbing.
My host Mum and I climbed into this guys van and the three of us drove off down the road to some small car park on the edge of a cliff. I was pretty skeptic at this point, there was no track going anywhere!
We jumped a fence and climbed down this cliff, followed a dirt path under a bridge and found we were confronted with a river.
Gonna have to go through it! And from there the adventure started!
It was hard work climbing up these rocks in the water, but it was awesome fun! I'd love to do it again sometime!
|Ready to go|
|It's hard work!|
|It was cold!|
|But we were getting there!|
We got back to the hostel/lodge and organised the next days activities. We were going to be catching fish with our bare hands, cleaning and gutting those fish, cooking them, doing a ropes course and of course, speaking English. It promised to be quite fun!
Host mum and I got home and relaxed, it is so hot here. My room is on the second floor and there isn't any real air conditioning so it gets really stuffy and more often than not, I'm sweating as if I were in a sauna.
The next day we got up early and made our way back to this lodge for a day of English and fun. I met the other foreigners and they were all pretty cool people! We were to be 'teaching' a group of nine people, ranging from three years old to 65. The adults could speak decent English but the wee kids were obviously not so fluent. But that was why they were here!
And what a fun day it was!
|Bread on a stick!|
|Looking for fish|
|Not so well balanced|
|Harder than it looks|
|But man it was good fun!|
I got home, tired and sore. It's hard work speaking English and doing things at the same time! I relaxed a wee bit and then went to karate for a session that hurt quite a bit. I felt it the next day.
It's Friday and I can't believe it is my last night in this family. I move tomorrow. This has really snuck up on me. Today we were going to have a grand feed. I had told my host Mum that I wanted to make them a pavlova and she said that that would be a great dessert after homemade fish and chips. It was going to be a real kiwi night.
|So I learnt how to do the egg yolk separation thing right then and there|
(Thanks to host Mum's help)
|Manly pink wizz|
|I trained in the chippy for ages, just for this moment.|
|Last dinner, sushi, chips and a beer. Pretty good Friday night.|
We talked late into the night and there were a few tears as we realised this was my last night. Can't believe it. They said how good of a kid I was and said my parents have raised me so well. I wanted to say a whole myriad of nice things back but I was unable to speak due to things like the language barrier and more tears than I care to admit.
It must have been 11 o clock when I decided I should get some sleep. I hadn't started packing yet. I wanted to go straight to sleep but tonight I was packing. I don't know why but I got quite stressed. I couldn't figure out where to start with all the rubbish I had.
It was hot, I was literally dripping sweat and it was midnight. I had managed to get all of my stuff onto the floor from where I planned to "organise" it and pack it away. I sat there and actually got quite mad. And then I got mad at myself for getting mad and figured I had best go to bed.
I woke up at 10 am and got straight to packing. It was a lot easier now that I had rested. I managed to cram my life into a few bags and I tidied my room up a wee bit.
Before I left, my host Mum and I went to this new Italian restaurant that was actually opening today. And we were their first ever customers. We got free drinks because of that! And it was an awesome feed too.
So we go in, up an elevator and it turns out we know the owners. Well I don't, but host Mum does.
I was stuffed. We went home and then off. Just like that.
We drove off, deep into the country side and then further deep into the mountains. I mean, we were driving up a narrow rode with no houses in sight whatsoever. I was told that this place was country, but shit, it really was.
|Ready to go again|
|It says in the corner, Open today!|
|It was delicious before I even put it in my mouth|
|And it just kept getting better!|
|My eyes are bigger than my stomach|
|But there's always room for dessert|
|The very first customers!|
|My bags multiplied?|
We found some small civilization and then found my next family. They own a big rubber factory (A factory that produces rubber things, not a factory made of rubber.)
The factory is right next to their massive house. I was greeted at the door by my family. They are a good bunch. I said goodbye to my previous host Mum and gave her a hug. I wanted to say something nice but I was tearing up again.
I can't be crying in front of my new host sisters!
I got inside, put my bags into my room and got changed out of my Rotary gear and into something more comfortable. Tonight, myself and the three other outbound girls from my town plus the Rotary head boss were going out for dinner, followed by a trip to the onsen and then going to see off the last of our seniors the next day in Nagoya.
A fun schedule.
We were going out for Yaki-niku, which is another one of those things where you pay money to cook food yourself.
We went from the restaurant with bloated bellies to the onsen. My town of Gero is very famous for it's onsen, they are ranked top 3 in Japan but I haven't been yet.
|More of these do it yourself restaurants.|
It was actually divine, one of the top meals of had here.
I've been missing out! It was amazing! I had a great time relaxing in the baths and I even went and 'chilled' in the sauna for a while. A real sauna this time, not just my bedroom.
From the onsen we were going to stay the night at the Boss's house but on the way there we passed some sort of festival going on.
We had a look up and down the street at a whole heap of interesting stalls but we were keen to get home to sleep.
|Hard to see but it was a 'taiko' demonstration.|
The sound from these drums was phenomenal.
It was pretty late when everyone went to bed, regardless of the 3:30 am get up the next day.
I didn't get very much sleep at all. I didn't even sleep in the car! It's not nice to say but, the Rotary Boss's driving is the reason why there is such a bad stereotype on Asian driving.
We arrived at Nagoya earlier than expected. We were there before Juliette was, and she was the one who was leaving. We waited for a while and she turned up with a whole heap of mates. She had so many friends come and say goodbye to her. It was actually awesome.
We said our farewells with tears in our eyes but we smiled more than we cried.
Once she left, we all had breakfast and then went back home. I almost had a heart attack in the car, many times as our Boss was sleepy and still bunny hopping about. I offered quite a few times to drive but he said it was fine. It certainly wasn't fine and I was quite worried.
|Juliette, the last of the 'seniors'|
|From here she is back off to France|
She could speak fluent English, French and Japanese, that's pretty damn cool
We went through a couple of red lights and narrowly avoided a collision at an intersection. The girls were asleep in the car and were none the wiser but shit, I was watching like a hawk. We got back at lunch time.
Back at 'new' home, we had a mean curry for lunch and then watched a movie for the afternoon. I'm already getting along really well with this family and I can tell that there are fun times ahead. I'm pretty blessed to have been able to stay with so many nice people.