Tales From A Broad

My year of teaching English in Japan is up. Next mission: backpack Asia before going home to the U.S.A. Currently HOME!





Road trip to Hagi

I'm writing this post with complete relaxation and satisfaction. This weekend was just what I needed. Hannah, Justin and I (JETS in my town) rented a car and drove to Hagi to visit our buddies. Driving on the left side of the road is confusing! After almost hitting several old fogies on their bike, skidding dangerously close to the edge of the mountain and playing chicken with the oncoming traffic, I seemed to get the hang of it. The ride was stunning. The only thing breaking up the rice paddies and mountains were small villages and shrines. Once we arrived, we picked up the Hagi crew and rushed to the beach. Trying to avoid the jellyfish, I floated all afternoon. I forgot how much I missed the beach. After spending the whole day shooting the shit, talking about places we wanted to go for Christmas, a clan of about 8 Japanese people formed a circle, and belted out melodic Buddhist hymns. We knew it was our cue to leave.

That night, Rosie and Dan threw a BBQ party at their house. We feasted on everything from skewered chicken and onions (yakitori), grilled sliced pork and Asahi beer. More importantly, we were able to hang out all night getting to know each in a chilled environment. It quite possible could've been one of the best nights I've had in Japan because we were able to hang out and get to know each other without having to scream over loud music. I'm realizing more and more how lucky I am to be surrounded by such intriguing individuals. So many people have been to so many countries, seen so many things and aspire to do even more. Some have been to Oktoberfest twice, lived in India for a couple of years, taught in France, graduated from Cambridge, were movie driectors back home, the list goes on... What I love the most about the JET program is that it has this knack of attracting people from completely different walks of life into situations where they would never normally find themselves in. There are no pretenses or notions of popularity, doctrines to act by or unspoken rules to adhere to. Practically everyone I've met has come off more genuine then some people I've known for years.


The next morning we did some more sightseeing. We visited a shrine, castle and made one more stop at the beach again. There just so happened to be a non-Japanese family enjoying the beach as well. Being here has honed my skills of spotting any foreigner like myself. I can't help it. Japan is a self-contained society that prides itself on homogeneity; the only true minorites are Koreans who were brought in for labor dozens of decades ago. No Hispanic, black, Indian, or European citizens. That's why the Japanese have coined people like me as gaijins--foreigners (see outkasts). That's also why I can't go anywhere without being stared at by at least 5 people. On rare occasions like this weekend, I pinpointed an American family. There is always this mutual, unspoken thought through gaijin's heads when we spot one another: "Who are you and what are you doing here?" We introduced ourselves. The mother told me that they're American, but they've been living in Japan for 10 years. Their children were even born and raised in Japan. Like most foreigners, she was a JET teacher when she came here and loved it so much that she decided to stay. Soon after, her kids were dragging Justin, Matt and I in the ocean to play frisbee and football. Except for the fact that they spoke perfect Japanese, they were as American as can be: blonde, blue-eyed, outgoing and independant as hell. I suddenly felt nostalgic.

Our trip was nearly over, so we grabbed a bite at MosBurger (puts McDonalds to shame) and headed back to Tokuyama. Once we got home Jutsin and I crashed Hannah's place to watch Lost in Translation and drink red wine. The perfect movie to end the perfect weekend.

Funny quotes from the BBQ:
"What a man whore! He'd do it for free!" Rosie describing Matt's promiscuous pose on the hood of the car in the pic above.

"It's not as dirty as you think." Paul describing his first night at a hostess bar.

"Since everyone already got a piece of chocolate cake, can we just pick at it with our forks?" Victoria asking Rosie.
"Doooozo!" Rosie answered, as she digs in.
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