On Sunday (August 7), Maiko came down to Yokosuka with her mom and Nishio-san. We went to the Yokosuka Fireworks Festival, which was amazing, especially with the VIP seats I received from Ms. Abe. I had called Takahashi-san earlier in the day to ask him where we should watch the fireworks from and he told me to get to Umi no Kaze (Sea Breeze) Park early because it was going to be crowded. Maiko couldn't get here until an hour before the show because she had a BBQ earlier in the day with her father, so I was worried whether or not we would be able to find a good spot. Takahashi-san, however, called me back and told me the International Affairs Division was working at the VIP section at the show and they were going to get me (and my party) in for free.
TALK ABOUT GOOD SEATS!!! They shot the fireworks over the water in the harbor and we were in a row of chairs set up on the edge of the water. They shot them from two locations, and when they shot some of the big ones from both locations at the same time, it was amazing! I really think this was the best fireworks show I have ever seen. I have seen some that were longer and had more fireworks, but the seats we had, the view of Sarushima (Monkey Island), and the fireworks exploding over the water - all made for a hard-to-beat combination. I will post some pictures when I get them from Maiko. I spent a lot of the last fireworks show taking pictures and video with the digital camera on my phone, and I missed a lot of the good ones. Luckily, Maiko just bought a new digital camera and she was anxious to use it, so she got some REALLY good pictures. I will try to get them up this weekend.
Maiko's mom and Nishio-san were so happy with the great seats I got for all of us, they took us out to dinner afterwards. Nishio-san trained with some guys that run a group of restaraunts here in Yokosuka and a few other locations in Tokyo and Yokohama. We went to a little place called Awamori Banzai, run by one man who started the company. Nishio-san is an amazing cook, and this was his sempai (senior), so you know the food was great. Most of the dishes at these restaraunts are 'creative' cooking - not traditional Japanese food, but a new take on old classics. I was ecstatic to eat really good Soki Soba (usually called Okinawa soba outside of Okinawa) for the first time since I did a homestay in Okinawa 10 years ago (ugh, I am getting old...). Again, I wish I was some kind of food critic so I could describe how good the food was in exacting detail, but all I can tell you is, if you happen to be in Yokosuka on the weekends, drop by this place for sure! It's small and there is only one guy working there, so if there are a lot of people, the service will be slow, but it's worth the wait. It's only open on the weekends, because this is the president of the company, so he just works there for fun.
Anyway, that pretty much catches me up on all the stuff I wanted to post on up until this week. I have been interning with the Health and Public Welfare Department all week, which has been kinda rough because I am not terribly interested in what they do. I am with three Japanese college students this week, though, and chatting with them on breaks and at lunch has been a real relief. We're gonna go bowling after work on Friday, so I probably won't be able to talk about my week until the weekend, but I will get around to it.
Just a little sidenote to all of my family and friends back in the states: I miss you guys! I'm having a great time, though, so don't worry about me getting too homesick. I will see you all this winter!