Potato Bun
Kada Apartment, Fukuoka

Today I went with Nakahama to a cave way out in Kitakyushu. It was a good hour drive away, and we didn't have much time there, but it was pretty fun. It was a limestone cave, an underground stream. There wasn't much preservation concern like the ones in California and Oregon, you could touch whatever you wanted and there wasn't any underground life save for some moss growing under the fluorescent lights. You had to wear rubber sandals, because for much of the cave you actually walk in the stream itself. Not pretty so much, but lots of fun.

We had dinner back at Murata's house, and then I came here to Kada-san's house.

Kada Apartment, Fukuoka

Ms Kada put together a little bento for me today.

In the evening there was some sort of English teaching show on TV, where the people in the show would interview famous celebrities to test their skills.

Kada Apartment, Fukuoka

I went down to Kinokuniya books again today. This time I found where they keep all the Nikoli books.

I got one of the beeper RFID cards for the subway.

Kada Apartment, Fukuoka

I went to a baseball game! Really! The Fukuoka Hawks vs the Chiba Marines. It was a good game, the score was pretty even up until the end. We won, and they dropped fireworks from the top of the dome.

As well as Japan takes to American baseball, that stadium didn't have so much as a pack of peanuts, much less soft pretzels or nachos or hot dogs. They did have a lot of beer and dried squid, though.

Seriously, the dropped fireworks from the ceiling, and it exploded on its way down. That is so freaking awesome. There were Ouendan there too, though they were a little different from the dudes on the DS.

Also, today I got a bunch of mail. Thanks, Aunt Amanda, Blair, and Julia! Thanks, Dad and Jeanette! Thanks, uh, mystery someone in Nevada.

Kada Apartment, Fukuoka

Played futsal today. Lost again, still had fun.

Kada Apartment, Fukuoka

I went out with Mr Kada today and played tennis. Well, more of a batting-cage tennis machine. I can actually sometimes hit the ball where I want it now, a good improvement from the last time I tried a few years ago.

Kada Apartment, Fukuoka

Slept today. I went for a short walk, but there were a lot of stinky cars and people in a hurry. Not so relaxing. Speech is tomorrow. I don't think I'm ready at all.

Kada Apartment, Fukuoka

Today I put on a tie and gave my speech. This was way more formal than the one in Nagoya was, though maybe it just felt that way because I was a bit more nervous about speaking in Japanese. There were about 600 people.

I met a dude, Yu, who was (I would say) better than I am at juggling. He could do Mill's Mess, at least.

Aqua Liner
Kada Apartment, Fukuoka

Mr Kada took me out to Shikanoshima, a peninsula north of the bay. We went to the beach, a little shrine, walked around for a bit. I slipped on a wet rock and punctured my hand. Tip for future reference: keep open wounds away from salt water. Ow.

Went to a lookout point, too, though today was a little bit foggy.

Went to a rental shop with Shohei. A lot of the new release movies were cleaned out.

Kada Apartment, Fukuoka

Today Japan beat Korea in a 10-inning final game of the World Baseball Classic. That was exciting.

I walked East to Fujisaki, looking to visit the Go salon there. I found a sign saying that they're closed on Tuesdays. Walked west to Meinohama, found a couple game shops.

My Head Hurts.
Kada Apartment, Fukuoka

This was my only day in the office this week. Played futsal after. Pretty sick.

My host dad, also the head of Labo Kyushu, arranged an impromptu vacation to Hiroshima. All expenses paid. Sounded like a good deal, and after I (of course) agreed, he sprung a few catches. He planned out everything, and arranged a guide from the Hiroshima office. He wants me to write three reports on the trip. Specific ones, like "how does the Peace Park make you feel?" He's been pretty aggressive with this, too... clearly trying to show me something. I have a feeling that I'm not going to enjoy this.

"I hate war." "I hate past wars, future wars, and current wars." How do I make it plainer than that?

I've spent a lot of time reading about them, especially the important ones. I know they're bad. I do not support them. I know that it brings indescribable atrocities. I know about the holocaust. I know about internment camps, I know about Nanking, I know about Vietnam, I know about Darwin, I know about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No disrespect meant to the victims of this inhumanity, but I do not feel it's necessary for me to deeply examine these gross abominations. I have little desire to visit a holocaust museum and look at graphic photos, or to stand over a mass grave of bombing victims.

Especially when I'm racially expected to identify with those who committed said bombing. I do not.

Now, if only I could articulate that in Japanese. Fuck you, Enola Gay, you and everything you symbolize.

The Biggest Rice Paddle
Hotel Unizo, Hiroshima

Hey, it wasn't as bad as all that. Well, not for the reasons I was worried about, anyways. I'm getting sicker, my throat hurts.

In the morning I got on the Shinkansen, it took about an hour from Hakata to Hiroshima. There, I met Fukuyama-san and her 6yo son Ryo. We went together to Miyajima, which was an awesome shrine, probably the best I've visited yet. There were deer, there was water, there was even a wedding going on.

Fukuyama had to go to soccer practice, so I got to visit the Peace Park on my own. I only had two hours, which turned out not to be quite enough time to see the whole place. It's difficult to go through. I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know, but all the memorials, the names, and the survivor accounts made it a little bit more personal. If more world leaders visited this place in earnest, I don't think ending the threat of nuclear war would be quite so unrealistic.

In the evening I visited the Hiroshima Labo center, and went out to dinner with some of the staff.

Stayed at a hotel. I'm actually writing this tomorrow, I didn't have my computer with me...

Snow Redux
Camp Daisen

This morning I woke up with my throat feeling a bit worse. I went to the Hiroshima Labo center, where (after a vain bit of messing around with one of those arrange-irregular-blocks-into-a-cube puzzles) I met up with Mr. and Ms. Kada. We took off on a trip here to Daisen, one of the Labo Camps. On the way, we stopped at the place where Kada was born, his childhood home. Also, we stopped at a nursing home and visited his mother, now 86 years old. I got trotted out to juggle for everyone, I think they enjoyed it. One dude was 98, and he was still walking, with the help of a walker.

After that, we visited Izumo shrine. I understand it's one of the oldest shrines in Japan, and also used to be one of the tallest. They had this cool humungous thatch thing twisted and hanging from the ceiling, and you had to throw a coin and get it to stick inside. It took me two tries, and it took Kada five. By this point my throat was hurting so my I couldn't talk, but I did my best to enjoy the place while I could.

Now we're at Mt. Daisen, a ski camp. We're the only ones here, and Kada knows the owners personally, so it's quite homely despite being so big. I get my own room, even, a huge 8-mat tatami room. Now I'm going to sleep. I can talk, albeit faintly, so hopefully I'm getting a little bit better.

Six Hours of Pop
Kada Apartment, Fukuoka

I woke up this morning in Daisen, with a decidedly not better throat. I tried to go on a walk through the ski park, but the cold air and bright sun with all the snow exacerbated my headache and swollen eyes. I had to go back in and sleep.

Then we drove all the way back here to Fukuoka. Tomorrow I go to my new host family. All I really need is to sleep in and let my immune system do its thing, but it looks like that's not going to happen.

Amaya House, Kurosaki

Today I moved to my new, actual host family. They're pretty far from Hakata, so commuting is gonna be fun, but other than that they're pretty cool. They took me out to a soccer game; our team lost, but it was still exciting.

I'm still sick... I sound funny, my nose is constantly filling up, and I'm coughing. Still, I think I haven't come off too poorly.

Amaya House, Kurosaki

Today I went to the office. I came back, too, all without getting lost. I got a month-long pass, so now I can stop at any station on the hour-long route and check stuff out.

Amaya House, Kurosaki

Today I slept.

We went on a walk to my host sister Risako's, and host brother Naohiro's former, junior high school. It's spring break right now, so it was empty and we got to walk through.

Amaya House, Kurosaki

Visited Furuya party today, my first party visit in Kyushu. I think I probably could have done better; I'm still a little sick, and I'm a bit out of practice.

Didn't get home until nine, my hosts picked me up at the station because it was storming out.

Hikari no Mori
Amaya House, Kurosaki

I visited Toyonaga party way down in Kumamoto. Great party. Got home really late.

Amaya House, Kurosaki

After the office today I went to Yodobashi Camera and bought a mouse. They had, and I am not exaggerating, four entire aisles of mice, lined with demo models. I just needed a cheap one to replace the sentient ball-mouse at the Labo Center. I also stopped at the book-off near the bus stop here in Kurosaki.

Amaya House, Kurosaki

I thought about going out to a star party for the 100 hours of astronomy thing, but my host sister and brother had some lessons and were booked over it, not to mention it was cloudy anyways. Oh well.

Amaya House, Kurosaki

Today I went to my host brother and sister's hapyoukai. Spent a good five hours running around with a bunch of labo kids. A bit tired.

Amaya House, Kurosaki

I walked around the shopping arcades near Kurosaki station on the way home. I was clearly there at the wrong time. Most of the shops were closed, and there weren't many people. I did find a little shop with peanuts.

Crosswalk Hopping
Amaya House, Kurosaki

Today we went to the Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History. This area is known for its robotics industry, which explains the animatronic section of the museum.

Amaya House, Kurosaki

Today I visited the Daibutsu in Gion, a couple blocks from Labo center. Drank sickly-sweet holy water stuff.

Amaya House, Kurosaki

I visited Kawamata party today. Many kindergarteners. Preparing for okinawa trip tomorrow.