The group of friends in this picture is the group I used to teach on Wednesday nights. I only taught them for one year, but we became so close and traveled often. It was with this group that I took a lot of road trips in Japan. They even teased me on this visit how I don’t fall asleep in the car, but have wide eyes and look out the window (little do they know I’ve been that way all my life – ask my parents!).
With them, I saw the amazing thatched roof houses in Shirokawa, a much more rural part of Kyoto, went tonbodama hunting in Osaka and visited the old postal towns of Tsumago and Magome. We also had a cooking exchange; they loved the Mexican food I made for them!
With a jam-packed schedule for this visit, we had just one evening together. We organized a home party at Katsumi and Setsuko’s, the place where we used to gather for our class. I made guacamole, or as the Japanese love to call it, “avocado food.” Everyone made tasty dishes and Katsumi made sure there was plenty of beer!
I was, again, pretty surprised how much Japanese I remembered. They had lots of questions about my work and life in Vietnam. And for whatever I couldn’t say in Japanese (I can’t get too technical about what I do in Sales & Marketing….my Japanese definitely doesn’t cover that!), I used the white board. You would be amazed how pictures, even poorly drawn ones, help in getting your point across.
The next day, they drove me to the train station, and I’ll tell ya, all these terrific visits made it so hard to say ‘mata ne’ again. This is a special group of friends and I have missed them very much. It was wonderful to see them again!
Kanpai! – Katsumi, Michi, Setsuko, Machi, Emiko and Yuko. I love them!