8/27 - Productive Week in my Motherland
At 2:10 pm on August 21st, I arrived at Narita airport in Japan. I had a few reasons to come to Japan. The main reason was that I had several tasks to do this summer, and I came to the conclusion that I could do only them here. I came via United Airlines and had to fly to San Francisco before coming to Narita, which meant that it was an extremely long and painful flight. I usually don't talk to anyone while I travel by plane, train or bus, because I love the solitude of travel, but strangely enough, I acquainted myself with several people this time. Two of them were a couple who live in Langley. We started the conversation about where the three of us live, and then, they told me the reason they were traveling to Japan. One of their sons lives in Mito, a city located in the north of Tokyo. Mito is a famous place for good natto ( fermented beans). I asked them if they knew that fact. They said "yes" as I had expected. It is a very famous product there. Then, I asked them another question, "Do you like it?" Again, their answer was as I expected. "No!" In fact, Westerners who like natto are extremely rare, and most of them think it stinks. As I got off the flight I sent them off with a hearty admonition to "Enjoy natto over there."
After I went through customs, I got a sim card from Soft Bank (major cell phone company there) and inserted it into my 3G cell phone. I went to the train station located under the airport and called my brother. (I had to do it from the platform before the train left, because calling in the train is banned in Japan). The train was late 30 minutes and it made me tired. After the train arrived at Shinjyuku station, I took another train to the station where I was to meet my brother. When I left Shinjyuku, the weather was extremely bad. There was a thunder storm and t lightening hit the electric wire that conducts the train. The train stopped for some time, I was frustrated and angry, because I had already had a long and tiresome trip. I wanted to scream, "Let me go to my brother's place so I can sleep!" Thanks to God, they fixed the problem within 20 minutes and the train was moving again. When I arrived at my brother's place, I was so exhausted that I went to bed right away.
Next morning, I went to the Japan Times, to meet someone there to discuss my ideas to create a new materials for my Japanese class. I established an e-mail address through which I can start a dialogue. It was just a beginning, but the visit was quite fruitful. On the afternoon of the same day, I went to the library of the Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, located in Mitaka area. I found several books on the topic I am engaging in the book I am writing. I picked three of them and copied several pages. Few days after, I went to Yasukuni Shrine, purchased a book to introduce what Yasukuni believes and collected several free pamphlets as well.
See Food Diet
I am thankful to God that I finished two major tasks in the same day. The only problem I encountered that day was that I had eaten too much. I had the "see food diet". I ate everything I saw. That day, I rode train for a long distance and walked a lot in many different areas of Tokyo. Japan has numerous types of "convenience stores". These stores are a very important part of ther culture. If you walk around a town, you will encounter one every 5 minutes. You might also encounter the temptation to walk in, buy, and eat the food there. I have to confess that I yielded to these temptations many times, and consumed many 'lunches'. I also had a chance to see many old friends and acqueintance in a short week. I had a feeling like a "time slip" or travelling to the past from a "time rift." However, when I looked at my watch, I was still in the late August of the year 2008. (The picture underneath was taken when I had a reunion with my very old friends).
Blowfish Meal: In the evening, I went to a blow fish restaurant named "Torafugu Tei". I ate "Fugu Meshi" or blowfish rice. It was shredded blowfish meat and skin, with ground taro root and egg yoke, served on a bowl of rice. The waiter asked me to mix it like Korean Bibimba before eating. I also had a chance to eat an appetiser of blowfish skin. The taste of both the main dish and appetiser was excellent! In my opinion it was a foretaste of the eternal Kingdom. I ate more than 5 times that day, but the only thing I could recall vividly was the delicious blow fish with that heavenly taste. I also discovered that my belt became a bit tighter that day. The following pictures are blowfish, rice and other delicious foods I ate after I arrived in Tokyo.