Going Away Party

Originally published on 23 July 2006. This post is part of a series of “e-mails to home” from my summer living and working abroad teaching English in Japan!

Wow, there’s so much to say about the past 2 days! At work yesterday (after having a week to cool off from the incident with Yuri, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting), I did reception all day and got to leave at 7:30, but they had a little surprise for me. Everyone pitched in and Mami made me a going away gift… Takone zushi! That’s the bonito fish sushi that’s so famous here in Ise and that I love so much. Yes, “Thanks Whitney” is written in seaweed! So we all ate some and had a good time for a few minutes before work got started. When it came time for me to leave, they gave me a card with notes from all of them, too. Very sweet. Mami’s message was so cute–she thanked me for eating sushi every day!

Kids, me, and Mami
Mrs. Koda and me!

Mr. Koda picked me up at 7:30 and took me to my apartment to pick up a gift from one of their friends, a lady who lives in our apartment complex. She’s very sweet, and I see her some days when I go down to ride my bike in the mornings. She gave Anna and me little girl dolls that I think you’re supposed to display in a clear box. I tossed my uniform in the washing machine so I can turn it in when I turn in my paper to Yuri later this week, and checked my e-mail to find the sweetest e-mail from my Dad. I think my family might miss me!

So then we went to the Kodas’ house. I helped Mrs. Koda with supper (well, I watched her cook and put things on the table), and it was oishi (delicious). Those are noodles with cucumbers on top in front of Mr. Koda, chives in the white bowl in front of that, asparagus in the blue bowl, tuna sashimi in front of that, eel on the green plates, and Chinese stir-fry on the white platter. On the trays are rice on the left, semi-circle plate with soy sauce on it, and some other kind of special sauce/soup thing for dipping the noodles. The next picture is dessert. Rice inside Sweet beans. Mmmm.

Mrs. Koda cooking
The table

The next picture is one of the Kodas’ many pets–it a wild boar baby! They’re SO cute (kawaii in Japanese), but only when they’re small like this. Strange pet, but I think Mr. Koda said it best when he said, “This is my life–crazy.” He’s so funny!

Boar Babies!

I slept in their Traditional Japanese Room, where I slept my first night in Japan with the tatami floor and family temple. Mrs. Koda put out two futon matresses for me, and I have to say it was the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time! I woke up this morning and went for a walk. It’s so pretty here, and early morning is so nice. They live in the countryside, set back in the woods. It smells good, too. I’ll sure miss the beauty and feel of Japan, but I’m glad to be going home in a week.

I got back to the house, got ready for the a third-year death ceremony for Mr. Kodas father, and waited around till breakfast. Rice on the left, teriyaki mackerel (or yellowtail, not sure), egg above that. I don’t know what they do to their eggs, but they’re sweet when they make it like that. SO good! Sour plums are to the left of the eggs, and in the bowl on the right are very tiny fish (eyes and all) and grated white raddish with vinegared soy sauce. Oh, and that’s miso soup in the bowl below that. We also had salad, but that came out later. Interesting breakfast, huh?

Japanese Breakfast

Now, off to the 3-year Death Ceremony! Stay tuned!

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