I’ve been pretty busy for the last two weeks, trying to adjust to my new teaching schedule! This is a long weekend with Respect for the Aged day on Monday!
Running in the 90s
Three days ago, I got a car from the mythical figure ebachan. I specifically asked for a turbo charged kei car, so I could go explore the mountains of Gunma.
He gave me a list of warnings, since many ALTs tend to wreck his cars in various and interesting ways, most having to do with the fact that Japan drives on the opposite side of the road compared to certain other English speaking countries like America. I assured him that I’d been driving since I was 15. In the 15 years that I’ve been driving, I have only been in a handful of accidents. I had also just recently been living in North Hollywood, with some of the most aggressive drivers I have ever experienced. LA traffic is no joke. (Actual footage of rush hour in LA.)
I took my car out the first night to get a feel for the controls. My JTE (Japanese Teacher of English) assured me that Japanese people rarely honk. I tried to go down a narrow road in my neighborhood, but another car was on the other side, so I backed up, and as I was doing so, she honked at me. I was immediately furious. I was later introduced to the idea that there is such a foreign concept as a thank you honk. In fact, many Japanese drivers will hit their hazards for a second to say thank you as well.
Take Me Home, Country Roads
I’ve also had a fascination with Shimonita, since it is at the other end of the private train which I used to take to go to my school. It is also deep inaka. I’ve been planning on visiting my friends from Shimonita ever since I met them at the Tomioka dinner last month. I told some of my JTEs that I was going to Shimonita for the long weekend and they said, “Why?”
With my new turbo kei-car, I decided to head out early in the morning, excited to drive those country roads. I discovered quickly that my radio’s volume button was broken, so I ended up singing acapella Country Roads until I remembered I have a phone that can also play music. I finally arrived to Shimonita and was amazed at the beauty of the town.
Vibrations Table Finally Music Festival
From the website:
It is event running plan by volunteer led by the cause of concept, “oscillation (vibration) will do peaceful music by outdoor festival of no charge for admission to be able to enjoy from hill (table) where green of Shimonita is rich” in, local volunteers both children and adults.
The Vibrations Table Finally music festival was totally free! Apparently, I hit the 10th anniversary show. Of course, I had to buy a shirt.
They had some awesome bands. My Shimonita friends were working different booths. Other ALTs also made an appearance.
I spent a good chunk of the day just chilling in the shade, drawing random people and musicians. I wish I had done more sketches! I miss life drawing, so this was a fun way to shake off the rust after so long!
Here are some: