Kon ni chi wa! Genki desu ka? (Hello! How are you?)
Today is a free day with our host family in Utsunomiya, Japan. My host family is actually from a “small” town call Yaita. It is about 45 minutes away from Utsunomiya. I say “small” because they called it a small town, but there were 30,000 people in the population. When you looked outside there were rice fields all around. There was also a factory and a golf driving range. Our host father liked golf so he pointed this out very early in our stay.
Today our host father decided to take us to the Music Festival which is held in Utsunomiya. He was very excited to tell us that some of his friends would be performing there.
Like many cities in America we had to park in a parking ramp, then we walked to the closest performance stage. The first stage we went to was stage B. There was a saxophone ensemble playing accompanied by guitar, keyboard, bass guitar, and drum set. This group was older, but very good. This group played jazz that even I recognized. One of my favorites was Moon River.
The next group that came out was much younger. They were very loud and modern. We didn’t get to watch them much which was upsetting for me because they had a trombone soloist. But that’s okay. We were moving to a different stage to watch our host father’s friends perform.
When we got to the next stage a girl was trying to perform Taylor Swift. About half way through the song she sat down on the stage and her family brought her water. My host sister, You, explained that the girl had anemia. They ended carrying her off the stage and she passed out. My host mother, Midory, is a nurse so she went over to her to assist. The ambulance was called and they took her to the hospital.
His friends performed j-pop, which is very different from jazz. One of them wore a silver jacket but half way through their gig decided to take it off and attempt to throw it at us. This didn’t work out very well. It ended up on the edge of the stage. My host family kept trying to explain what the songs meant, and they thought it was really funny to explain an affair.
We went to lunch at a very small restaurant in a mall called Tobu. My family ordered me fried shrimp and rice. The dish is called Ebi Tem Dom, meaning shrimp fried rice bowl. On Aiumie’s plate, the 5 year old, she had a cheese doughnut that had an American flag sticking out of it. The family thought this was funny.
After lunch we went back to the house. When we arrived our host father told us to go nap for two hours. And when we woke up You’s English teacher was there. She was going to have dinner with us. Jennie is from Australia, and she has been in Japan for three years teaching English. In August she will be moving to Canada for a new job. You would like to visit her sometime and then come to Iowa to visit Wartburg College.
For Dinner we had what the family called Japanese pancakes or Okonomiyaki. It was very good. There is batter with cabbage and then ham is on the top with shrimp. It was very delicious. The family drizzles soy sauce over the top and then dips each bite into mayo. We then had Gyoza and Soba. Dessert was interesting Jennie brought a pumpkin pie for us to eat and Midory made whipped cream to put on top. We also had strawberries which were Aiumie’s favorite.
We took family photos tonight. We tried using the timer non the cameras, but many times like in the movies it was hard to get the timing just right.
Overall my stay with this family was amazing. It was hard to say goodbye.
Mata aimasyou! (See you later!)