Thousands of Miles from Home


Ahoy Matey!

My host mom doesn't like to brag about her english, but last thursday she was asked to be a judge for a junior high school english speech competition. That's saying something, if you ask me. I also attended the contest to lead group discussions with students following the speeches, and got to observe the speech contest as well. The students presented speeches either alone or in groups of two, and had to recite memorized pasages about certain topics such as "The Titanic," "Anime," or "Why do Mosquitoes Bite People?" (this was perhaps my favorite, involving dialogue between a human and mosquito) After all the speeches were given, I led discussions along with 17 other foreigners with kids in groups of 5 or 6, talking about myself, my country, and japan (however, when I asked for questions, both groups seemed much more interested in my personal life than my impression of japan). I also got to meet some of the other volunteers including a guy from Nigeria and a girl from Bosnia. As a thanks for coming, I got a free lunch and a personalized Tamano City toolbox, complete with ruler, scissors, bottle opener, and various allen wrenches (did I mention japan is awesome?)

This weekend Shoko went to Kobe because Miyu's college had a meeting about students traveling to America, so I was home alone with Masatoshi and Shun. In a seemingly unrelated topic, my house is next to a very large ship yard. On Saturday, Shoko's mother took me to the ship yard to see the launching ceremony for テクノスーパーライナ (Techno Super Liner) Ogasawara. This was great because the shipping yard is huge, with massive cranes and other machinery, so from the time I came to Tamano I have wanted to tour the place.

Tons of people had gathered for the event, including tv and newspaper crews. At the gate, everyone was handed a japanese flag to wave patriotically. Apparently, the Super Liner Ogasawara is either the fastest boat in Japan, or the fastest boat in the world, or something important like that. All I can tell you is that the thing is gargantuan. You could easily fit a few football fields inside of it. Shoko's mom and I arrived early to the event, so we got a good place next to the band and chatted while waiting for the ceremony to start. Around noon, a bunch of business executives from Tokyo were busses onto the site, and after some rousing dixieland tunes from the band, the celebration was underway. The president of the company which owned the boat said a few words, and a giant ball full of streamers that was attached to the side of the boat exploded with a huge bang. The band started playing and the crowd went crazy. Then, seemingly as quickly as they had come, the execs got back on the bus for Tokyo. I stayed around to take a few more pictures, then went back to my house for a lunch of curry-rice. At the gate on the way out I received a very informational packet about the ship, except completely in japanese. I did get a neat pen, though.

Shoko just came home from Kobe, so that's all for tonite.


  • say, does your mother still hang out at dockside bars....?

    By mimi, at 7:44 PM  

  • Ben,

    "something important"

    The techno Super Liner Ogasawara is "world's largest aluminum alloy ship." Very cool for you to be there, and the townspeople of Tamano must be crowing.

    By mom, at 7:49 PM  

  • Hey Mimi,
    Whenever possible...

    By Katy, at 10:01 AM  

  • hehe oops. I meant that as an allusion to something else, not as a personal comment. Should have specified :)

    By mimi, at 5:14 PM  

  • yeah totally a GI JOE reference. hoooooooooo

    By Benjamin, at 11:17 PM  

  • LOL

    By Katy, at 10:27 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home