Monday, October 18, 2010

Getting to know Sendai

In Plymouth we have the Mayflower II, in Sendai they have the San Juan Bautista.

Today we started with the tour of the San Juan Bautista museum.  The bus ride was about an hour away from our hotel and we were able to see the country side of the area.  The streets are so narrow, even in areas where there is plenty of room to create the roads larger.  The green fields with crops at the end of their season looked like they were getting for the colder season.

The museum was located in a cove and you could not see it from the street.  As we pulled up, we could only see a structure that looked like a building.  Upon entering that we went through a beautiful court yard with a modern water fountain.  From here you could see the museum below.  We took a few esculators down and were at the sea level where the museum was located. While waiting in line for the "experience" ride we were able to view a short movie explaining the history of the San Juan Bautista.   The ride was an opportunity to go through the history of the voyage and make the rider feel as though they were on the boat with the passengers.

Next we were able to board the replica of the vessel.  In looking at it, you could tell that without the outer decorative markings, it was almost exactly like the Mayflower II.  The tour guide led us through each parts of the ship and described the living conditions and what life was like on the boat.  The history of the ship is identical to the Mayflower II.

After the tour our next stop was the International Festival held by the Tagajo City International Association.  We were only there for a portion of the meeting.  The purpose of the portion we attended was a panel discussion with three foreigners living in Japan.  A woman from Sri Lanka, a man from Germany and a man from China comprised the the panel.  I was fortunate enough to sit next to our interpreter Marti.  The panel was here to discuss how they as foreigners who have settled in Japan have adjusted to life in Japan, and any problems they have experienced trying to fit in.  The woman from Sri Lanka spoke the most.  She talked about how she became involved in her children's school with the PTA.  The German man spoke how he always is mistaken for an American, & his usual response is to say that there are more western countries in world besides America.   He laughed and said though that that was not to be at all disrespectful to those in the audience visiting to day... ( us)...  everyone laughed!  The highlight of this event was that moments before we entered we were told that we needed to sing at some point in the program.  Well the panel was over, so that was out cue to sing.  We sang "God Bless America", and thankfully it was over quick.  It was quite amusing.

Our last stop for today's adventure of sight seeing around the area was the Sake factory.  The building was built about 150 years ago.  Just like the temple we went to see the other day, the long cedar logs in the ceiling were in their natural state, just smoothed.  We saw how the rice is cleaned and parts of it are taken away.  It was an interesting visit to see the process.

Tonight we are having dinner at the hotel.  Each meal is an artists showcase.  While the rest of the crew had sushi mi and sushi, I enjoyed the Crispy Fried Duck.  I can't even remember when I had duck last.  It was so smooth and almost buttery.

Last stop Karaoke.  Enough Said.

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