On December 29th and 30th we went to Hiroshima, which is about a 1 1/2 hour Shinkansen (bullet train) ride away from Himeji. We were sad to find out upon our arrival that most everything was closed down due to the approaching New Year, but decided to explore the city all the same. We were not let down, as we seldom are in Japan. We wondered through the Peace Park, saw many memorials, saw the A-Bomb Dome, and then went a bit farther north to the Hiroshima Castle. Also, during our stay in Hiroshima, we found a restaurant, Kemby's, which served MEXICAN FOOD!! We stuffed ourselves, despite the small portion sizes, then ventured upstairs to their cigar lounge. It was like a second Christmas for Joe, as he hasn't been able to find a cigar, let alone a CUBAN (!), anywhere in Japan. We were very impressed, not just with the cigars and Mexican food, but with the city of Hiroshima as a whole. Joe and I couldn't stop talking about how Japan is most likeley the only country that could take such a tragic and horrible disaster as the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and turn it into something positive. Nowhere in the city was there any sign of hatred toward America or other countries. All we saw were signs of hope for a better world and peace. Japan, especially Hiroshima, is a place of peace. Once again, we have realized how much we can learn from Japan.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
On December 23rd, we had a fantastic Christmas party with all of the other residents of Shirasagi and our Japanese friends from the surrounding community! The party consisted of a concert given by Joe, Katie, Eiko, and Marie and Adam Newman! We sang our favorite songs for the party, and then we all went out into the neighborhood for Christmas Caroling. This was a first for most of our Japanese friends, so it was a total riot! We came back for Christmas goodies and a 500 yen gift exchange. The night was fantastic, and made the Christmas season feel more familiar. We miss our family and friends incredibly, but we are lucky to have a new "family" in Japan!
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Christmas 2007 was exciting for the new Casey's! Although we missed our family and friends like crazy, we created several memories we will cherish forever. We started with carrying on a Casey family tradition of Italian food for Xmas Eve dinner and opening one gift. Katie made a quiche (a Rex family tradition) from scratch! Joe and Katie also made ambrosia for breakfast, and prepared an amazing Christmas dinner of prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes, and a delicious casserole! Our day was filled with opening stockings, presents from Santa, delicious food, and Skype! We will always be fond of our "Japan Christmas" !!!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Katie has been teaching dance classes voluntarily for the tenants of Shirasagi Residence and a few other friends for over two months. This is a video of Katie dancing with two sisters from Australia, Tina Nesbitt and Marie Nerris, who had never danced before the beginning of these classes. Their progress has been extraordinary. Sadly, they leave Japan and return home in a matter of days, and Katie is very sad to see some of her dance buddies leave.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Over Thanksgiving weekend, we decided to take a day trip to Kyoto, which is under two hours north of Himeji. What a wonderful city! We wandered around several temples, including Kinkakuji and Kyomizudera. We walked through the cobblestoned streets of Gion and saw all of the women dressed as Geishas. We ate "Cup of Noodles from a vending machine, and received handmade cards from adorable Japanese girls! The most fantastic part of the day was the autumn leaves. We are so excited to be experiencing this beautiful season in a country where the colors are so vibrant!