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Daruma-san ga Koronda!

August 27, 2009

I took a little spill on my bike last night.  I went out for the second time along the old railroad grade all the way to the village of Osumi and climbed the hill until I reached the giant statue of Yaguro-don.  This is one of the three brothers, and I`ve been to see one of the other statues in Yama-no-kuchi as well.  Anyway, the `wellness road` is beautiful and I have a good time pedaling my clunker bicycle up and down the hill.  This was the second time I`ve gone out along that path after dark and it takes about an hour to go all the way.  It got really dark and I decided to come back along the highway, but the sidewalk disappeared for awhile so I was pedaling along as fast as I could with the traffic.  Well, I noticed the sidewalk was back, so I figured I`d cross back over to that but I couldn`t really see that there was a slight curb (maybe 3-4cm) and my tire caught it crooked and sent me flying over the handlebars.  I hit the ground with my left hand and rolled off onto the edge of a rice paddy.  I got up really quickly and grabbed my bike and dragged it off the street and then realized that my left hand was dripping blood.  Yuck.  Anyway, I only had about three or four kilometers to go to get home, so I pedaled back, dripping blood all over my handlebars, and then went up to my room to get cleaned up.  I`m not exactly sure why, but I almost passed out getting out of the elevator.  I`m not sure if all the blood rushed in or out of my head, but all of a sudden my ears closed up like I was under water and I blacked out.  I stumbled out of the elevator and collapsed in the corridor until I could see again.  I started to wash my wounds and almost passed out again (still, not really sure why) and then I realized that one of my fingernails was almost completely ripped off.  That is to say, it was cleanly broken off, and only about a quarter of it remains.  Yuck again.  So, I eventually got all washed up and bandaged but I had to hold a paper towel against my hand for a couple of hours until the bleeding stopped.  At least, I thought the bleeding had stopped, but when I woke up this morning there was blood all over my futon cover.  Ah well.  Hopefully I can get it all cleaned up.  I think it`s still bleeding a little, but I`ll find out later tonight when I change the bandage again.  あ~、男の人生はこういうもんさ!

Today I participated in the Japanese Salon Cuisine Class.  It was a good thing I went, because it was just me, the Chinese CIR, and five middle-aged Japanese women who had come to volunteer their time and teach us how to cook Mabonasu.  I don`t really know how to describe Mabonasu.  It`s normally made with tofu and called Mabodofu, but today we made it Japanese-style and used eggplant (nasu) instead.  It was quite delicious.  The local cable station showed up and interviewed the two of us along with several of the volunteers.  It was a good chance to get out of the office and chat with some nice people.

I actually do get out of the office quite a bit.  The three of us CIRs went to a summer festival at one of the local elementary schools on Saturday, and we had another school visit yesterday.  We`re still not doing regular school visits because it`s summer vacation right now, but we played some games and introduced our respective countries to a group of elementary school kids who attend summer day camp at one of the schools.  I have a blast playing with the kids, and it`s really good exercise!  During one of the breaks, a bunch of kids crowded around me and wanted me to pick them up.  A word of advice – don`t pick up a kid unless you’re willing to pick up forty others.  I was picking up kids for five minutes.

I drove out to Nichinan last Sunday and swam in the ocean again.  My coworkers Mugi and Ecchan came along with me and we all got stung by jellyfish.  One of the beaches we went to had giant waves and after plunging around in the surf for awhile we looked over and saw a big sign that said No Swimming.  We came back along a different road and it became narrower and narrower until it was barely wide enough for one car to pass through (although it was still a two-way road).  I had some interesting experiences backing down a mountain road in order to find a pull-off to let an oncoming car pass.

The more I learn about this place, the more I love it here.  The mountains and the sea are both quite spectacular and I noticed a sign the other day about a gorge nearby that I think I`m going to have to check out.

I was interviewed by the radio station the other day and it was a lot more fun than I was expecting.  It looks like I`ll be going back there every now and then and I`m actually looking forward to my future discussions.  It was really quite easy and the conversation flowed smoothly.

This post was a little disorganized, but I`m going to go ahead and post now. Lots more to talk about and tons of pictures to upload, but I`ll get to that another time.  I`m off on another adventure!

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