One of the new ALTs from Kosaka and I went row boating at Lake Towada this weekend. It was quite a funny experience. First off, neither of us knew where the heck the place was. On the first try, we missed the lake completely and took the road headed back home. A trip that was supposed to take fifty minutes took two hours. On the drive there, she mentioned she did crew before so I was confident with her boat maneuvering abilities. Hmm, well we quickly put those to test. In the States, when you rent out a boat or something they have a mini instructional and life vest to go with it. To my surprise, that does not happen here. We paid and the lady just walked us out the boat. Before coming out, I felt comfortable because I was almost positive I would at least be in a life vest AND my friend would be a pro at this boat thingy. We hopped in the boat and had no idea what to do. Then, she proceeds to mention that with crew she was used to rowing backwards AND never rowed with two oars. In my head, I was like WHAT! I was sure we were not going to make it off that shore and if we did, we’d get stuck in the middle of the lake screaming help! We spent the first ten minutes trying to figure out how to work this thing while these Japanese men sat and watched for a second. The lady gave use a push and we “rowed” ourselves right back to the shore. After the men saw that we were struggling and I’m sure they wanted to laugh, one guy came over and gave us a push again and began moving his arms and instructing us how to row. Neither one of us know much Japanese soo.. we cluelessly attempted to move our arms like he did. Nope, didn’t work again! We ended right back at the shore and here comes the man again. This happened about four times maybe before we figured it out. I was positive we were going to spend our whole hour on the lake trying to figure this out. Thankfully, we caught on rather quickly ( well… I’d like to call it quick). After we figured it out, we had an amazing time. The view was to die for and we learned so much about each other. Now that we are officially pros hahah, I see myself going back.
…. Not the end of my sink or swim day. So with the pleasant and delightful experience of the beautiful lake in mind, I cheerfully headed back to Kazuno. So far, I’ve been pretty good at getting back home and driving from Kosaka to Kazuno was a piece of cake. You just have to take that one road. Well in my glee, I forgot that one wrong turn on that ONE road could send you the opposite direction. On my drive to “Kazuno”, I was jamming hard core to Usher. Singing and bobbing my head and not really paying attention to signs because I just knew I was going the right way. After twenty minutes of driving, I noticed the other ALT and her husband driving in the opposite direction. I thought to myself oh cool, that’s so crazy I saw them. They must be going to Kosaka. Kept on driving and jamming, then I started driving around these boulders and seeing signs that warned drivers about rocks falling. This is when I got a little worried. I did not remember driving passing any of this on the way to Kosaka and I didn’t see any signs to indicate where I was. As I slowly drive near these scary boulders, I started praying hoping for a blue sign. By the way, signage is the Japan, let’s just say there aren’t many signs on the road like in the States. Finally, after a five additional minutes of driving, now near panicking because the sun was setting, I saw a sign on the other side of the road. I stopped and looked back and there was my city Kazuno with an arrow pointing in the opposite direction. GREAT! So where did I drive to… I entered a whole different prefecture (prefecture is like a state in the USA). I would have known had there been a BIG WELCOME SIGN!