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No new developments, just catching up on some old. I finally got ahold of my supervisor. She’s asked me to go with Saito-san from the BOE to Maebashi tomorrow to pick up our new JET, Shauna, since he’s worried about his English ability. I don’t know how Shauna’s Japanese is, but Saito-san and I communicate just fine in a mix of the two. So that’s tomorrow, then on Monday we’ll go meet my principal and a few of the teachers at my school, so I finally have purpose! EXCITING!

Anyway, the weekend after Orientation, I met up with a few friends to go to the Shibukawa festival, but we decided to stay in Maebashi to go to another festival being held at the Kencho. So Geoff, Byron, and Sayoko met me at Shim-Maebashi station and we took a cab over to the kencho. I bought a nifty wall-hanging that will show up in the next set of pictures. A few of my fellow JETs collect them (but can’t remember what they’re called…), so I picked one up. They’re really perfect for decorations! We hung around and ate some great food, then sat down to watch the dances. A few were a bit corny, but then these little girls came on and they were both adorable and really good!

The festival when we first arrived

The Girls, awwww! The sign behind them says “Joushuu no Natsu Matsuri”; Joushuu was the old name of Gunma prefecture. Trivia for you!

Except it started to pour cats and dogs, so we made a break for the building. Inside they had an Ikebana exhibit, and some sort of cosplay convention. Cosplay is where you dress up like your favorite anime, manga, cartoon, etc. characters… kinda like a halloween costume but a bit more serious… to them, anyway. We took a few pictures, then met Brian who came in from Shibukawa for a trip back to everyone’s favorite Maebashi Izakaya, the one that cut us off on sake during orientation!

The art piece, pretty impressive in real life!

The matsuri at night… pretty!

For Tanya… more funny Engrish on a random guy’s t-shirt at the Izakaya… I didn’t want to alert him that I was taking pictures of his back, so it got cut off… says “Mo Better Meatty Meat Burgers” XD

We didn’t get cut off from the sake this time, since we hardly drank any. Since both Brian and I had missed the last train home (the other 3 live in Maebashi, though Sayoko and Byron are pretty far), we just crashed at Geoff’s place… all 4 of us crammed into one small space. Needless to say, little sleep was had by all. We woke up in the morning and headed to our stations, but walked by this cool street on the way that randomly turned into blue tiles. I like that Maebashi has these random works of art all over the place; reminds me of Austin!

Blue road and mirrors

On Sunday, I called Scott to see if they were doing anything, and got myself invited to one of their friends birthday parties along with Keisuke. Before hand, they were having a tiny little matsuri in the park the next block over. I missed most of the good stuff having had no idea it was going on, but I did take a few pictures. Scott said they had the taiko group over to play, so I was a bit disappointed to miss it!

I love these lanterns!

The drink menu at the new Izakaya down the street we went to. It was fun trying all the different drinks, but deciding takes forever because you have to puzzle out the Katakana and figure out what they’re suppose to be in English. Harder than you think!

Monday I tagged along with Scott and Brandt to Taiko, which was really awesome… the group is practicing really hard for the concert on the 31st, so while normally I’d have gotten to try it out, they were really focused. After the concert, they said, they’d let me play around with everything. I was really impressed! Also got to see Mayu again, which was fun!

Setting up

And a video of it. This is just a brief preview, and not all the people were there (there are normally 2 other big drums on the other side, mirror image). That is actually (apparently) one of the biggest drums in Gunma, so they’re really proud of it! I got to see a lot of the setlist, but I’m still really exiting for the concert… Ganbare, guys!