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Published: March 5th 2006
The weekend after our Hiroshima Jeff and I did a little "Island Hopping" around the Seto Inland Sea, just off of Hiroshima.
Orientation was actually very important, as we met all the other JETs and learned about life in Japan (basically learned all the stuff I needed to and missed bc I went sightseeing in Tokyo. We learned how to take care of the tatami mats, avoid cockroaches, and why the heck there is a huge raised yellow line in the middle of the sidewalk (its for the blind people!! All along I thought it separated the bike path and walking path!!). Of course we had some time to drink and get to know each other...alcohol seems to help loosen up everyone and we got to know each other a lot quicker.
After the orientation I went to Jeff's apartment to stay for the weekend and go "island hopping." On Saturday we headed to Etajima. It is one of the big islands off of Hiroshima Port. Now, Jeff and I had spent most of our time in the city doing orientations or at our schools with our supervisors, meaning we were around people that spoke English. Out on the
always up for a good time. Jeff, me, and Brian
islands it was a different story. We were lost souls. Konnichiwa and hajimemashite were not going to help us get to the beach we intended to swim at or help us buy food. Good thing Jeff and I both did an emphasis in Spanish for PEIS. No one spoke Spanish either :-). Fortunately this Japanese guy from Tokyo helped us out. We also ran into fellow JETs, Jody and Jason. We headed for a quick swim to get out of the humid weather.
After the swim we headed to the onsen next door. An onsen is a natural spring bath, similar to the ones in Hungary. There are separate baths for girls and guys. I was with 3 guys, meaning I was going into the girls side by myself....dun dun dun!!! When there is a lack of communication and a bit of confusion, I just tend to follow what everyone else is doing. I tried to ask a lady where to get a towel, and she thought I was telling her to go back to the bath and dry off more because she was getting me wet. Man I felt bad. I stripped down to nothing and
Jeff and Alan at the Enkai
made my way into the communal area. I just had this feeling that all their eyes were on me thinking "so that's what they look like!!" Because at the same time, I was thinking "so that's what they look like." There were hot pools, cold pools, baths with jets...it was pretty darn nice. part of the bath was outside and you could peak out into the sea (of course they could not see you!). Afterward the boys and I met up for a fabulous dinner where you can point at a fish in the center of the restaurant and they can cook it for you. Talk about fresh fish.
Sunday Jeff and I headed to the famous Miyajima. It is considered one of the 3 most scenic spots in all of Japan. With all the temples and the floating red torii, I can see why so many people want to come here. That night was the annual fireworks show. We decided to get there early and check out the island. It was so freakin humid it was hard to move. We did go see some stuff, but decided we would come back when it was less humid. The last
time I felt that gross was in third grade at Mt Vernon (family you will remember that awful feeling). The island is full of deer that will eat anything. You never want to leave your stuff sitting around because the deer will eat it. At the festival many women and men (and some pets) were wearing yukatas, summer kimonos. I have decided I really want one. The fireworks were amazing! The best I have ever seen! I will try to put a photo up but it will not do it justice! All in all it was an incredible weekend.
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