Ahhh, a day of rest – I finally slept last night and awoke to C’s call at 9am. Figured I’d try to do some laundry, but my host father didn’t know how to use the washing machine so asked me to wait until 5pm when his wife got off of work. Hmmm… (It seriously was a one button ‘push’…and she proceeded to make fun of him when she heard the story…and so did her mother.)
For my day of rest, we (me and Fukai-san) joined A and her host father, Nakajima-san, for a full day of leisurely activities. It made for a perfect day – it took the edge off of both the host fathers and us to have each other with whom to chat. We left at 11am in an Audi convertible and headed for lunch at Nakajima-san’s house. I really am studying philanthropy here…
But lunch wasn’t quite ready and we drove over to a local shrine where they were celebrating the Fuji Flower – nothing to do with Mt. Fuji – but this beautiful purple flower that only lasts for two weeks. The smell was gorgeous and I wish my camera could have captured it.

Before leaving, Nakajima-san introduced us to one of the local guys – and as he started to introduce himself and his business, it dawned on me that he was Yakuza. Indeed, looking down at his pinkies – well, they were gone. When you disgrace your group you lose a pinky knuckle by knuckle – that is at least how it works in the Osaka area. Apparently though, his were taken one at a time. This evening, my host mother was writing down my day’s activities and looked up at my host father on how to word my meeting with the mafia so that the RI would approve.

From the Flower matsuri, we drove around and visited Nakajima’s business – an onsen / amusement center that had everything you could imagine. Food, shows, Pachinko, a game center, a movie theatre where you can rest, massages, facial, an actual sleeping room, and of course onsen. But in the typical Japanese style – it was so chaotic that A and I could not imagine how it could be relaxing – but of course, when you live in a small house with all of your family just being able to do your own thing becomes a luxury.

Lunch was an amazing homemade Katsu-Kare – and the enjoyment of a four year old Japanese boy before we headed out for a stroll around a Japanese garden and to have tea with the local Rotarian owner of a motorcycle shop.

And now I’m here relaxing…after washing my business cards with my suit in the laundry…and just enjoying the rest of today.

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