Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More Visitors!

Last weekend we had friends visit us from the U.S. They were sweet and brought us food we'd been missing from home. (Thanks T & K!) We had people to cook for and talk to and show our town to and play bananagrams with and....it was super fun. We stumbled upon a soba festival in Matsumoto, sang karaoke with a big group one night and showed them places like the 100 yen shop and pachinko parlor.

During their stay we were reminded:
  • of what we like about this place - the mountains, safety, fresh air, cleanliness, shrines and temples, polite people, quaintness, convenience, etc.
  • of quirky Japanese things that no longer seem that weird to us - like excessive bowing, foot onsens, people running after you to return something you meant to leave and people ignoring you because you're foreign (except for old ladies who shamelessly ask questions), and cute old men with their towels and getas heading up to the sento/onsen for their bath.
  • and that we actually do understand, speak and read a little Japanese now.
They were surprised that the town wasn't as small as I'd maybe made it seem. I mean, it does have a Denny's, a McDonald's, two grocery stores (one owned by Walmart, unfortunately), a Mos Burger, etc. It's basically a perfect example of Japan's juxtaposition of the old and the new. You can throw a stone from the 7-11 to the shrine. You'll be hiking in the mountains and come across a vending machine or two (with hot tea and coffee!).

Anyways, here are some pictures from the weekend.

Our town's Buddha

Rolling out dough for soba noodles.

The "strip" in our town. Too bad you can't quite see the Japanese on the Denny's and McDonald's signs.

Thanks for coming, T!

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