Sunday, August 10, 2003

number one

originally an email

Hello all!

Well, I've been in Japan for just under a week and a half now, and I seem to be adjusting quite well. The fact the I have some Japanese language ability has certainly eased my entry.

Now, while I have only been here ten days, it has been an incredibly busy ten days. Even now, when I finally get an opportunity to email, I only have 30 minutes until the school closes. This morning (Monday) I spent with the Junior High sign language club and a few deaf and or dumb people. At the local campsite we had a barbeque using locally produced charcoal. We cooked beef slices, and chicken, and pumpkin, and eggplant, and onions, and shiitake mushrooms; all of which we dipped in tasty red sauce. It was all delicious.

Maybe Japanese food will be alright after all. For a while I was quite worried about how I was going to cope. You see, back when we were in Tokyo we were served primarily western cuisine. At best, it was only so-so. Moreover, my one or two brushes with Tokyo fast food of the Japanese variety left me more concerned than excited. The first was a joint where you put your money in a machine, push the button corresponding to your meal of choice, and a ticket would be dispensed. Once you had aquired all the tickets you wanted (in my case two: a meal and a coke) you sat down and put your ticket on the edge of the table. A dude comes by, takes your tickets, and then brings your food. The food I picked was strange battered chicken with a poached egg on top tons of rice underneath. The second brush was a fast food sushi place; nothing much to be said about that. There were Mc D's and KFCs and Circle Ks and 7-11s and I imagine many other Western franchises in Tokyo, but after I discovered that there were no slurpees at 7-11...

But back to the Japanese food. On My first day in Tokushima I was picked up from the domestic airport by the principals of the JHS and the Elementary along with the superintendant, a Board of Education guy named Teranishi (more on him later) and the JHS teacher, Hitomi Nakanishi. All of them have kids my age. First they took me for a quick bite to eat at the airport: I had the best chicken fingers I have ever had. This was a good thing.
Then they took me to Kamikatsu towm (my town). After depositing my luggage at my apartment and introducing me to several local shopowners we went out for dinner at a little restauraunt with an amazing view; it was perched on the edge of a cliff. Very cool. The food? not so cool.

A man named David Payne once taught me a little prayer for missionaries who are served a meal they just cannot imagine consuming: "God, if I put it down, will you please keep it down." I prayed that prayer several times, especially when I felt that old fashioned gag reflex making a comeback. Thankfully, I managed to eat nearly everything, which really impressed them. "We've never seen a Westerner eat THAT before! Usually they can't handle it!"

Anyhow, my half hour is pretty much up, so I'll have to continue this later.


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