Japan 2012; An Epic Adventure Post 5

From the journal of Christopher Sanford Beck

Sunday October fifth

I woke up at a good time this morning, feeling refreshed and well rested. I headed downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast. It was delicious! Kiwi, banana, and yogurt. Catherine had to teach an English class, and Ayana decided to go with her. I had not visited the shrine in shrine park (see post number 4) yet, so Yatchan took Atsushi and I down to the park, and there was an event going on in the park. After looking a bit more closely, we discovered that it was Emergency Preparedness Day! This year (the event happens annually) we were learning about fire safety. The learning included being shown the proper way to deploy a fire extinguisher, and we all got an opportunity to try. There was also a tent, filled with fog, to demonstrate a house filled with smoke, and we were taught the proper way to get through a smoke filled home, and then me got to go through the tent. There were also displays and such. The reason that fire safety is so important in Japan is because there is no central heating in Japan, so every body uses kerosene heaters, which provide a huge fire risk.

After we were done looking around, we went down to the shrine, and fed the Coy fish that live in the ponds. It was very meditative and peaceful. Yatchan taught me how Japanese people pray, and I said a little pray God. I donated 100 yen, and Yatchan read my fortune for me (there is a wooden box full of slips of paper with fortunes on them. In the shrine area, there is a huge tree, that Japanese people believe that the gods can come down to earth from.

Then Yatchan took Atsushi and I for a walk around the neighbor hood, and told me all sorts of great stories. Along the walk, I stopped at one of the many vending machines and bought my favorite Japanese drink; a salt and litchi.

Then we met up with Catherine and Ayana and walked home together. As soon as we got home, we started up the BBQ and Catherine invited all of the neighbors. I got to meet all of the neighbors and they were all very kind and hospitable. And the food was great! I asked Hiyatay, “JayBoard Oh, Kashti kudasia?” Which translates to “May I please borrow your JayBoard?” and then I JayBoarded around and around and around! Hiyaty’s father took Ayana and Hiyatay and I Cray fish hunting, but we only found a few. After that, Hiyatay invited me over to his house to play video games! Half an hour later, Hiyatay’s mother brought us over a snack, squid! It was very good.

Once all of the neighbors went home, our family and Hiyatay’s family all went to the public bathes together. The public bathes are exactly what they sound like, bathes (well more like pools) that are public! Boys and girls were separate, and every one was naked! there were hot, cold, jets, and outdoors pools. There was also a washing station, which I quite enjoyed. After getting over the weirdness of everyone being naked, I quite enjoyed it! After that, we all had a meal together (there was a restaurant downstairs) and Catherine Hiyatay and I had our feet cleaned by fish that nibble of dead flesh! Once we got home I fell right asleep, and it was only 9:30!

Please stay tuned for more posts!



6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by jacquee on February 11, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    This is amazing! What great practical lessons are available to children there. I don’t know how to deploy a fire extinguisher!! Is themo a kind of rice paper? The public bath must have been a shocker at first. Do families also have their own baths at home? The fish must have tickled, (chuckle). I have 101 questions already. Thank you J


  2. Yes it is amazing! Themo, was a typo! I meant them, and fixed it! Families do have they’re own baths at home as well. And yes they did tickle!
    I appreciate your comments!


  3. Posted by ecosophian on February 12, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I would have loved to see the big tree at the Shinto shrine! Did it remind you of “My Neighbour Totoro”?


  4. Posted by jacquee on February 12, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    I also wondered about that tree. Do you know what kind it is? And do they have any ceremonies around it? And is there a tree like that planted at all shrines? j


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