Friday, August 25, 2006

Shinjo Matsuri

These 2 pics are from a festival we just went to this weekend in the city next to us. The city is roughly 50,000 people and about 400,000 come the festival each year. All of the floats were decked out similair to this one but each a little different. Of course the ones I liked most turned out worst in the photos, so here's a devil one. The diference with american floats is that these are all pulled by people power. Several dozen pulling long ropes and a few pushing it. Attached to the back of it are drums people play, also traiditional flutes and guitars are played, each float has its own music, though they all sound similair. The family to the right are our next door neighbors, the Yaguchis. Actually, the parents are in the middle, the girl in black and the boy in blue aren't our neighbors, they are the relatives of our neighbors who just came for the festival. They are way too nice to us. Daily they either invite us over for food or bring us some. We haven't gotten our American packages of food we sent by boat yet, so all we have to give them are Jelly Bellies. They like them but its not really a fair trade. Anyway, they are super nice and have made life here a lot easier already. I'm sure we'll talk about them a lot more in the future so I thought I'd put up a pic of them.


This is were we live, at least our village.
I know there's not much to see, but really that's the extent of it behind the rice fields. You can kind of make out our house, but really not enough to try and point it out. Our Village is actually closer to a US county; it takes about 20 min or so to drive across it either way and there's a total of 5,000 people here in various pockets. Our pocket is the biggest b/c we have a post office (which each county is required to have), 2 restaraunts (both ramen) a small cornerstore, a gas stand and a shave ice place. There's a city of 50,000 ten minutes away, another of 100,000 50 min away (that's where we got to church), and another of 600,000 1.25 hrs away. So its not like being in the American frontier where civilization is hours away. Our house is 2 stories, but the bottom is just a garage. The upstairs consists of 2 rooms, a kitchen and bathroom. Crystal has already come to love the Japanese bathroom. The toilet and shower are at opposite ends of the house. The toilet seat is heated and has the water spray thing on it and the shower has a deep bathtub next to it. The only complaint is the kitchen. It is very small with no oven so we are making do with this small microwave/oven that covers basic needs. We also have a small car, and I mean small. A VW beetle looks large next to it. I think they said 55hp and I'm in 4th gear by 20mph. But gas here is about $6.00/gallon so it's better that way. Well that's the basics of our living conditions I guess, feel free to ask if you have any questions.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Nihon Yokoso!

Well, we are actually in Japan and everything is going very well so far. We spent our first few days in Tokyo where Crystal played with some friends from Hawaii that live here while I was at training meetings, but I did get to go out and play a bit; here's a pic from the famous Tokyo Tower we visited.