Sorry bloggy buddies, I haven't been very good about updating this lately. I'm still here, alive and well! There are two main reasons why I haven't been keeping this updated, and neither are very good excuses (but true!). 1. I have been SUPER busy the last three weeks, and will be for at least another week. 2. I've been doing/experiencing so many things, I have waaay too much to write about, and when I get overwhelmed with a task like trying to record it all, I procrastinate. Sorry.
I was going to recap the whole thing now, but that will take too long, so I'll do it in installments over the next little while. Here's the first one:
If you don't know who Sally is, you should - she's a good friend from Berkeley (now lives in southern California), and she's been one of my biggest supporters and closest friends (someone I talk to everyday) since I've been in Japan. This summer, she was lucky enough to be able to come to Japan for about a month to visit with her grandparents, and she spent about 6 days of that vacation up here, with me. The following are some highlights from that visit.
After meeting Sally at the train station, and a little Starbucks time, I took her on a tour of Senshu Park and the Akita castle ruins. Nothing super exciting, but the park was pretty and it was nice to talk and walk around. We had dinner and headed home to relax and watch Gilmore Girls dvds. Great!
The first full day she was here, we went to Shimoiwakawa Elementary School, and since it was my last visit to the school, we played games in class and did A LOT of running around at recess. (More on school good-byes in the next post)
From about 10:30pm-2:30am, we sang everything from Grease's "Summer Nights" to J-Pop, to Mandy Moore, to My Chemical Romance, with my friend Moto and his friend. Exhausting, but soooooo much fun!!
-Oga Peninsula tour
We visited the Namahage Museum, and had a picnic by the lighthouse while enjoying views of the Sea of Japan.
That night, there was a big BBQ at Christy's house, so Sally and I went and I was able to introduce her to most of my friends. She met Yuta and Tsuru - the guys with whom I always go bowling/play sports/karaoke, etc -, and all of my (and Christy's) English conversation class family. Sally got on especially well with my high school student/friend Izumi, and they decided to wear yukata together the next day to the dance festival.
-Yatose Modern Dance Festival (Akita City)
I don't think I've mentioned it on here, but I returned to dancing with the macarena ladies back in April, and Christy and I practiced with them twice a week to prepare for the Yatose Festival. It was a pretty big, two-day festival (we only danced on Sunday though) with teams from all over, 155 in total. We preformed our dance five times throughout the day in our silly costumes, crazy make-up, and ridiculous hair. Sally, Izumi, and Moto hung out together watching performances and I joined them every time I had a break. It was a long, tiring day, but SO much fun!!! Dancing for crowds of people was great, and having Sally there watching made me put even more into it! In the end, our team earned second place in both the Viewer's Choice and the over all competition!! So great!! After we all changed back into normal clothes, we had dinner together and headed home. Sally and I watched a movie and stayed up late, despite being wicked tired (well, we did that EVERY night she was here!).
-Tazawako, Kakunodate, and mountain driving
We got up early, and headed out on a crazy backroads drive through the mountains down to Tazawako. The mountains were beautiful, and with Sally being a great DJ/co-pilot (feeding me snacks and water as well as reading the map!), the the two+ hour drive went by quickly. We drove around Lake Tazawa, stopping for pictures and souvenirs at all the appropriate places. It was a gorgeous day and the lake was craaaaazy blue! Next we headed to Kakunodate, where we ate lunch at a great little cafe, toured a samurai house, and ended up in a park outside a museum. Neither of us felt like visiting the museum, so we sat in the park, napped on the benches, and took lots of silly pictures.It was a really relaxing afternoon. For the return trip, Sally opted for an even longer mountain route home, so we drove through the pretty pretty mountains on the border of Akita and Iwate. It was great. When we cut back west toward the coast and my house, we drove on this tiiiiiny windy road with NO traffic on it. It was slow going, but we had fun. Parts were a little scary, because there was construction going on, and we'd drive past it to see that part of the road had collapsed/landslid down... Luckily, we arrived home safely (even though I had to stop the car at one point because we were laughing so hard, I couldn't drive). We stayed up REALLY late again.
Sadly, the last day had come. We drove to the station in the morning, leaving enough time to take purikura (those little sticker pictures), which turned out great. Saying good bye was sad, though. We had SOOOOO much fun in such a short amount of time, when I got home, everything felt so quiet and empty.
You can't tell from these terse descriptions (or maybe you can), but we played waaaay hard while Sally was here. There wasn't a lot of sleep combined with a LOT of activity. The day after Sally left, I went back to school (exhausted and sore all over), but about halfway through, I started to get reeeeally shiver-y and I almost fainted. I finished my classes for the day in the morning, so the rest of the day I sat at my desk going from shivering cold to sweating hot. I definitely had a fever. I finally made it to the end of the day (I had refused the teachers' offers to go home early and stuck it out), and I passed out for a few hours. I woke up, and since it was Wednesday, my autopilot kicked in and I went to Ikawa eikaiwa. Everyone in class was saying I didn't look well and they too, decided I had a fever. My friend/student Hisashi is a pharmacist, and after class he offered to take me to get some medicine. He set me up with some fever reducers, and one sleep-inducing muscle relaxant. I got home, took the medicine, and slept aaaaaall night. The next day, the fever was gone, the soreness was gone, and I was just little tired. Besides the tiredness I was fine, and recovered fully in the next few days. I don't know if I caught some strange flu or what, but my theory is that I just totally, totally exhausted myself during Sally's visit and my body needed to recoup. hahaha not many people can claim they've played so much they gave themselves a fever!! :D