Before I dive right into the meat of the story. I'm sure you could use a little background information.So, this fabulous friend and fellow military spouse (T) and I both teach English off-base to some equally fabulous people! Our classes are "sister classes", which makes our world, well fabulous! Long story short, we spend a lot of time together with our students. Well, T, is an aspiring writer. She is currently working on this children's story about a Japanese girl, Momo-chan, and her adventures in Japan. T, who has lived here for 3-years (wow!), has most of the cultural and historical knowledge she needs. But, just to be sure her vision is accurate and that she 'doesn't offend the whole Japanese culture' (her words, not mine), she wanted to pick the brains of our always-helpful-and-oh-so-smart Japanese students.
Which leads us to today...
This afternoon we met three of them out to lunch at the food court of the local mall. We settled down at a great table, outside in the shade (it was a gorgeous day!). Quiet enough for us to chat and for T to take notes. After we all enjoyed our delicious tempura with rice and refreshing noodles, we got to business. They came well equipped with historical books about Japan and ancient culture. As we filled the conversation with questions, they filled it with great knowledge. We talked about Japanese monsters, traditional meals, the Japanese school system, village living, and houses.
[Side Note: The one thing you can guarantee with our students, is that they will clear their whole day just to be with you. This is with the notion that it is an all-day adventure! So, T and I have learned that we also have to clear our afternoon schedules. In the likely event, that lunch will turn into conversation, which might lead to coffee and more conversation, which might lead us to some park, garden, or home and we could end up two cities over if we aren't careful!]
Back to the point...
The last topic we were discussing was houses. T was unsure about what style house she wanted to include in her story. There are traditional houses, modern houses, straw roofed houses, tile houses, and our students seemed unsure if we knew what they were talking about. In their hurried Japanese, they were planning. Apparently, there was a traditional house about a 15 minute drive away that would give T a good idea of what type of house she could use in her book.
So, it was decided, we were going, and not even two minutes later we were off! They were in their car, we were in ours. I'm trying to quickly write down directions as T is trying to keep up with our Japanese tour guides! They were taking side roads and narrow streets; ones that we have never driven down! My students pull to the side of a street and we pull up behind them. I look over at what looks like a very heavily gated old house. One that just screams - I am not supposed to be looked at right now (hence the locked gates!). Mind you we are still in our cars, blinkers on, pulled over - and T is nervous. There are cars flying by our parked cars! I'm thinking, Goodness, is this where we are parking!? On this tiny road? T and I stay in the car, today was a holiday and the house was closed to all visitors until next week.
Now, I'm sure T and I were probably having the same thoughts, Okay, well we will come back when it is open, lets just get off of this street! So, our student pulled onto the sidewalk (Yes, right onto the sidewalk!!). But we thought she was getting ready to to either:
A. Find parking, or
B. Call it quits.
Oh No, no no...
She pulls on to the sidewalk, pedestrians and all, turns the car off, gets out, and motions T to follow her lead. Well, the car we are driving wasn't made for tight squeezes, but somehow we adjust ourself on this small road and pull the car just behind the other (on the sidewalk). We all get out. Our students start talking in hurried Japanese again, only this time they weren't planning, they were plotting. All three pairs of eyes scanned the property, looking for a way in. They spot an opening! Just behind the side building next to the prickly hedge! In goes one little Japanese lady, in goes the next! T and I are like, are you kidding!? The second lady pops her had back around at us, and says, "Lets go! It's OK!" with a smile! T goes first, I follow (both of us in heels) and we cross over some dirt, through another bush, and Ta-da! We were past the first gate! The next one was impenetrable, so we stood on our toes to look through the it to see the front of the house.
Dedicated students? Yes! Clever Trespassers? Who Knew!
Whoever they were, it was awesome!
But, all that was going through my mind was, what if we get yelled at in Japanese. It all sounds so much worse in a different language! Especially when they are angry!
T's concern was, I left my cell phone in the car, what if we need to call the husbands to have them come and bail us out of jail!?
[From what I hear, jail in Japan is not pleasant, I know that they eat fish heads, Yum!]
Well, needless to say, we did not get caught. Even as we jumped the fence on the way out, no one saw us (wheew!). I don't think either of us thought that trespassing on historical property was on our to-do lists. But, now that we have, we can cross that off of our lists of things to-do before we die!
On the way home, We were giggling about our illegal activities of the afternoon. And also, we started itching! My leg has a rash and her big toe was itchy! We probably stumbled on some Japanese poison ivy or something! GREAT! And in between our itching and giggling, we missed our turn! UGH! Being lost in Japan is the equivalent of being lost in a maze. Every corner you don't know if there will be an opening to the finish, or if you will be doing circles for an hour. So, we get back on the road, and follow the directions I wrote down in reverse order. Eventually, we found ourselves back in to familiar territory and not being chased by the police!
This whole adventure has shown me that despite what a day might start out as, you never,ever know what you will end up doing later. You could be so bold as to trespass on property in a country where you don't speak the language!
So this in combination of tomorrow being Friday (finally!) & the Air Force Ball this weekend. I think it was a great turn around to an initially bad week. Have a good weekend everyone!!!!