When I met my professor, Tezuka Sensei, he invited me to a cherry blossom viewing party, and I agreed to go. Not knowing where to meet him or what time, we parted our own ways. Somehow we ran into each other on campus and I asked him how it was all going to work out. He told me that I would meet a tall Chinese man with a wife that will take me to a colleague’s house who would take me to the party. This seemed extremely sketchy and problem ridden. I later met the tall Chinese man, Li, and ended up making plans to ride bikes to our ride’s home. The next morning, the Chinese couple came to my dorm and we began our journey to the party. We had to use two bikes to get three people to the house. Two people on a bike is illegal in Japan, so we had to be careful, stopping every once and a while to avoid the police. After a 45 minute ride, we arrived at the place where we would take a car to the mountains. There, I met a really cool Korean girl that spoke great English, so I did not have to be a mute all day. We took off in a crazy Japanese van with automatic curtains and made it to the mountains in around thirty minutes. There, my sensei’s family and friends along with the Chinese couple, the Korean and I began to munch hardcore on some great food. We ate with chopsticks that were freshly cut from bamboo chutes just minutes before. The custom seemed to just pull all of the meat right off of the grille so that is what I did. Some of the most delicious meats I’ve ever had. Also, I had what the Japanese call “Nabe.” It is a very meat heavy, spicy soup. Amazingly delicious. There was one meat that I had no desire to try, but was forced to by a crowd of Japanese people anxiously awaiting my reaction to the taste. That meat was raw deer. All that I can say is that I am lucky to have not thrown up on everybody and ruined the party. I kept it down, and have had no symptoms of disease or sickness since, so I think I am fine.
The party continued with some live Oriental music (see the pictures) and ended early because of the rain. The old man with whom we arrived was responsible for getting us back to the city, but was a bit too inebriated to drive. A little scared, we headed back on the ride of a lifetime. Right away, we became lost…with a GPS. I don’t know how, but it was no fun turning around in ten different driveways. Later in the drive, the old man became sleepy, so we pulled over and let him rest for a few minutes, while we blared children’s music and let the cold air blow through the window. Everything seemed good, and we were back in the city and then all of the sudden, the entire van scrapes along a wall that runs parallel to the road. Scary. We made it back although there were a few intense moments.
We relaxed in a sweet Japanese home for a while, and then out of the blue, a man with amazing English, invited me an Uchan, the Korean girl, out for dinner. Sounded good to me, so we agreed. He served us well, filling the huge table with all kinds of really good meats and Japanese noodles. The night ended at 1 AM when Uchan and I grabbed a taxi back to the University. What a day.