Wake up at 4am, 3 hour bus ride to Nartia Airport, 3 hour flight to Seoul, 3 hour (awesome!) layover in Seoul Airport, 7 hour flight to Jakarta, 1 hour car ride to Hanna's house, arrive at 10pm... I'm in Indonesia!
Hanna is one of the main reasons I decided to embark on this journey through Asia and for sure the reason why I came to Indonesia. We met on our study abroad program in Hokkaido in 2005 and spent a lot of our time together during that year. She informed me in an email last year that she would be getting married in December 2010. Enough said, I'm there!
It was so nice to see Hanna's face in the airport after 3 years of email and Skype communication. I look forward to spending the upcoming week with her and her beautiful family.
an old school pic of our days in Hokkaido. Hanna is in the middle.
As for my last days in Japan, aaaahhhhh, so much to say. A few of the highlights: I got to take part in tea ceremony. Although it's my 3rd time to attend the traditional art of Sadou (tea ceremony), this time, I actually got a chance to mix and serve the tea. Because this art is so ancient and refined, this privilege is usually reserved for those who actually know what they're doing. Words can't explain how honored I felt as the teacher and my host mother guided me through the steps of scooping the matcha powder from the bowl, tapping it two times on the side, gracefully pouring the hot water in, mixing it throughly with the bamboo whisk and finally serving it to the guests who are patiently watching the whole process. Breathtaking!
Highlight #2: Nagoya! I took a one night trip to Nagoya to visit my friends Christoph and Yumi, whom I also met during my time studying in Hokkaido. We spent our short time catching up on news for the last 3 years, talking about the in's and out's of teaching English in Japan and eating our way through Nagoya. Barbaqued Eel rice bowl...yummmm! Although vouched for the most economical way down to Nagoya (a 7 hour bus ride), my host family strongly encouraged (i.e. funded) me to take the bullet train on the way back. 1 hour 20 minutes! Zoom zoom zoom.
A few last words...when we got in the car after church today, the car thermometer read 43 degrees (109F)! It's not really that not, but its pretty darn close.
I was asking Hanna about some details of her wedding a couple of days ago and she informed me that it would be a big wedding. With 300-400 people being "big" in my mind, I asked her about how many people would be attending. Well, probably about 1000. Since that time, I've been trying to wrap my mind around a wedding with 1000 people in attendance. Still can't.
The only reason why taking the bus is better than the bullet train in Japan...tea service! Free green tea and roasted brown rice green tea at every rest stop. I took full advantage of this.
Indonesia pictures to come soon.
- ► 2006 (20)