Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 142- October 2

By Al

Today was our day to go to Amy's high school.  She spent the 1998-1999 school year in Sakai,a suburb of  Osaka.  It is where most of the port is located.  It was a great experience.  We thought we would just look around and see it.  But, we also thought we should check into the office before we wondered around too much.  The people in the office started making phone calls and pretty soon the two English language teachers appeared.  They were very friendly and happy to see us.  One of them had a done graduate study in New Zealand and one in the United States.  Their English was excellent.  This was different from Amy's experience where she had to help the English teacher with pronounciation.  They showed us around the school and invited us to have lunch in the student lunchroom.  It was a very good lunch and made American school lunches look lame. 

This is the school.  Semboku High School.

Amy talking with the two English teachers. (Sally' comment- Amy was their first year-long exchange student.  Near the end of her year, they set aside a room for exchange students. The room is still there, and they have a teacher to assist students.  Amy was a pioneer!)

Here we all are.  They were so nice. 

From the high school we walked back to the train station.  It was a nice walk through a very nice park.  At the station, we found a 100 yen store, the Japanese equilivant of a dollar store. 
The store was about the size of a Super American or 7-11. Sally and Amy managed to spend over one hour shopping.  I don't know how they did it, but it is the truth. (Sally's comment- Amy bought many little gifts for people.  I also bought some gifts.  The 100 yen stores have lots of Japanese-designed things like a pig magnet which can be used to take hot things out of the microwave, a refrigerator container for your coffee, great teapots.  Much more interesting things than we have in dollar stores).

From there we went to the Aquarium on the waterfront.  This is an amazing aquarium.  If you go to Osaka, do go to the Aquarium.

The aquarium.  (Sally- taken in the evening at the end of our visit)

Sharks and rays overhead.

A very pretty duck.

A moray eel.


The underside of a ray.

A different type of ray.

A big ferris wheel outside the aquarium.

Our room at the hostel- a traditional Japanese room.
(Sally-Our room was an 10 tatami room.  Tatamis are the mats on the floor, about 2 feet by 5 1/2 feet. If a room has tatami on the  floor, the dimensions are described by the number of tatamis it has. There is a  low table in the middle of the room with 4 floor chairs.  The chairs have no legs.  Our futons are in the closet [which you can't see]. The little area at the back has a statue; I used it to store some of my things. Unlike American futons, Japanese futons are mattresses that fold up, and that you bring out at night to sleep on.  The pillow is filled with soybeans.  You have a large comforter.  Excellent use of space.  Nice for people like me who like a hard bed.  Not so for Al.  Fortunately, we have a Select Comfort at home.)
Sally's Pictures                                                                                                                                       

Although I am not obsessed with toilets, the toilets in Japan continue to amaze me.  Here is the ultimate in the family stall.  It includes a small toilet for the younger child, an adult toilet and a booster seat for the baby.  There is also a changing table, and a platform to stand on in the lower left corner.  We never figured out what it was for.  
It appears that aliens have landed in Sakai.  I think it is a museum of some sort.

The aquariam also has animals who live near water.

Penguins are always interesting.  These two reminded me of a couple of Minnesotans conversing- standing parallel rather than facing each other. I could not see what they were looking at in the ceiling of their area.

 Here is the exchange student room at Amy's school.

Back to the aquariam.  Here is the world's largest rodent, the capybara- about the size of an adult pit bull dog.

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