At least, that`s what it felt like!
(Also, side note. I`ve never been quite sure what the policy should be on sharing people`s names, so I think I`ve been doing a weird mix of not saying their name at all or making one up. I think it may be easiest that anyone I have on facebook, I`ll use their first name, since facebook is oh-so-safe, and other people I`ll try just an initial. It may make it less confusing for people reading! And definitely less work for me than skirting around the name 😛 )
The weekend started Saturday morning; as far as I knew, there was supposed to be Girl Scouts. We were going to join a 6 km (3.7 mile) walk in Soma city, to celebrate that a road that had been closed since the tsunami and earthquake 7 years ago was going to open again next week.
However, I got there, and didn`t see anyone familiar. A phone call made me realize that I had misunderstood the last phone call I had received about Girl Scouts–when they had told me the 21st was the next meeting day, they had meant instead of the walk. But I had driven 40 minutes to be there, and the staff did say that just for today it was all right to register day of (the cap was 500 people, but I guess they didn`t get quite that many), and registration was free, so I figured I might as well still walk.
While waiting for the walk to start, I met a couple of people who worked/had worked in the Soma Board of Education, which was interesting. They were willing to try talking to me too, so it was nice.
I, of course, took some pictures as we started the walk:
As you can see, the road that`s opening is along the coast. And the tunnel that you can see the top of? I was told that in the tsunami 7 years ago, water filled it the entire way! It was around there I lost track of the people from Soma BoE because they seemed to want to climb up to a little shrine you could see, and since there were a lot of stairs, I didn`t want to, since my knee has been funny lately.
After that, I took a few more pictures, and then ran into a group of about 5 really nice people who I walked with the rest of the way to the midway point. (about 3 km in) At the midway point, they gave us free strawberries, bottles of water, and a little card saying that we`d done the walk.
I ended up walking back with the same people, though mostly I was talking to the two women in the group. The picture of stairs is the stairs that go up and over the tunnel. And the picture of the sign is because it`s one of the tsunami signs that has english too. Those signs are scattered around this area of Fukushima…they put them in places that were actually hit by the tsunami. This particular one is just in the area, but they also have some that say `Tsunami Induction area starts here` or `Tsunami Induction area ends here`.
When we got back to the starting point, they gave us a bag with information about the town, about the road that was about to re-open, a clear folderish thing to put them in, and a packet of tissues, because Japan loves to use tissue packets to stick ads on. Then, we stood in line for 20 minutes, but it was worth it because we got free seafood curry and miso soup!
I left the event feeling like I really need to keep a better eye on local events and try to join in for more of them.
And my day wasn`t done yet. I hurried back to Minamisoma, where I was supposed to meet the other ALTs for Hanami–flower viewing. By the time I got back though, they had all gotten cold and abandoned it (it really wasn`t that bad though) and instead I met them to play pool a little, then sing karaoke. (I won two pool games. Once because I actually got all stripes and then the 8 ball in, and once because my opponent hit the 8 ball in). And I hit about 13,000 steps for the day! It`s been a while since I hit 10,000, since it`s harder to do than you`d think.
After karaoke, we split into two groups for dinner–those who wanted to go get ramen, and those who wanted to go get chinese. Since the chinese place has gyoza, three guesses which group I was in. 😛
Then today, I was heading to Sendai with a new friend, TJ. He had offered to drive up, so I wouldn`t have to take the train. We were planning to play pokemon go the whole time, but somehow it ended up that he had to run and meet someone for an hour or so, so I just went to the Volks store.
And then apparently TJ was held up so I walked around a little. It was a really windy day. Then I went to the pokemon store, because pokemon. The pokemon store was doing a prize drawing campaign like the convenient stores do; you pay a set price, and pull a ticket. Whatever the ticket says is which prize you get. You are guaranteed a prize, but it could be any of the options. In this case, everything from a pencil case to a big stuffed animal pikachu. I kinda wanted the pikachu, because I like stuffed animals. I only got a glass though. Which is still cool though, and at least useful. Since TJ was still held up, I went to kfc for lunch–their biscuits are really good, and they had a maple honey sauce to go on it, which was even better. Then Shan tried to steal a french fry. >.>
At the pokemon store, they had a cardboard cutout display, and on the display there was a cardboard pikachu, just a little shorter than Shan, so of course I had to pose the doll there. It came out almost perfect, and his expression totally looks like he`s going “Just what is that?” He may not have known what to make of pikachu, though he did `catch` it. And by catch, I mean I won. I had to try the drawing a ticket thing just one more time. After that, went to sit down in Starbucks, since I was craving something sweet. And they had a really good flavor of frappucino–Almond Toffee. Yum!
When TJ came back, we drove around for a little while, catching pokemon and joining in raid battles for the game before heading back. Once back in Minamisoma, we stopped for quesadillas. For dessert, we had a dessert pizza. It was really good. It was regular pizza crust that you find on real pizza, chocolate, banana, and marshmallows. I`m sure my calorie and sugar count hit the roof for the day, but it was so worth it.
And that was the end of my busy weekend. ^_^ I`ve another coming up next weekend, as next saturday there is actually Girl Scouts, and sunday I`m going up to Costco with Mrs. I, who is a friend. (She`s the one who was the mother of two of my students last year; this year only one since the other moved up to Jr. High and didn`t come to my Jr. High).