Sunday, July 29, 2012

Domo Arigato

It is Sunday and our time in Japan is coming to an end.  This morning we participated in the Mt. Fuji Taiko Drum Festival.  We donned our pink Mt. Fuji “happy coats” and Denny opened the ceremonies by playing the big drum, the largest in the world weighing in at 3 tons.  We all had a quick (very quick) lesson on how to play and all joined in.  Thank goodness the crowd was very kind.  Playing the drums was a lot of fun, but very loud.

We were taken to a French restaurant called Creation where we were fed another incredible meal.  The main course was salmon in the form of Mt. Fuji and it not only looked good, but was some of the best I have ever had.  After lunch we were off for a tour of the Kirin Distillery, the only whiskey distillery in Japan and famous for their Scottish approach.  (I hope my Fuji Sanroku Single Malt makes it home!)

Late afternoon we went to Takane Nakagokan, a community center, to look at the Sister City marionette clock.  This is an animated exhibit of Gotemba’s Sister Cities, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and Beaverton.  In the park outside, in between the tennis court and amphitheater, a group of students were getting together to practice some band music and gave us an impromptu concert.  I took a stroll around the gardens where the Koi were huge!

That evening we had a the Gotemba International Association hosted our final party at yet another 5 star restaurant, the Italian Tanta Roba.   We met some new citizens, connected again with those we’ve met over the last few days, and had lots of laughs over trivia games and song exchanges.  The people of Gotemba are such generous and gracious hosts that we feel we have truly become friends.

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