chris vs. the arctic

chris: 72 // the arctic: 47

On The Train

Japan still manages to surprise me in unexpected ways. Yesterday was the famous Owara Festival in Yatsuo town, Toyama. A popular novelist mentioned this festival in one of her books a decade ago, propelling it from a small, local event, into a massive tourist destination. Thousands of Japanese from Osaka and Tokyo pour into the sleepy streets to watch men and woman dance the Owara. It is a slow dance with defined moves, set to the music of the koto and a high-pitched singer.

The trains were packed, understandably, to and from the event. Since I had to work the next day, I had to call it an early night. On the train back to Toyama, I was corned into my seat by Japanese people in front of me and sitting next to me and Amanda. I figured it would be another silent train ride, but I was wrong. The Japanese man sitting to my right turned to us and asked where we lived. My initial shock over his random English (it's rare in Japan) wore off, and we slipped into a conversation. Soon, the man standing in front of me revealed his English prowess too, and began talking about how he wished he could speak English better. (He was pretty damn good, actually). After a couple of minutes, the standing man brought two high school students into the conversation.

The dialogue wasn't particularly interesting, but the fact that a group of usually shy Japanese struck up a conversation with foreigners, in English no less, surprised me. I'm sure the festive mood had a lot to do with it, including the festive 'spirits', but regardless, it was great!
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On September 05, 2005, Blogger ambamarie said:

Hi from Seoul! Glad you got to go to Owara this weekend! See ya soon.:)

Amber    



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