Host Father is rocking!

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I know day 2 and 3 are pending and you all still haven’t met the awesome Kensho, but YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE FAMILY I AM STAYING WITH STARTING TODAY. I did experience the highly priviledged and secretive Noh theatre which is supposed to be one rare art now, I did visit the government today which had an energy of its own, but hear hear about the family exchange first!!Three of us students were collected by our host father (term: Otosa, although he insists we call him by his nickname, Techan) He doesn’t know much English, and his wife knows barely any, but we seem to communicate somehow through our broken pronunciation of Japanese from our guide book, and his experience with exchange students before us. For security and absolute emergency we do have a bright orange cell phone to connect us to our coordinators, but that is just lying around as for now. Techan stopped multiple times en route to his house to show us things we usually see in a romantic Hollywood flick. Those sunsets are real, people… As is everything else in them picture perfect landscapes. This family owns a millery, so he could tell us quite a bit about the countryside agriculture and water work, which was actually quite interesting despite what you know about crops and farms. He showed us a “beautiful river” which frankly we didn’t need to be told because our eyes were glued to the sparkling water out of our windows anyway. Then he told us how a dam worked in moving this water and though we couldn’t see the dam, we saw two lanes of river water flowing in opposite directions, exactly like the controlled road traffic of Fukuoka. We aren’t in Fukuoka by the way, this is another town whose name I forget. If our conversation was better I could confirm if the Japanese really have tamed the water too. I would day order from chaos (Orbo da chaos) except its hard to imagine Japan in chaos!Techan showed us model water wheels, then real water wheels and also the water they transported to the wheat fields on the opposite side of the road. Everything just there before us, no fence, no segregation of road and farm, just comfortable coexistence. He explained everything about anything we saw, buildings, boards, people, just about anything and carried his words just fine despite speaking English like a two year old would. Which is hardly any. He showed us the third highest mountain in Japan, which apparently we are going to try and climb tomorrow morning. He asked about Hindi music which we have since sung far too many times because it went perfectly with the atmosphere, showed us 7-11 which I thought meant seven days, eleven months but its just 7am to 11pm, which also is now just a name and it is open 24 hours. All through, by the way, the drive was fast, maybe 80 kmph and we were literally gliding along with all the other cars through a perfect transport network. Who needs a sports car when an average car in Japan is a sailboat on melted butter. Before we came to the house, Techan showed us the two schools we will be visiting tomorrow, quite literally as schoolchildren attending that school for a day, and both of them are one block and a turn away on either side. No other student from my group has been placed that close, and I have every intention of walking down to school tomorrow. I then unknot all my fingers, sighing with wonder as the I see the house. Traditional. Japanese. Wood and bamboo and mud and tatai mat. Filled with all sorts of little treasures and colourful trinkets and woaaaah the technology, wait for the next paragraph and I just had to peel myself off the threshhold where two dozen hats hung. Technology. I doubt they even feel it is technology, it is so common for them. The MAT corridors have pressure and temperature sensors so the light comes on the moment I step on it. Doors are half the thickness of an usual door, but still have three layers to it, middle one being a mesh to keep insects out. Everything is warm honey wood and creme mat. Which reminds me of the eco house we visited recently, made of volcanic ash. They have the latest gadgets, and ALL of them in fact, but thats not what I mean when I saw technology. You and I have already talked about toilets abs bathrooms before. So listen to this. I step in front of the seat, the lid goes up, the sensor detects me and lights go on. Seat is heated, which frankly is so relaxing that it kinda makes you WANT to go to the loo a few times in the day. Yeah, I just said that. After that, you just sit and do your business and push a few buttons to get cleaned up and then step right off like into non-smelly air. It really is impressive. The Japanese bathing is different from usual. First there is a room where you keep your clothes and dress. Then there’s an area with a lot of controls and a full length mirror, and waterproof mat which tilts ever so slightly into a drain. Then, the masterpiece, the tub. The tub you do NOT bathe in. I’ll explain. So you use all those pretty controls to adjust heat and amount and outlet of water and then bathe standing besides the tub, on the mat, using either a handheld shower or a plastic basket. Somehow the idea of bathing in front of a full length mirror made me laugh. Soap, sud and wash. Now that you’re ready to leave and dress, don’t. Now step into the tub, which is filled with water at 41 degree Celsius and is used by many people without draining. Also, scented and sprinkled with blue sea salts. Kings, I tell you, the Japanese are all kings and queens! The Japanese frigging take sauna twice a day! No wonder they are all so relaxed and kind and have great skin and just so calm. And this is not even luxury. Its common as a chair, because every family has this. And just so you know… I’m in a village right now. A village. Indians… Impressed yet?Sauna took a minute to get used to but once in, I never wanted to come out. Its different from taking a dip in a tub, and hard to explain how different. Just twiddle your toes in the water, let it ride on your cheeks and in one single dip, you and your feet will come out with baby soft pink skin. I did. So far I have only told you about the non interaction part. There’s so much more to tell! After we were blown by the beauty of this.. This dream house! (I will try my best to show you in a video) AND we were told that WiFi was available AND we had seen where we would be sleeping like Shinchan, we sat for dinner. They asked us if we eat chicken, and I told them I’m vegetarian. Next thing I know, Techan is returning (when did he leave?) with groceries…. For me. We nodded vehemently against eating octopus, which apparently is salt-common in that area, and that uncommon in India. Another student told them I ate eggs (I hadn’t for years) so they bought some for me, which I learned to way hardboiled and actually liked okay. We ate soyabeans with seaweed.. Obviously seaweed was really new. Then a rice filled soya roll. Also, it seems Indian lassi is real famous in Japan. French cheese. Salads. Stirred vegetables (for me). Two hard oiled eggs (for me). Chicken pieces probably from KFC (for the others). Potato stir. Sweet potato dry sticks. And finally… Ice cream like I have never had before. Cookie crumble too. They overfeed us everywhere. I wonder how they are mostly all slim in that case. We try chopsticks every place we go to but revert to forks and spoons for many things. We had to flit through our guidebook many times to say we will cook Indian food for lunch tomorrow, that we didn’t need to shop, and that we had never had Japanese noodles. Also, we were waiting for WiFi password and had mentioned it so many times in our Hindi protected speech that we gave it an alias- chuchu, to refrain from embarrassing them or ourselves. Sometime in between Techan asked us what we usually eat, seeing that even the famous wasabi was new to us, and on mention of Italian, he announced two minutes later that there’s pizza for breakfast tomorrow. We. Were stumped. 7.45 we went to see hataru. There are apparently stretches and stretches of land where the newborns gather every night over very clean water. I could not get a picture and did not have time to worry about that, because people… Hataru, are fireflies. Fireflies which I held and played with a few hours ago. My hands feel like they touched gold dust. We walked through fields and houses and across an onion and potato field, saw firemen prepare for an upcoming contest in two days, and finally to a place with more fireflies flirting over the water besides the road. The people of that area had hung jack o lanterns on a bamboo branch, only these weren’t scary but carved with summer and spring imagery, decorated with flowers underneath and scented.. Somehow!By the lanterns we met three other students who.. Umm.. Hugged and greeted us and started yelling in delight, completely obliterating the fact that we met them two hours ago. They heard about our mountain climbing plan and got their family to agree to let them go too, shared their experience so far, got extremely jealous about WiFi and hugged us again before we left. So apparently the place Techan had parked in front of is his second home.. And his sister and niece found us at the door. We went in, and found out that the niece is a pianist and the sister sings and reached art to secondary school students. They were familiar with exchange students because Techan has had Vietnamese people stay before, but we were the first Indians. The same indoors, except space that looked like it was prepared for a gathering that might be for the hatura concert (firefly concert) shr is hosting very soon. We sang, they sang, we left with a lot of sayonaras and waves and stopped. In 7-11. Techan wanted us to buy two bottles of our preferred liquids each, one for the mountain climb, and the other for the school visit. And it seemed that we won a Starbucks style coffee when we paid for it. Woaaah, right!Sigh. There’s a lot that cannot be said in words, so I will try for the video with no assurance when i can upload it. For the rest, keep checking updates on Facebook. Sayonara, world! My shinchan bed invites me

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