First Night in Japan

My third and final flight was good, and very short. The plane was unnecessarily large, seeing as there were over 100 seats and about 20 people aboard, and only an hour-long flight.
I can’t believe I am finally here in Japan!  Fukuoka is a beautiful and fascinating looking city! Unfortunately we have to stay in the hotel for the night, but the pathways and pavements are beautifully patterned, the buildings are big and bright, and the city is vibrant and full of people! Definitely my kind of town! My teammates seem nice; six women (including myself) and three men. Two have been to Japan before; the rest of us are newbies. We were picked up at the airport and then took a taxi to our hotel, where I am now. They gave us money for food and we went to a local convenience store, where you bow to the cashier (this is a general form of greeting.). While I was spoken to in rather rapid Japanese, I just smiled and nodded, and paid my bill.
Here are some things I have experienced thus far.
1. The toilets SING. Yes, SING. So, when I went into the restroom at the Fukuoka Airport, I decided to use a Westernized toilet this time. Well, so I started to do my thing, and simultaneously, the toilet started to sing! I quickly stopped myself thinking I did something wrong, as toilets here have many features such as a bidet, etc. So, I continued and it kept making music!! Finally I just got the heck out of there. At the hotel my teammates and I were talking about it and apparently it’s a modesty thing; music plays so people don’t hear you doing whatever you’re doing in there… but I thought to myself, “But as one can hear the music one must know that someone is taking a wee anyways!?” Needless to say I am not used to such animosities such as these singing toilets, LOL. They are triggered by motion, such as automatic flushers. The one in the hotel just starts running water when it detects a human body.
2. Driving on the other side of the road is not as weird as one would think. I have always wanted to drive on the other side of the road and now that I have it seems like no big deal. Unfortunately however Japanese taxi drivers do not like their passengers in the front seat. Oh how I would love to sit on the drivers’ side. Additionally, taxi doors open automatically; the driver controls them, kind of like on a bus. Taxis are white, bright, and colorful, I think to the driver’s taste. Stick Shift is standard.
3. The left side is for bikes. Here I am, Miss blonde-haired-blue-eyed American with a suitcase and backpack in the middle of the bike lane. A young man on a bike skids to a halt, I mumble out an “OH, sorry,” (GAWD, if that’s not American enough). Yeah, needless to say stay on the right.
4. IT’S SO HUMID HERE! As my dad would say, “It’s Africa hot out here; Tarzan couldn’t take this heat.” Seriously, even WI summers can’t compare.
5. The pillows are stuffed with rice… and the showers are all public….

Today we arrived at our camp site and already had a one day session with kiddos !! I love Asian kids, they are so cute, and their English is very impressive. I’ll save my first day of USA Summer camp for another post, but tomorrow we are driving another 3 hours to go to a different camp for three days, where we will sleep on mats… the women here are young, and stylish mothers.

Sayōnara,

Dana

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