Well, I went to Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture this weekend. This was the town I used to live in and teach English in. This weekend was the first time I had been there and seen a bunch of friends in two years. It was cool to see them and eat at my favorite restaraunt again, but I broiled in high heat and humidity all weekend. It was nice of my friends Kalani and Yukiko to put me and Maiko up for the weekend, but it was tough to make it in a house with no AC. Gunma is basically in the middle of the island, so it gets hotter than most of the rest of the country in the summer. Brutal.
Unfortunately, I accidentally pressed OK to format my camera, so all the pictures I have taken since arriving were erased from my camera. Thankfully I had loaded most of the good ones on flickr before this happened, but I lost a couple that I intended to post, including a picture of Maiko, me, and about four friends from Isesaki at the world's best hole-in-the-wall down-home Peruvian restaraunt in the world, La Bodeguita. There are a ton of South Americans, mostly of Japanese decent (or at least a quarter Japanese), living in Isesaki and working in the many factories. Unfortunately, two of my other favorite restaraunts, Pizza Pub (another Peruvian restaraunt with a bigger selection) and Sawadi (the best Thai restaraunt I have ever eaten at), were both closed when we tried to go.
We also went to London Bus. It's a neat little Pub/'Internet Cafe' that serves the best roast beef in all of Japan. Master (Akira-san, the owner) is a laid back middle-aged Japanese guy who spent some time in the U.S. in his younger years, traveling the South and Midwest playing bluegrass. He bought this double-decker British bus and converted it into a bar/cafe. It was cool hanging out in a nice laid-back atmosphere and getting to catch up with old friends. Thanks to John and Aussie Mike for coming out.
I also got to meet Arisa, a former student of mine, who is the only one to still keep in touch with me for the two years I have been back in the States. We ate at Subhi, one of the best Indian restaraunts I have ever been too. Isesaki may be the sticks, but it has some really great foreign restaraunts.
The train trip was LONG. We took the cheap route, so while it only cost about $22 each way, it took four hours (again, one-way) and involved two transfers. I'm not sure if I'll be up for making this journey again this summer, but if I do, I'll be sure to look up all my friends there.