Friday, August 6, 2010

The Most Japanese Thing I Have Ever Done, Pt. 2

Since I work at a public school and promotions/placements are decided by the BOE (1), there is little point to sucking up and participating in the office trip, thus we were a mere nine souls rolling down the highway for Hiroshima (2) on that crotch-meltingly hot summer's day. But thankfully at least three of those folks had bladders the size of a grape so we were able to stop at absolutely every single rest area between northern Osaka and Hiroshima (3) which should be a four hour drive but why not make it six!

The rest stops however are a delight.

For starters there is the food - nary a McDonald's or Roy Rogers in sight! Instead we actually had lunch at a restaurant.


Also - clean bathrooms, and coffee vending machines where you can control the amount of sugar and milk, as well as convenience stores, soft-serve ice cream, and local souvenirs (called omiyage) so you can have an answer to the kids' question "what did you get me!?"

Tomorrow, we may actually get to the part where we are in Hiroshima...

(1) Board of Education - not every one has a joke, sorry
(2) Hiroshima means "wide island", and for the record Tokyo (東京) means "east capital", Kyoto (京都) means "capital city", and Nagasaki (長崎) "long cape" - the geographical kind, not the clothing. But along with the literal names come some interesting ones like Tottori (鳥取) which means "bird take", Iwate (岩手) which means "rock hand" and Chiba (千葉) which means "1,000 leaves" - although to think that Japanese people take these more fanciful name literally would be a mistake.
(3) The highway system in Japan is all toll roads so the rest areas are all built on the highway - no pulling off and hunting for something.
(4) Bonus! The Japanese are strangely known for mopping the floors with us when it comes to eating contests - TV is lousy with teeny tiny people eating comical amounts of food - apparently this restaurant played host to such an event:

She ate two of these - can't wait to bring her home to mom!

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