Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 13, 14, and 15 - Meeting the Mayor, Iwate food, Koiwai Farm

August 11th - Too Much Brain Power and Meeting the Mayor

Today we completely stayed in the hotel. We spent the day discussing with our RT, and then mixing members for intertable presentations, and also having some fun with special topics. (One of which was "If all the Executive Commitee members were put in a survival situation, who would come out alive at the end?"). I would try to explain the story of survival we came up with but without the audience knowing the EC's real personalities it's kind of pointless.

While we stayed in the hotel the whole day, it certainly was not a boring day. The knowledge that floated around the room nonstop was contagious and at the end of the day, I'm sure our brain muscles grew even more....again. Wish you were there!

For dinner we hosted a reception where the Mayor of Nagasaki and other prominent government officials attended. We networked with them as well as other sponsors and had a great time learning about each other all the while eating amazing food. It was nice to see how we matured from being terrified kids to confident young adults. I certainly feel miles away from the teenager I was when I began this conference.

Afterwards we had reflection in a huge Tatami room. The stories we shared with each other only proved to bring us closer together.

August 12th

Travel Day

Bus to airport to Nagasaki. All in business formal. Oh yeah. Taking up half the small domestic airplane in our business formal wear, I'm sure we were quite a sight.

When we arrived to Nagasaki we headed straight to a reception where the Head of Iwate greeted us and welcomed us.(I still can't believe how prestigious JASC is.) A violinist played both the Japanese and American national anthem and we sang respectively to the melody. The Japanese voice was certainly louder than the American one. We were supposed to meet our host families at the reception but some of the families couldn't make it, including mine. But it was okay, it just made me even more excited to meet them later on. By the way, we had some amazing Chinese food made with the best seafood from Iwate. I think I gained 5 pounds that night. (Tried every single dessert on the table <3) *drools* =D

We finally reached our lodge at night where we settled into our comfortable tatami rooms. Girls were on the third floor while guys were on the second. Lugging the luggage (hah) up the floors at the end of a traveling day was tiring but I'm glad we all helped each other out. Another public bath site, but by now most of us are used to it and comfortable with each other.

Ready for tomorrow!

August 13th

We went to Koiwai Farm today!!!! Koiwai is a very famous brand in Japan and is known for their milk and dairy products. Oh, I also forgot to mention that right now in Japan it is Obon. Obon is a week where people get time off from work and return to spend time with their grandparents and family. Koiwai farm is like an amusment park for kids with horse riding, sunflower maze, human hamster balls rolling off hills, human hamster balls in pools of water, archery, souvenir shop, massive open green field, huge playground, and *sigh*, I wish I was a kid. All the local families there looked so happy and all the kids so cute, I had fun just
watching them. (While drinking Koiwai milk, eating 2 Koiwai Cheesecakes, and enjoying Koiwai ice cream) So worth the weight I'm gaining. Ofcourse all the dessert came after we had a BBQ lunch. This time it was a BBQ at a restaurant in the Koiwai farm. We had something called Yaki-niku, lamb meat. So fresh and yummy and ughhhh, so lucky. Top grade meat man, top grade meat. (Sorry vegetarians!)

After our free time around the amusement place, we had a guided tour by the most energetic funny tour guide ever. At random moments he would pop into this awkward pose and act cute. He's got to be at least 40 years old. We learned about the sustainable energy usage on the farm, saw a natural "refrigerator" (a little hill that uses the idea that heat goes up and cold air goes down - it can get to 5 degree celsius!), cows, historic farm buildings, and at the very last stop a beautiful path full of hydrangeas.

"Beautiful path full of hydrangeas" doesn't even begin to describe the last place. Standing at the beginning of the path and looking forward, it looked like a perfect beautiful painting. Tall trees that seemed to transcend to the sky embraced the single dirt path as if offering its protection. Hydrangeas - blue, purple, white, and pink Hydrangeas, lined the path that we walked. Other little beautiful flowers decorated the path as well and me being the romantic I am couldn't help but to collect the beautiful flowers and make a little bouqet. I was absolutely in love. The path was like a poem in itself.

The day ended and we headed back to our lodge, where we had dinner. I will never be able to understand how three little women can manage to make meals for all 70+ of us. I am deeply thankful to them for the yummy food!

After dinner a couple of us wanted to explore, so we decided to head to a book-off. A place where they sell secondhand books, manga, dvds, and what not. We were a lucky bunch because they were in the midst of a sale where everything was basically half off. I bought 11 Fairy Tail manga books for 13 dollars total. I still have no idea how I'm going to have room in my suitcase. Oh well. We had so much fun exploring the rural area and just talking with each other. Despite walking at night, I felt very safe.

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