Fourteen Year Old Girl With Dark Hair And Green Eyes Japan Travel – Rotary Group Study Exchange Goes to Japan, Article Two

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Japan Travel – Rotary Group Study Exchange Goes to Japan, Article Two

The international organization known as Rotary promotes annual trips that all people between the ages of 26 and 40, men and women and of all backgrounds should know about, as it is a six-week study funded by Rotary, and anyone can apply to be a part of it. from this significant life experience. If you’re in that age group, you might enjoy the kind of experience described in my notes in this article. To learn more about the program, go to the international Rotary website and search for GSE – Group Study Exchange – and contact your local Rotary club for more information.

Our adventures continued:

From April 13 to Wednesday:

No, this Rotary club doesn’t have any women or speak English – and they translated my speech on a mobile phone – it’s an experience. After Mrs. Tanaka served me a great breakfast – she said the coffee was from Seattle, the cereal from Switzerland, the jam from Germany, the almonds from California and the balsamic from somewhere else – the avocado must have been from here – Mr. Tanaka and I drove about 40 minutes to the rural town of Ukiha to visit the Rotary Club of Ukiha. I laughed even though I don’t understand the language – going to a Rotary meeting is like going to church because they do it in the same format all over the world.

This club had about 40 members – and like others, they open the meeting with a song – in Japan, what we know as Glory, Glory Hallelujah, which they consider a religious praise. Tamaki Oi came with us and it was fun to meet her as she will be on the incoming team when this district sends their team to us next year. The drive down and back reminded me of the drive to Gilroy from home in California – two mountain ranges on either side, one more rolling and velvety, the other sharper mountains, with green fields in between. It’s expensive to belong to Rotary in Japan—they tell me their dues are $250 a month—but they don’t do fund-raising projects, they write checks. Mr. Tanaka asked me to speak about the inclusion of women – imagine my reluctance – and he says this is the theme of their governorship. So – I took questions at the end of my talk – and one guy asked me if I knew about the Soroptomists – in other words, women could join this club.

Yahoo…tonight we’re going to the famous hot springs – I’d love to see all the hot springs in Kyushu, and I understand there are a lot. It helps me recover from jet lag.

As the evening wore on, it was delightfully inspired when the girls – Teiko Tanaka, her daughter, Ai and I went out for dinner. We went to a French restaurant that served us one nice selection and then another. The dishes here – and the small dishes that please the eye and the palette with thoughtful details – are both French and Japanese cuisine. We talked at length about the role of women in Japanese society and the changes taking place. The women here see the same dilemmas and are worldly women with a cross-cultural perspective. The conversation continues with a long soak in the hot springs, a charming place nestled in the mountains and overlooking the valley. First we shower as is customary and then we go outside to a shallow pool with large boulders surrounding it to form a mineral water pool. It’s good to swim close. It’s 1:00 PM when we fall into bed. The rest of the team has also had a good day.

From April 14 to Thursday:

A really full day is expected today – a day of excursions. We gather at about 10:00 at Izumi’s house and the team is happy to see each other after yesterday’s walk. We get into Hiroshi’s (Mr. Tanaka’s) Toyota minivan and set off. First stop is Tanoshimaru at the Wakatakeya Sake Brewery. We sit in Japanese style around a large brown wooden table, in the middle of which is a Japanese flower arrangement – a large bowl with camellia branches and pink flowers. What they serve us is delicious and made from sake production – for example, the soup was made by separating the rice and sake, and the dessert was plum, which was also from making sake. The sweet little cups are filled with clear sake – and later unfiltered – which we all agree is the best, and we all took bottles home from the shop for later.

We drove for about forty five minutes and headed to Akizuki and the castle ruins there. Wonderful – it was a wonderful town and we walked down the market street which was lined with cherry blossom trees. There were merchants and charming shops all along the way, as well as the stone walls and bridges of the old castle. We stayed for a while and got to know the peaceful nature of the village, walked up the long stairs through the old castle gate, took a lot of pictures because it was so beautiful, laughed and enjoyed being together. Cherry blossoms floated down in the wind like snow, and the green hills were vibrant. We stopped at an ice cream vendor because he thought Antonio was Tiger Woods and everyone laughed. We commented that we enjoyed life in Japan.

From this street, we boarded the Takagi Kyusuke Shoten to go to Kuzu-kiri. If you’re wondering what it is, it’s a noodle made from the root of a tree, which is a starch, and you dip it in a molasses-type broth to eat with chopsticks. It was a famous little shop and we enjoyed tea with Kuzu-kiri – and as Izumi said, this is the real Japan. We are blessed as we begin to realize that we are seeing things that are only possible because this is the home of our hosts who know where all the good things are and show us the inner parts of their culture and land. As we hit the road again, leaving Akizuki, we stop to take in a thousand-year-old bridge and the water flowing over the rocks below, with rich greenery touching the edges.

A little less than an hour in the car again – and we arrive at Dazaifu, the very famous Dazaifu Shinto shrine. We learn that Shinto is not a religion, but a way of asking for more intelligence for the mind. We are treated to an unusual experience – we walk up the side stairs onto the floor of the shrine with all the decorations before us – and Izumi has arranged a special ceremony for us with a priest. It’s a blessing, and since it’s in Japanese, we don’t understand what they’re saying, but they bless some palms and invite us to place them on the alter. We stopped at the head of the shrine to see the “flying plum tree” (because legend has it that it flew there from another island) and a thousand-year-old tree with a huge base. And then walked across the famous bridge back to the village.

Now we went to dinner – I thought that until today the Japanese did not eat so much. We drove again for an hour to Ogori – to Ogori Tsuzumi. This was a special event organized by our hosts. It was not a restaurant as advertised – it is a hobby of a man who was the president of a well-known company for ten years, who retired and now cooks for special groups. We were warmly welcomed and entered into a room with Japanese-style tables. First we were going to learn how to make soba noodles – and with a big bowl in front of him, we were invited to join the chef to start with buckwheat flour, add water, mix to the consistency of cornmeal, knead – and then roll with buckwheat flour. stick until very thin, cut with a sharp knife – to make noodles. The cook was very precise about the thickness and squareness of the dough. Harry, Monica, Julia, Antonio and we all took turns getting ready. Harry learned to feel the dough to see if it was the same thickness.

Then dinner – starting with sake poured into a bucket for dipping with a ladle, and the many plates that follow – highlighted by soba noodles. The plates were particularly beautiful and the sake cups were brightly colored – and we filled each other’s cups. At this point we’ve been sitting on the floor Japanese-style for about four hours – and our American bottoms and hips are groaning as we observe how comfortably our Japanese hosts sit. We have a lot of laughs at dinner as Hiroshi does amazing magic tricks that keep us all spellbound. How did he do it? Dollar bills floated from one man’s hand to another – and the chopstick moved on the table and he didn’t even touch it – and as he held Julia’s watch in his hand, concentrating hard, the time had moved forward an hour – and the spoon bent when neither of us could to move

In this group we don’t have to understand all the conversation because there is only good humor and fellowship. The chef is thrilled that we are delighted with his creations and everyone bows many, many, many times as they walk out the door. It has been a day that no tourist would have come across – and it is only thanks to the gift of the Rotary network – and each member of my team separately makes this comment to me – that we have experienced this incredible day.

This article is a series – so read on – and many more days to come on our great adventure!

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