Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My First WorkCamp: Hanawa, Japan.

Well, I should have written this a while ago but I didn't so here I am now. Warning: it will be long, so read under your own risk!

So, my sis and I arrived in Japan on a Wednesday and the WorkCamp would start on Saturday, so we had 3 days to hang out in Tokyo. Right off, it wasn't as different from Mexico know, I guess all big cities are somehow similar. It was cool though, I liked it right away, but then again, I always like big cities. We tried not to do much since we didn't wanna be too tired when starting the WorkCamp.


 On Saturday we woke up early and headed off to Hanawa in the Fukushima Prefecture, where the WorkCamp would take place. We took the Shinkansen (bullet train) and it really didn't seem to be too fast...until the rest of the volunteers told us how long it took them to get there by normal train; so yeah, it is pretty fast, though quite expensive...but then again, everything in Japan is expensive. So they thought we were rich, but they just didn't realize we were stupid and did not know we could get a cheaper train lol

Iwaki-Hanawa Station

Anyhow, we were there around 3pm, or more like 3:04 to be exact, cause yes, Shinkansen (and trains in general) is expensive but it is also quite on time ALL THE TIME! At the station we were met by the Camp Leader: Alex, a Korean-sorta-Japanese guy; another volunteer from Ukraine: Roman, and a guy who works at the Hanawa Public Hall (I think?): Shimoju San and his 2 daughters. Then, 2 Italian guys (no relation) arrived: Federico and Luca, along with a Taiwanese girl: Yin-Chia. They took us to the Camp Station where we would be living for the next 15 days. We arrived and were a bit shocked as it was just a gym, a really small one and 14 of us were to sleep there: 8 girls and 6 boys, with no real separation or anything, oh and also, right there on the Tatami (Japanese floor), no futon or anything -you can imagine my excitement!

Camp Station

Then, the rest arrived: Martina from The Netherlands, Amulanga from Russia and the last one: Eric, from Cataluña (Spain). The Japanese Team was already there when we arrived: Go, Maï, Risa and Yuki. They divided us into different teams for both, cooking and working. My Work Team were Yuki + Federico, while my Cooking Team were Amulanga + Go. 

Federico, me + Yuki
 I'm gonna be honest and confess that we both (Gisela + I) wanted to leave almost right away; things like "wtf are we even doing here?!" and "omg, we had no idea what we were getting into!" crossed our minds too many times and well, we just didn't feel comfortable in general because of the place and I dunno, I guess we felt outta place. I told Gisela we should wait 24 hrs. and if we still felt the same way, then we could leave...turns out, we actually still felt almost the same haha but then I decided we should give it another 24 hrs as we didn't even have a place to go to if we left and we were thinking with our hot heads and you know that's never good, so we'd let them get cold and then decide for good. 

Not to spoil the fun and mystery but...we stayed for the whole camp haha. The first night we had a chill drinking night with just the volunteers, Boss Matsumoto (as I like to call him) aka Yusuke San and his wife, Shiori San -hilarious woman! Next day, we went to a Mud Festival, where I got my very first (and major) sunburn of this trip -fun (not!)! That night, we had the Official Welcome Party with guests and all, such as people from the town and some Taiko (Japanese percussion instrument) players, as well as the bosses and well, all of us. They gave us such a warm welcome I even felt glad we stayed, something inside of me moved when they were playing the Taiko and the people was being really nice to us and all. I enjoyed myself very much.

First night

Mud Festival

Welcome Party
I'll start with the work part as it was the main objective for doing the Camp and then, the fun, which wasn't planned but it happened and it was awesome lol


Anyway, on Monday, the real action started. Our work schedule was more or less like this everyday (Thanks to Gisela for the schedule!):

7:30 Breakfast ~ cooked by that day’s Cooking team

8:45 Leave CampStation and go to WorkStation
9:00 Start working
10:30 Cooking team had to go start making Lunch

12:00 Lunch (Lunch was usually over at 12:15 and then it was cleaning time)

1:00 Back to work

3:30 Cooking team had to take the bikes to go shower (at the public pool), go to the super market and go back to cook dinner.

4:00 Finish work and take Shower or go swimming

6:00 Dinner

7:30 Activities or Free time
9:00 Drinking
11:00 Lights off

It may seem like an okay schedule to work around everyday but do not be wasn't! lol No, seriously, it was way too much hard work to be true and not that I'm not used to hard work or anything, I mean, I was a Cruise Photographer, but come on, this? This was REALLY close to slavery! Worst part I guess was the weather, it didn't help at all; it was too freaking hot and humid and well, if you know me, you know I don't work/live/function very well under such terrible conditions. There were many, many times when I thought I was seriously gonna faint -and I wasn't even wearing a Dolphin outfit!

So, the first day we got together by teams to decide which kind of Toro (lantern) we were making and decide a design for it. Once that was done we basically started building the Toros from scratch, and when I say "from scratch" I mean we had to chop the freaking bamboo for the structure, make the structure, wrap the whole Toro with (a special kind of paper) paper, paint it, do a light test, carry it from the WorkStation to the River the day of the Festival, drag it through the river for all the town people to see it (turning it 360 degrees so no one would miss it on one side or the other O.o), carry them back to the WorkStation and destroy them.

1.Cutting bamboo. 2.Making the Toro structure. 3.Wrapping the toro with paper.
4.Toro all wrapped. 5.Painting the toro.

Needless to say, we had to clean our WorkStation not only everyday, but everytime we did something and then stopped it, like before lunch and then again before the end of the day. If you ask me, it was sort of a waste of time cleaning before lunch, coz we were only gone for one hour and then we'd go back and carry on working, only to clean -yet- again before leaving. Sometimes, it seemed to me as if there was an efficient way to do things and a hard/longer way to do them, they would choose the latter, and I could never get why so I obviously got frustrated at times. You know, from where I come from, you need to get things done well and as quickly as possible, so you get used to doing things efficiently.

1.Light test. 2.Painting almost done. 3.Toros in the River at the Festival.
4. Toro destruction.

In the end, it all was worth it as the four Toros were really cool and the Festival was amazing. It seemed to be a really big deal for the locals and they were always very appreciative of our work and showed it every single day with ice-cream, buzz, pressies and stuff like that. It was very touching seeing how important it was to them and their town and how happy they were that we were there, so that made me happy, it felt good to do something that mattered so much to them. And dragging the Toros through the River was really hard but well-worth it, it was a once in a life time experience and I loved it! Not that I would EVER do it again, but did love it hehe.

Tanoshii Neko (the cutest Toro, obviously!) and My Team

The 4 Toros ready and all of us on the day of the Festival.


Well, the life was...hard, generally speaking. First of all, there was the awful hot weather that I already mentioned; then the sleeping on the floor part that I also mentioned above, but wait, coz there's more -of course! There also was the only Japanese-style toilets at the CampStation part...that's right, not ONE single Western-style toilet, which was hard, especially if they made you drink beer everyday, you know how that is. Also, we didn't have showers within the CampStation premises, we had to walk 20 minutes to the Pool to take a shower and walking for 20 minutes is not bad really, except when you do it under 35+ degrees and like 80% humidity, then it sucks! But the worst part is not walking to the shower, because eventually you get there and shower, the coming back part is what's fun (?), coz you obviously sweat like a pig again and then the shower wasn't even worth it. I took a shower there once and then never went back, it was stupid and useless for me, just made no sense so I always preferred taking a cold shower nearby the CampStation, at the Public Hall; they were creepy showers, you could tell they had not had maintenance in a while, but hey, they were close and cold water is always good when living in hell.

Regarding the food, well, that was another hard thing for me coz not only strange food is hard for me but because I am totally used to not good but great cooking (as I have Gisela as my personal Chef ;) hehe); so having to eat weird things prepared by VERY inexperienced people mostly everyday was not too much fun, nor too delicious either haha. But you know, I tried almost everything that didn't look too gross...or too alive/raw lol or that didn't have 8 whole onions on it and well, I survived.

1.Cooking. 2.More cooking. 3.Having lunch at the Public Hall room. 4.Lunch.

I almost forget about the sleeping part (aside the floor thingo). Japan has like 14 hours of daylight or so, so it start clearing out around 4:30-5:00am, which was horrible because I would wake up everyday around 5am because of the light and most of the time, I wasn't able to go back to sleep and then had to get up at 7 for breakfast and all that, and then, they made us (yes, made us, I swear!) drink almost every night and we'd go to bed around midnight or so, which wasn't enough sleep for all! And well, also the drinking part was kinda hard for me coz, if you know me, you know that I don't really drink that much anymore and much less every single day! But these 2 weeks I drank like there was no tomorrow, like I had never drank before and the worst part is, I sorta got used to it and now I, basically, can't go a day without having a beer! lol That's just wrong, I know! I'll quit when I get to Korea. I no longer wish to drink like a truck driver haha.
1. Camp life in the morning. 2.More beer than food in the fridge.
3.Japanese wrapping obsession. 4.Breakfast time.

And well, the lack of privacy was making me nuts at times as I am very used to having my own space and my own time and all, so it was difficult for me having to share my time and space with 13 people 24-7! So, whenever I got a chance, I would sneak out and find a little space and time for myself, though it was never enough. 

At the end of the day what matters is that I survived, I don't know how but I did and now I have some more interesting experiences to share.

Noodles for lunch, the sweet stuff around it comes from Mrs. Ootomo -one of the nicest local people I got to meet.


People at the camp was cool in general, though you know there's always a dick (or two) to spoil things around. Generally, I don't judge people before meeting them but if I meet them and then don't like them, I think I don't have the need at this point in my life to even talk to them, so I don't...except some people just don't seem to get it. Well, aside from these 2 people I'm referring to, the rest of the guys were really okay and I got along well with everyone else, but particularly with Maï (Japanese) and Eric (Spain). Maï's really funny (sometimes unintentionally) and fun to hang out with, she had the best English skills out of all the Japanese people there and that helped us communicate and have more fun, she's very smart and lived in France for a few years which helps her cheat -with her French- on her English (pronunciation) at times, she enjoys drinking though she gets drunk with 3% alcohol cocktails lol, she taught me most of the Japanese words/things I know and she takes my mocking (generally) well and appreciates my silly sense of humor so we got along really well; and Eric, he is also funny and fun to hang out with (well, of course, I never hang out with people who's not, for real); at the beginning it was really funny coz he'd complain about our complaining (of the camp life and the dickheads there) and then he'd come and complain to us all the time haha He pretended to do a Mexican accent, which was totally funny coz he sounded like everything but Mexican, but I loved it and even got used to it. I like that he's someone you can talk to and trust, a good guy and good to have as a friend, he was always hanging out in "our room" (our little tatami space) and wanting to be another one of us he's now the 5th honorary member of the Tomodachi (Friend) Club formed by Gisela, Maï, myself and the other Tomodachi is Risa (Lisa in Japanese), she's 16 and barely speaks English, but it doesn't really matter coz she knows how to communicate and she's really funny, too. You can tell she's the Mean Girl at her school, but with us, she was always nice...sorta anyways haha. Best real-life Sadako (Japanese version of Samara morgan from The Ring) ever! She's a very good cook for a 16 yo and even if she doesn't know what you're saying to her, you'll end up having a fun conversation and closing it with our Tomodachi Club signature: Heart, Oshiri (butt in Japanese) and Oppai (boobs in Japanese), these accompanied by hand (each other's) gestures signaling each one of'd probably have to see it to understand it lol.

Tomodachi Club

Federico, Maï, Gisela, me + Eric
There was also Federico, also a funny guy with an incredibly funny Italian accent, best part was he didn't even notice it. Enjoys drinking and games, which made him a good drinking buddy, sometimes, a bit too much of a geek. Yuki is another Japanese girl, also cool and fun to hang out with, everytime I hear the word "Sugoi!" (cool) I think of her hehe, she was in my work team and I was always lost in translation whenever the sensei would say something but in the end it all turned out alright. Martina was the 2nd youngest member and she seemed quiet at the beginning, but she's really not...she just speaks way too low, I'd find myself asking her to repeat things at least twice most of the time, she's cool though, totally into Japanese guys; for some reason, she finds them all cute O.o She was the Gru (not glue, but Gru from Despicable Me) of the camp and had Minions and all.

Federico, Yuki + Bebé Viejito Sensei
Go, Martina, Roman, Amulanga + Luca
Then, you have Alex, the camp leader; sort of half Korean Half Japanese, what in Mexico we'd call "ni de aquí, ni de allá", as a person...a funny guy at times, but as a camp leader...a very lousy one to be honest. Really bad English and communication skills and, sometimes, also bad manners. Ruined my Toro too many times (made holes on the paper, ruined the paint tone, painted wrong, etc.), but one mean look from me and he'd fix it haha A random guy, sometimes way too random to be true. Go is the only Japanese guy, he would have been a better leader, he seems to be very Japanese (education and discipline wise) and is polite when asking for things, he's someone you'd listen to if he asked you to do something. He was in my cooking team and did well whenever we had to cook, he's responsible and likes to have time for himself to read, jog and whatever. Always went to bed early and didn't enjoy drinking with us, still, a funny guy during day time. Likes to dance to J-Pop and loves listening to sorrow songs. Yin-Chia is the Taiwanese girl, also kind of quiet and she used to keep to herself a lot of time and likes to write a lot, very good Japanese skills and loves taking photos, it was fun when she came to hang out with us in Koriyama, looks really cute in Purikura, a smart and nice girl. And Amulanga from Russia, she asked us to call her "Amulya" from the beginning as she said her name is an older woman's name, however, pretty much none of us was ever able to remember the short version of her name and ended up calling her whatever came out when we talked hehe She is very funny at times, especially when drinking. Loved her Russian accent and called her "Rooskaya" as a term of endearment, also part of my cooking team, though not very skillful in the kitchen lol Always had the best amazingly blunt comments at the right time and in the right place and, towards the right person, of course haha she made me laugh a lot, I love honest/blunt people and she had a sort of charm for it.

1.Yin-Chia 2.Amulanga 3.Go + Eric 4. Gisela, Risa + me with Alex
Last (and very least), there was Roman, what people in the real world would call Euro-trash, I apologize if the term is kind of harsh, but that's what he is. He's 22 but behaves as a 12 yo, not funny at all and always trying to get people's attention by doing stupid things that weren't even slightly funny; I can't stand people who tries too hard and he always did. I talked to him only when necessary or when he'd ask me something, you know, just because I don't like someone, it doesn't mean I'm gonna be rude to them. And the very last one, Luca, I couldn't believe this but I disliked him from the very first day when he invited us to play an Italian card game and his natural Otaku (super geek!) came out, he's totally obsessed with games as it his life depended on it; also on the day we arrived, we took out his inflatable pool mattress (yes, pool!) and set it on his place to sleep (wtf?!) and, in case that wasn't enough, he NEVER ever helped to do anything. After meals, he'd only pick up his plate/glass while everyone else would do a collective job, if he used dishes for cooking, he wouldn't even wash them afterwards, never offered to do anything he wasn't particularly asked to do, which is very wrong if you're volunteering in a WORKCAMP! He's too obsessed with Japan and the Japanese people so he'd always be trying to talk mostly to the Japs to practice his Japanese, though no one really care much for him or his conversations. After the first day, I always avoided any kind of contact with him, plus, he was always, ALWAYS snapping pictures in the rudest way possible, we would be just chilling and he'd come and shoot his camera (with flash!) right on our faces for no apparent reason and wouldn't even give you a heads up, which I consider to be VERY rude and I am a photographer! I am all up for capturing the moments, just not every single moment in life...I never understood that, from him or Amulanga or Shimoju San, I honestly think they all should stop trying to capture every second of life and start seeing it with their eyes instead of a lens a bit more, sometimes, it will be more worth it to keep the moment in your memory than in your camera.

Risa, Luca, Maï, me + Roman
And of course I cannot leave out the extra cast lol Some people who didn't live with us but hung around long enough to make it to this list. I'm gonna start with one of my favorites: Shiori San, the boss' wife as I mentioned above. She's too funny to be true, she loves drinking way too much, I don't think a day goes by without her having at least 3 beers. Whenever I wanted to stop drinking, she's press my hand and say "come on, you can have one more, just one more!" and made me drink more haha she says she eats one onion a day to keep her blood healthy since she drinks too much, she introduced me to Izakaya (sort of a Japanese restaurant-bar) and took to one of my faves so far. She was also kind enough to take me and Maï in her house when things didn't go so well at our Homestay. She's kind of crazy when in the kitchen, wants you to wash everything before using even though is was washed right before putting it in its place, she also loves frying everything possible and wrapping everything she possibly can, like all Japanese people anyway. All in all, a lovely lady, kissing and hugging you and with a beer in her purse, always ready to say "Kampai!" (cheers!) and start the party.

Shiori + moi
There was also Shu (Japanese), who volunteered years ago and goes back from time to time to "help" and hang out with the new members; he's really funny and nice, he's been to Mexico so we had things to talk about -I think he's the only one from the whole camp who has been, so it was cool meeting someone who knows about good ol' Mx. He'd show me random pics on his cell with country-side on them and go like "this is in Mx, do you know where it is?" and it was just like green stuff and a few houses haha so I obviously didn't recognize any of the places, then I'd show him pics with green areas and a couple of houses and be like "this is in Japan, do you know where it is?" haha and he obviously didn't know either, it was too funny. And Mari (Japanese), another previous volunteer also coming back to help and hang out. She's really nice and speaks the best English of them all at the camp because she's lived abroad so it was nice to have a conversation with someone without being afraid of saying words or terms that wouldn't be understood hehe. And Yuuko (Japanese), she played Taiko with the group that played at the Welcome Party, we had a conversation that day though there was a bit (ok, a lot) of a language barrier but she was really nice, after that, she'd greet me with a big smile everytime we met again, we also hung out at the Farewell Party and she taught me how to do origami...though it's kind of hard and you have to be very patient, so I didn't learn lol. It was really sweet of her to try anyway.

Above: Shu having a ball -apparently.
Below: Yuuko and me with the origami she made.

And last but not least, the Ootomo Family; they're this wonderful people who was always visiting and being super nice to us, bringing presents, ice cream, candy, etc. On the last day, they gave us all amazing presents like Chop Sticks, a fan, a thank-you letter and a little card containing a photo of the family with us (each one got their own, of course), it was really touching how thoughtful and sweet they are, I will forever keep them in my heart.

Gichef + Moi with the Ootomo Family

And well, all the Hanawa City people was truly wonderful to us all the whole time, they opened their doors to us and were very warm and kind, they definitely contributed to us having a great time.

I heard someone at the WorkCamp said that he didn't go there to make friends or have fun, but to work...well, I can honestly say I didn't go there to make friends either, but I am absolutely glad I did. It was unexpected so it made it all better =D


Ok, now, the fun part! This might be a long one as it was -honestly- so much fun! 

On one side, we had the nights at the CampStation, where there was always a lot of alcohol available for whoever felt like drinking. Needless to say, the drinking games didn't take long to start, sometimes it was uber-fun and sometimes...not as much, but still good. Sometimes, it was a bunch of us, sometimes just a few of us, and I think it was actually cooler when it was only a few of us -the right ones, of course. Once we were playing Charades but then someone sort of ruined it because he said in Ukraine they'd spend 3 hours trying to guess one word, but hey, this ain't Ukraine, we do have a life here and cannot be wasting that much time in guessing a word, so bleh!

We also had Extra activities in the evenings such as a Taiko lesson, a Yukata try-on, a Karaoke night, a day trip to Koriyama, the Tanakura Festival, Shooting-Star-watching and a Homestay weekend, oh and an Onsen trip, that I skipped because I didn't wanna die in a hot spring, thank you.

Tha Taiko lesson was awesome, it seems like an easy thing to do, but it really isn't! It requires strength, concentration and a good condition. After half an hour of playing, most of us were like dying! haha Some of us ended up with blisters in the hands and most of us just sweated like there was no tomorrow -my respects to the kids and everyone who plays Taiko!

The Yukata try-on was interesting, I never imagined I'd be doing something like that, at least, not willingly lol but well, we were all there and everyone had to do it so I did it and it wasn't that bad, I mean, it's obviously not something I'd do just for the fun of it but I'm glad I tried the experience.

The Karaoke night was definitely one of my favorite nights; I wasn't even planning on going in the first place, I had actually said I wouldn't go but then Maï asked me to, so I asked Gisela and we ended up not only going but having the best time and more fun than anybody else. It took next to nothing for us 3 (Gisela, Maï + myself) to get comfortable with the mic and start singing our hearts out; none of us do it well really but oh how much fun we had! haha Needless to say there were drinks involved, many of them I should say...probably more than I could handle (thanks to Shiori San who made me drink THAT much! lol). That was, for sure, one of the nights I got really drunketty, drunk, drunk! It was my first time ever at a real Karaoke (not a bar with an improvised karaoke thingo) and I must confess I enjoyed it a little too much.

1. Maï, Gisela, moi + Shimoju San's daughters -yes, they were there while we all drank like sailors! lol 2. Maï, Gisela, moiafter a couple of drinks 3. Biru!

The weekend Homestay wasn't AT ALL what I was expecting! We had to go to a local home for the weekend to do a homestay, where we were supposed to have fun, eat good food, sleep in futons and have a ball. We were separated by pairs but they were pre-arranged so Gisela and I weren't together, obviously, so I got Maï instead, which was good coz I don't think I wouldn't have wanted to go with anyone else other than either one of them, plus, she speaks Japanese and English so she was able to translate for me (that's when she became my official translator in Japan lol). We'd heard our host was a family that lived in the mountain, at first, I thought they were joking just to tease me but then I realized it was true. A sort of grubby guy arrived to the camp and something told me he was picking us up, I was right, he was our host. We rode his van and headed off to God-knows-where. Our first stop was at a field nearby where he picked up suica (watermelon), egg plant and whatnot...I'm not even sure it was HIS field, but whatever. Then we stopped at the 7/11 to get something to drink, he got a beer and was drinking it while driving, while also talking on his mobile and smoking -a pretty multitasking guy, except, in Japan, that isn't such a good idea, at least not when you're driving. Then, he started the incessant questionnaire about Mexico and if we have the flowers and animals they have in that part of Japan and blah, blah...boring stuff really, considering I am from the city and know little-to-nothing about the country side, animals and flowers. He grows Dalias (the flower) so he decided it was a good idea to take us to an abandoned mountain in Yatsuka, where he's growing some; it was a place to go trailing and not by car, like a cliff, but why not? He decided we'd go by car and there were, in a very, very narrow path up-hill on his car, which barely made it up there; at that point, we feared for our lives, like, seriously! Then, visited some more boring places where he grew stuff and had fish and whatnot, after the uber-interesting tour (not!) he finally decided we could go to his house where, as soon as we arrived, he left and went out. He left us there for a couple of hours with no explanation, apology, nothing whatsoever, so there we were, wondering what the hell were we doing there, while at the same time Maï was having an epic battle with all kinds of insects -they make her go crazy. Then the guy, Watanabe San, came back and they served us dinner (nothing yummy really), a beer and started with the incessant questions again and this time, Maï was included so we were both getting kinda tired of it, plus, I don't speak Japanese but Maï said he was being sort of inappropriate and talking about things he shouldn't have, that is when she understood because -apparently- he and his family had a thick country-side accent, so from time to time, she'd just laugh without really knowing what they'd said. Then, he said he didn't have a plan for us for the next day (while the other host families did) so he thought it would be a good idea if we woke up at 5am and went with him to the flower fair to sell his precious Dalias as it'd be a very busy day! Pft! Why the hell did he agree to take us in, then?! I was already upset from all the previous behavior, but at this point, we just couldn't take it anymore. I definitely didn't go there to work not to get up that early, or else, I would have preferred staying back in the campstation. So I told Maï we should call Boss Matsumoto and tell him what was happening so he would come to the rescue and after careful consideration and 2 extra hours of non-stop babbling (they wouldn't even let us go sleep and it was already midnight!), we made the call. Next day, they picked us up but we had to make an excuse for Watanabe San, since we -sadly- couldn't be blunt and tell him to his face what he did was wrong and what a lousy host he was so we had to tell him Maï's brother had had an accident and she had to go back to Tokyo, so we both needed to leave; apparently, he bought it. Then we were happily being drove back into town by Boss Matsumoto, who had to host us that night. From then on, things were better. He took us for lunch with Shiori San, then took us to Abukuma's Limestone Cave (it was actually a fun and adventurous experience -liked it!), then bought us "fireworks" and we lit them up outside, then took us to an Izakaya for dinner and drinks and then the day was over and the next day we'd go back to the campstation. The first part was quite a nightmare and such a frustrating experience for me, it was really awful! But the second part was better so I guess, all in all, it ended up being an interesting experience.

The not-so-nice Watanabe San Experience

The Homestay with Boss Matsumoto + Shiori San

The day-trip to Koriyama was unexpected, we finished the Toros one day earlier and then had a day off so we all went to the city, it was a free day so we could do whatever we wanted. I wanted to go to the movies (obviously) but I'd already seen most of what was on and nothing else -good- was on so I skipped on that. We ended up separating into groups and our included the usual (me, Gisela, Eric, Maï...and Yin-Chia -a fun addition!). We started wandering around, went to a mall, then for lunch, then to a Game Center where we played for a while, did Purikura (Japanese photobooth) -of course- and bought some water guns for some fun back at the camp hehe, and last, we stopped at Starbucks to chill for a bit before going back to the camp.

1.Eric's sexy time 2.Us being silly 3.Maï decorating our Purikura 4.Lunch time 5.Purikura

The Tanakura Festival was also so much fun, it was a small town festival that looked more like a little carnival really; there was a marching band, food, drinks, a horror house for kids and whatnot. We walked around for a while and then found a spot where we sat and guess what? Yes, we had some drinks! We were chilling there for a while until it was time to go back before the last train departed. Also got a bit too drunketty, drunk, times!

1.Tanakura Fest 2.Marching band 3.Gichef + moi 4.Girls hanging out
5.Street Vendor #1 6.Street Vendor #2
Shooting-Star-watching was the day of the Toro Festival so we were all super tired afterwards but then again, I couldn't sleep, so I went with a few others to the roof (which is sort of a baseball field or something), lied on the ground and got ready to see the shooting stars go by; I actually did get to see like 3 of them but only had time to make a wish with one, it was a really good wish though, so I hope it does come true. I don't think I'd ever seen shooting stars ever before, so it was a good experience.

For the Farewell Party we all got to cook our National we ate Panda lol jk Gisela, Maï (she was in our team) and I cooked Mole and Antojitos Mexicanos (we brought the paste all the way from Mexico as well as the corn flour) and the rest did whatever they eat in their countries haha, it was such a busy night coz we had to serve the Sensei and other people that we barely had time to try other dishes, at least I barely did so I only ate Mexican food, but that was more than enough, it was really good to be honest and I was happy to eat something delicious again after such a long time. Cooking it was hard as we'd never even tried to make Antojitos (sopes, quesadillas, tortillas, etc) back at home, but Maï turned out to be good at making Tortillas (that's why she's 1/3 Mexican now) so it all turned out fine and yummy; and the party was also fun and, though a bit too crowded for me, a good night to close such a wonderful experience. After the party we (The Tomodachi, minus Risa) stayed up outside just talking and drinking as it was our last night, we were all ready to go to bed but guess who dragged us out? Yes, Shiori San! haha you gotta love her enthusiasm, she was like "come on, it's the last night!" so we fell for it and went out and it was worth it, we had a really nice time, great closure.

Farewell Party

Farewell Party
I know I wrote too much but don't you worry coz I am now done, perhaps I will do another post later with more sordid details of everything that happened, so stay tuned haha And if you made it all through here and aren't snoozing yet, congrats and thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it!

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