Monday, March 1, 2010

Smiles all round

Over the last two days a couple of things have occured that have once again made me smile and think about how lucky we are to be here and experiencing some cool stuff. A lot of what we see and do no normal tourist can experience.

On Monday it was school graduation. All of the 3rd grade students have finished their 3 years at senior high school and are now embarking on their new lives. Graduation is a BIG deal in Japan and from what I can gather easily the most important moment in the lives of these young Japanese rascals. It was so important in fact that Sunday (my day of rest, relaxation, recreation and recuperation) was set aside as practise day! You can imagine the smile on my face at 8am Sunday morning. Anyway with Sunday over the real ceremony was on Monday at 10am, with everyone seated at 9.55am; parents waiting, students anxious, me wondering if I should have gone to the bathroom or not and just the general hype of such an occasion things were ready to go! But no, we sat in the semi dark, watching the clock until 10..... then bang! It was go time.

The ceremony was a great insight into the old school traditional Japan, one not always obvious in everyday life. It was run like a military exercise with all the long and emotional speeches one would expect. There was quite a lot of bowing, crying, singing, a thunderstorm (outside) and even a power cut just to make things exciting. I wish I had photos to show but I believe I would have been shot if I stood up with my camera.

After this (jumping a few hours and a long explanation about how I am now in the processes of getting a Japanese drivers licence) my supervisor and I went out in search of an instant picture machine, after finding one and having my pic taken he offered me a drink from the vending machine. I ended up with a hot can of coffee. How awesome; hot, can, coffee. Who would have thought it was possible. I have seen heaps of these all over Japan but not being a huge coffee drinker I never take much notice. That has now changed. We sat in his car and drank our coffee while he made jokes using the word 'cheers'. "Cheers to your pictures", "Cheers to us", "Cheers to graduation". I wonder if he got one with alcohol???!
The English on the can tells us "This coffee is dripped one by one person by one"

Tuesday, today, and I have the day off. I caught the train to Oita and had to get re-entry permit for my passport as well as paying a deposit for flights to China. On my way home and in desperate need of a haircut I stopped at a local barber just down the road. Interrupting his TV watching time he proceeded to cut my hair, pausing every 3 mins to listen to an explanation about how a tsunami is caused.

I love Japanese haircuts. Here is a highlight real of today's experience; forehead shaved, back of the neck shaved, the inside,outside and lobes of my ears shaved, a 20min old school style beard shave complete with really sharp blade and man wearing a face mask, hair washed, shampooed, conditioned, face moisturising and head massage. 1 hour of relaxation and money well spent.

To top it all off the trees are blooming! Not long until the famed cherry blossoms come out!


fergies said...

Hey Nath, book me in for lobe shave-I can hardly wait!!! Dxx