Saturday, December 20, 2003
Ok, so I JUST got back from Hiroshima last night. It was so awesome. I took so many pictures, mostly of people who wanted there picture with me... :) yes I had a line going at one point, it was the best. I gave 5 speeches during the conference that problem made me really popular because everyone knew me the fist day the first night after the first meeting. I filled up my Palm with pictures and had to delete programs to make room for them. I'll update the picture site really soon with pictures, maybe even this week! IT takes a long time to make pictures small enough for everyone to see them, you have get them off the device, then you need to rename them to something other than a data and time, then you got to resize them to really small "thumbnails" for previewing, after that too must make another copy that is good quality and small for people who use a modem to see. Then the hard part is putting the website together, but last time I was smart and mad it really easy to update, still a lot of typing though. And you all know how good my typing are. ;P
Ok, at 7:40 on Wednesday I got on the train with 5 other students and a teacher from Kokako. I was the only exchange student. 2 hours on the train and we had to run to the next gate, the shinkansen. (Bullet train) we got on and sat down and it started to move, it wasn't the close, but it was closer than safe. The shinkansen is really cool, it is like a 747 except the seats have a LOT more room, I can fully strech out my legs and still have a little room. The windows are huge too, you can see everything really well when your not in a tunnel, we were going about 180 m/h 300 k/h is what I did in my head. After we got to Hiroshima we took a streetcar and had to stand for half an hour to get to the Hiroshima port. From there we took a boat to an island and that took 20 minutes. There were all kinds of exchange students and Japanese on the boat all students I suppose. After we got to the island me and Australian named Beven we talking quite a lot by now. we got on to separate busses and the one our group choose was already full so we had to stand, after a couple minutes I noticed there were seats that fold down in the isle so we could finally sit for the next half hour. I sat next to a guy named Ate from Holland; we talked the whole way there. The conference took place at an old Japanese military base that had been rebuilt and made into a conference center.
At the conference we paid and registered then headed of to our rooms. I called the bed in the cornor and just to make sure I put an American flag over it, more as a joke than anything, so than when others that were staying the same room came in they knew that there was an America there too. Turned out that Ate would stay in the same room at me and the rest were Japanese. The fist thing he said when he came in was "who just died"? The way my flag draped over the blankets in the center of the bed mad it look like a casket....
There was a speech and opening ceremony that wasn’t all to interesting except that it was all English and there was a British guy that spoke Japanese like a native and had a British accent. He has been in Japan for 10 years now.
After was Ice breaking we were divided into groups and played games ageist other groups, Ate also was in my group as well. (Pronounced AH Tay) we had this huge trivia game too we where asked questions about countries and had to run to the flag of that country, and I you got it wrong you have to sit out. Fun really. I and Beven hooked up for these games and I couldn't convince him that hippos are dangerous so we lost.
Then next day was the most interesting, we had a HUGE "eaaster egg" hunt, I can't think of the right words. We were again in groups but different small groups from the last time; I was the only guy and the only exchange student in the group. We were given a topographic map and had to copy down the points of another map. At these points were signs that had a Katakana sybol on them and we had to copy down the symbol. I was the only one who could read the topographic map so I took lead and made it to point 1 with ease. We were the first to start as well. After that we headed out and an hour later we turned around and went back. Not before ending up in and orchard and one of the girls pealed an orange and passed around the pieces. Very good! Mmmmmm, fresh orange. we got to point one and figured out that we missed a turn, it was really hard to see from were the paths came together, I had started going down that path earlier but after going little ways I thought it wasn’t a path.
Once on track the rest was easy...er. We had to climb a rain ditch type ting to get to the first point and it was really hard. later going down was even worse and i had to wait 10 minutes for the girls to catch up. Next were just lots of trying to run, noone else was genki and had given up after being so far behind. We... I climbed a "small" hill to get the next sign while they were catching up and when I returned everyone was gathered, the next sign was far way and it took a while to get to but it was in plain sight. The English teachers that are from other countries, (ALTS) (Daniel sensei at Kokako is an ALT too.), were hiding along the paths and had bonus questions that you can gain extra points for right answers. The fist one was what was the name of the holiday for opening of spring in English? I had my dictionary (PALM) with me and that was an easy answer.
We saw another par of ATLs so 4 people waited in line for the question and me and one other when for the next sign witch was really close. And coming back the question was hard, pop culture of Australia.... we got it though. Then we had to go for a ways more and find the next sign that was easy to see, aft that My group was goanna stay and wait in a long line for a bonus question as I when t up a really steep hill to get the next sign, but after I when a little ways the decided to follow, and we had to wait forever to get eh next bonus question witch was easy, I don't even know what we had to do. But I knew the answer to the question and we left. We had to do a small rock clime for the next sign and there was many groups waiting for the bonus question here. we skipped it for now and went for the next sign, We had to clime a lot bore rocks and it took them a long time to get up, I some how found a lot of energy in the competition and was running and climbing and thing at full speed. It was amazing, we mad it to the top of this hill and there was no sign, well, lets keep going, and we went up another bath and people were coming VEER YSLOWLY down this rock climbing thing. We had to go rock climbing to get the next sign. It was so awesome! I loved it but it took the rest of the group about 15 minutes to get up so I posed in a million pictures and talked with other groups to delay them for a while, I had the next sign already. We were on the top a mountain and could see other mountains and island sand stuff. But we had another sign to get and I was going fast, I went back to the bonus question n that we skipped and waiting, it was a puzzle and there was no time so we rushed and failed. The last sign was easy and I knew where to go it was near the building we started at.
We ended up with 120 points in the end. The last place was 30 and first was 180. I though \t that was good scince we had an hour delay beingin lost. I wish we had a compass, it would have been so easy with one....;P
In the afternoon we had 3 hours to come up with a skit to perform at the closing ceremony, I came up with the Idea people added to it. At fist it was funny we just had a brain storing session and I made a good idea but had problems ending it and kept ending everything with "and a samurai jumps out and cuts him in half." every time I said it there was more and more laughter too. When I can up with the good idea that we would use the ALT that was "in charge said, "no we aren’t cutting him in half" thinking that was what I was goanna said.
At the rotary conference before I to Japan we were told a story about the worst travel experience ever, so this it what we based the idea on. In the end the curtains didn't close and it was just another skit, but other groups had really good ones. One was a bank robbery and by far the best. They use the matrix and star wars and some other movie witch I don't know the name of in it. It was nifty.
Next day we left after I gave yet another speech. It was really bad, I did it on the spot. I also had a speech during the opening ceremony, I did small couple lined during the conference as well that totaled up to around 5 speeches. We took a ferry back to the main island I think that we missed our boat.
And had to take another one. The closing simony type thing took 30minutes too long.
Everyone split up after getting off the bus and our original group of 6 students and one teacher got on the tram. We went to a bus station and put our bags in some coin operated lockers and ate lunch also took 10 minutes longer than expected, we had to wait a long time for them to cook the food. So after that we didn't have time to go to the museum in Hiroshima for the A-bomb, but we did see the A-dome and a couple other small things. Also went into the remembrance hall on our way back to the station. I took many pictures after deleting some programs that were on my palm for space.
We got into the station and my and the other guy and the teacher went straight for the lockers, all the girls went straight for the stores to get gifts. After waiting for about 30 seconds I got all of there locker keys and grabbed there bags for them. We ran to the escalator and down to the street. The light just turned red to cross the street so we went under ground and came up in the middle of the street to wait for the tram. After getting to the train station we had 4 minutes to find out train. RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just held out all my tickets and the guard guy stamped them. My and the guy in our group were running to the gate, we knew what car and gate. Somewhere he got left behind and I was at the top looking at the empty shinkansen in bewilderment as everyone caught up. Another train pulled up on the opposite gate on the same platform. The teacher realized they mush have switched the gates from the time we bought the tickets. We started running to the opposite side of the platform, at some point they got on the train and started to walk though all the cars until they made it to the car 13. I just realized it was number 13.... That is funny. I ran all the way to car 13 and got in, sat down and waited fro them to walk though the cars. The Shinkansen doesn’t go to Kumamoto, so we have to switch trains. At this stop we had 10 minutes. We made that one with 1 minute before the train arrived. Gate 7 car 6.... But then a complication raised THERE IS ONLY 4 CARS!!!!!!! Everyone got on anyways, we had to stand for 1.5 hours until enough people got off to open seats. Many others were standing as well. The train was 20 minutes late getting to Kumamoto.... what an adventure.
As you can tell by how much I typed(and typed) I enjoyed this VERY much. Thank you mom for the cash to pay for it!
If you read this far... wow, I’ll have pictures up in a short time, I need to get them off my palm anyways. It may take a week at the most I think.