Sunday, October 07, 2012

Car parks, Speeches and hair cuts.

I checked the date of my last post. September the 8th? Can that be right? I mean really, that is a LONG time ago!
Driving home from my holiday is where I left you good people. I took the famed route four nearly all the way home, I avoided paying to use expressways. I overnighted in a place called Utsonomiya. I stayed in the Toyoko Inn, well one of them. This is a chain of hotels found all over Japan. It's small and basic but clean and modern enough, and about as cheap as I could find in Utsonomiya.
They have these amazing parking... well 'machines' here in Japan, and at this hotel it was my first use of one. I drove the car into a tall but narrow building, onto a metal ledge. I got out as the ledge turns around 90 degrees and starts to rise with the car on it, going straight up and then to one side. This way they can stack many cars on top of each other. In the morning I swiped my keycard, waited a couple of minutes and the car was returned to me. It's like putting it in a safe deposit box I guess!
The drive home wasn't too bad except that I decided to bypass Sendai and got completely lost/ Probably cost an hour but before too long I was home in Ichinoseki, my road trip over and my schools days started again.

Early in September I got to judge a recitation contest. Many Junior High School students read a prepared passage and I was one of two judges in the room in charge of giving a mark. It was quite a serious event actually! There was an opening and closing ceremony in a lecture theatre and we were given treats. I got a day off school so I was pretty happy all-in-all! The students did very well as I can't imagine many of my High School students doing as well, or being as enthusiastic!

The weather changed two and a bit weeks ago. One day hot, the next day not!Today is nice weather though! Sunny and warm, but I believe that this area sees snow sometime in November so I am expecting more of a drop in the coming weeks.

My hair had gotten quite long too so I had to get a cut. luckily I have found a place in town where I can get it done for a mere 1000 yen, around $13.00. This place is curiously called '3Q'. They have three 'q' words that relate directly to their hairdressing. 1. Quality. Yes you do want quality. 2. Quick. not so important in my book but you don't want to be there all day. and 3. Quest.      Huh?
No I dd not make that up. What on Earth they mean by it is for them to know and for customers to muse about. The quest for the perfect hair cut? Who can say - but that is Japan for you. They frequently use English words on signs and in shops with little idea about what they mean. Here's a prime example!

As for other things I have been doing, I am now editing the final volume of my book, Dhaka to Dakar - Across Africa. I have been reliving the highlights, and indeed lowlights of my time in Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal. It's been a journey just reading through and editing them all. My time with malaria in Burkina Faso was especially confronting to read again.
For those who are interested, the first two chapters - Ghana / Togo and Benin   are now available on Amazon for less than a buck. That's chapters 15 and 16 over all. That means that indeed I have already uploaded the entire Europe Volume as well. I've had to do a front cover for each chapter which I admit is rather annoying and perhaps I should have chose a more professional font...
The chapters all include many photos, memories and experiences. Please support my travel writing!
Goodbye for now, below is a link for Chapter 15: Ghana.

Dhaka to Dakar: Volume 3 - Across Africa. Chapter 15, Ghana

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