Friday, November 03, 2006

Happy Culture Day!

Happy what?! Exactly. All I know is that it got me out of a day of school, so I want to send out some warm culture wishes. To celebrate, another ALT in the very northern part of Okinawa had a BBQ last night. I caught a ride with a really nice Hawaiian girl, Jenna, for the semi-long drive up the coast of the island. It was completely dark, but I could tell that it was beautiful and vastly different from my part of Okinawa. We got a bit lost thanks to too much talking and not enough speed limit sign counting. Yes, speed limit sign counting. No signs in this part of the island. We got there a bit later than everyone else, but had a great night hanging out with other teachers. At one point we ended up on the roof of the building talking and sitting right across the road from the ocean. The waves were amazing in the night. There's one of those surreal moments that keeps things interesting. And another great sight was nine people sleeping in Jenny's apartment. There wasn't an extra inch of tatami, yet everyone was comfortable and slept well until the school across the road started blasting "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" at eight in the morning. Apparently they didn't get the memo that there was no school today.

Somehow everyone got moving quickly this morning and we went to Cape Hedo, the most northern part of the entire island. It was fantastically windy and chilly.

We stood around and did the obligatory "oohs and aaahhhs" before driving to this strange bird on a hill.

Then we all climbed into the little miniature cars and drove back along the beautiful coast to Nago, a major city on the island. Our next stop was the Pineapple Park. It was only 500 yen which is about $4.50 and after going on the cute little pineapple cars that have no drivers, you get to drink pineapple wine, eat as many cookies and cake samples as you want, and devour pineapple chunks. We gorged. It was delicious!

Everyone was feeling a bit sugared out by the end of the tour and a few of us managed to find a hole-in-the-wall cafe for some real food (which the one man working cooked and served in a gourmet way) and more chatting. It was a nice day and I can finally check a few tourist items off of my list.

Tonight I was walking up to my apartment when I hear someone yelling, "Rachel! Rachel!" I thought it was Jenna and that I forgot something. But then I realized it was my student who was a foreign exchange student near Springfield, Illinois, last year. She's my neighbor and we had a nice conversation with her leaning out of her window and me on my stairs. We decided we should set up some cans and string and chat back and forth or have a flashlight pattern to communicate with. And then I put on a sweatshirt (YES! A sweatshirt!) and walked to rent some movies. I started wandering the store and I hear "Rachel! Rachel!" and there were three of my students wandering the movie aisles with me. They wanted to know my "three best movies" and we wandered around. I was glad they were there to show me which movies were dubbed in Japanese and which have Japanese subtitles. They were cute, although picking out some really lame movies. Poor things.

So, tonight I'm going to relax with my new VCR/TV and think about what I want to do tomorrow. I love long weekends.


mom said...

Sounds like a beautiful trip. Having ocaen views is worth a lot. Glad you met some more nice JETS!

mom said...

Oh no! I misstyped and spelled ocean wrong. Please remove before my spelling reputation is shattered!

Rachel said...

No, Mom... Your spelling reputation isn't shattered. You did produce the county spelling bee winner. :) But maybe your typing reputation might have taken a hit.

Carly said...

Dude. I feel like I should get out more. Maybe I'll blog what I did yesterday. But that would include going to the lab, eating leftovers, making pancakes for dinner and going to sleep relatively early. Glad you're having a good time!

laura said...

That yellow bus picture is frameable...Yay!