Monday, October 17, 2005

A Change of Scenery...

This is the view from my hotel room in Katsuyama...amazing!






Today was another looooong day of traveling (does it ever stop!?). We had to get up bright and early to move on to our next location....Katsuyama. I left my suitcase outside the door and it will magically appear there later tonight...nice!

We (the 20 in my prefecture) took a bus to the airport. I was not too happy to be flying again until I came upon a Starbucks in the airport! Score! Suddenly my day was looking a lot better with a hot Venti Chai Tea in me (hmmm....somehow that does not sound like the total Japanese immersion experience Fulbright had in mind!). The flight was only about an hour long so I can`t complain too much.

After landing at the airport we took a bus to a very fancy French resturant. Yes, French. I am not sure about having French food in Japan, but it sure was good! It was six courses and we had so much silverware I had no idea what to do with it.

We traveled next to Fukui University to see what college life is like. It was nothing like Ohio University! There was no school spirit anywhere and all the students were dead silent studying. We met with the Dean and then spoke with a panel of professors and students. It was quite interesting, although it all seems a little intense for me! The students do not stay on campus, they commute (usually living with their parents). Everyone rode bicyles to school and there were hundreds of them all over with no locks. It is a very trusting country!

We finally made it to our new home *Katsuyama New Hotel* around seven. The hotel is not as nice as the one in Tokyo, but it is very relaxing. There is a steam bath in the basement, massaging chairs and the best of all.....a washing machine! I needed new clothes very badly! Could you all smell me from Cleveland????? I ate dinner at the resturant with a few other lazy people (I just wanted to sleep!). Dinner was an adventure b/c the menu was in Japanese! I tried to order edemonmae, tofu (yum, yum!) and soba noodles.

Well....

I got edemenmae (my favorite new food...watch out Perry lunch room!), but the other two items were a bit different. The tofu came out in HUGE hunks about the size of drink boxes. They were on a mound of ice with harb garnishes. Interesting...

The worse was the soba noodles, though. They brought the bowl out and I look down and something on the top was slowly waving. I swear to god it was moving! I don`t know what it was, but it smelled like fish and I think it was slowly ending its life. I shoved the bowl away and threw a napkin on it. So much for being respectful in another country. Ugh!

Katsuyama looks like it will be really nice. It is very rural and peaceful; a lot different from Tokyo. I am afraid of what other goodies I will be enjoying!

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