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30 August 2009 @ 01:02 pm
Slightly delayed updates  
Hmmm...it's been longer than I meant to before posting this, but here we go.

--The Peace Festival was neat. I did not get there in time for the opening ceremonies, but I did get there for the survivor testimony. I was a bit wrong about it--it wasn't trasnlated, the people speaking knew English (to a greater or lesser degree). I got there 30 minutes after it started, and five people were supposed to speak, but three of them had already gone when I got there. The most memorable speech was the last one. The woman who spoke was 8 in 1945, and she mentioned how after the bombing, she ran back into the city looking for her older brother. She saw people who had been horribly burned lying on the ground, and as she came near, they said, "Water...please...I want to live." She ran and gave them some water, and they thanked her and then died. And for years, she had terrible nightmares because she was worried that she had killed them. :(

There was another display of newspaper articles and accounts from people. Pretty balanced perspectives over all except on Okinawa--something like 87% of Okinawas think the latest official textbooks which don't mention the Japanese military's roll in the deaths of Okinawan civilians (telling them that the Americans were going to rape them and eat their corpses, basically) were total bullshit, but the only perspective I saw in the display was that the Americans were horrible people because of what happened at Okinawa. Some bits had no translation of the account, either, which made me a bit suspicious. But other than that, it was quite good. One account even mentioned Nanking--a member of the Imperial Army who was downriver saw a huge black heap in the water, taking up almost the entire river. He thought it was trash, or building debris, but when it got closer he realized the entire river was choked full of bodies.

I left a message to be put in one of the candleboats on the river, but I couldn't stay long enough to see them.

-Our friends the Santas (三田, three fields) invited us to dinner at their house. They told us that they often have people over for dinner on weekends, which makes them incredibly strange by Japanese standards (many Japanese people are uncomfortable inviting other people to their house--if they want to have fun with friends, they'll meet in a neutral place like a restaurant instead). After some grilling about what kind of foods we like, they made tempura and sushi, which was pretty tasty. They also had natto for us, but this time I didn't think it--I suspect it was the sauce that they added to it, which seemed to remove the strong cheesy taste it had in the nattomaki we ate. We're having them over for dinner in a couple weeks and they'll get to try American food. I hope they like it.

-We went to the New York Bar in Hiroshima yesterday for lunch. Burgers, fries and pizza. It was interesting being in a restaurant that specifically billed itself as having "American food." It was really good, though.

-We went to a neighborhood festival last weekend--皆で手作り遊び大会, aka the "Let's Everyone Hand-Make Toys Together Gathering!" festival. They brought a bunch of bamboo and made stilts, airplanes, waterguns, etc. It was pretty fun--softlykarou and I tried to make origami frogs, but we failed hard once we got to the legs.

The other attendees asked us if there was anything similar in America (Chiyoda seems to have lots of small festivals). We said there was, though mostly either in larger cities (where you get neighborhood festivals and so on) or small towns.

-Work is going pretty well so far, though the commute is sad, as it always is. I got a present from one of my students from her trip to Fukuoka--that made me feel really happy. It wasn't anything major (just some tarako Pretz), but it was the thought that counts.
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: None
Jeb Boytarmadillo_king on August 31st, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
"Let's Everyone Hand-Make Toys Together Gathering!"
What an awesome name for a festival!