Japanese Meandering

Before I left the Philippines, I was worried that something would happen that would prevent me from making it all the way to Matsuyama.  After all, I don’t speak any Japanese and don’t know my way around the city.  I made it into the Osaka Airport without any problems and even made it to Nama Station via subway, where it was just a short walk to the bus station from there.

Unfortunately, the people in the information counter did not speak English and I speak absolutely no Japanese.  I had printed out a map of the bus station (in English) but nobody could understand what it said.  I eventually left the subway station in the direction that I thought was correct and began asking taxi drivers and random people in the streets if they could help me.  By that time, I only had 10 minutes to make it to the bus station for the initial boarding period.

I was lost, confused, and I began to panic.  A lot.  Stressed out and holding back a torrent of uncontrollable tears, I ran around asking for a phone so that I could call Kevin.  If I didn’t get on this bus, I would have to wait another 24 hours to board the next bus to Matsuyama.  One man must have taken pity on me because he (in very broken English) spoke to me and escorted me all the way to the bus stop.

I arrived at about 6am on Friday and was picked up by Kevin and his boss.  In the afternoon, we went to his friend’s house to make a Japanese dish called okonomiyaki, which is like a pancake sandwich.  In the middle is cabbage, various meats/seafoods, cheese and spices. When it is done, it is covered with some sort of sweet sauce, nori, and another unidentifiable powder.  The end result: deliciousness.

Kevin had to work all day yesterday, so one of his friends, Miguel, took me to watch Korea vs. Japan’s national women’s soccer team.  The Korean fan area was much smaller than Japan’s, but I convinced Miguel that we should go sit with them.  Plus, it was the only part of the stadium that had open seats, so we didn’t have much of a choice. The game ended in a 1-1 draw but we had a great time cheering for opposing teams.

We went to a salsa party last night in Imabari and I had a surprisingly amazing time.  I say that it was “surprisingly amazing” because if you know me, you know that I am not what you would call a strong dancer.  Actually, I am a terrible dancer.  But when you’re dancing with salsa experts, it makes things much easier.  I was just being pushed and pulled around the dance floor and somehow it looked good (at least I thought it did).

Tonight is the Miller Family Silly Hat Karaoke night and we’ve been preparing for it by making a list of possible songs to sing together.  This list includes: “A Whole New World” from Aladdin and “Summer Nights” from Grease.  It should be fun!

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