Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Miyajima Island, near Hiroshima, is famous for its Maple Leaf Nature Trail, among other things. Unfortunately for us we did not visit the island during the peak of the bright colors. But nevertheless, we were able to see a beautiful array of colors. The above collage includes the better of the pictures taken.
Today I was showing a friend around Peace Park when we were bombarded with questions from 5th graders studying English. I'm not kidding when I say bombarded, every few steps we took we were asked by a new group if they could ask us questions. There were a few times while walking through the park when we could hear kids running behind us to catch us. Each group member asked a question and it was the same set of questions with all the groups. The first kid would start off saying "We're interviewing" and then each student would take a turn adding "May I ask you?" "Where is your country?" "We have a map." "Could you show us your country?" "Sign (your names) please." At the end they all said, "Thank You," "Have a nice day." I can definitely say that in the 15 months that Matt and I have lived here, this is the first time something like this has happened.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Alright, last weekend we were eating something called shabu-shabu with some friends, and the topic of birthdays came up. We realized that we'd known one of our close friends for a year and hadn't heard a word about his birthday. "When's your birthday, X?" Misty asked. A blank, semi-embarrassed stared was his response. That's right. Our friend didn't know when he was born. He knew the day on the lunar calender, which is alway different in relation to the real, er . . . I mean solar calender. But, as for a set, unchanging date by which his family, the government, etc. could measure his age, he was clueless. He called his mom on the spot, and SHE DIDN'T KNOW EITHER! This was totally unbelievable to us, but another friend from the same country vouched for him. In their China, they use two calenders, which adds to the confusion. Plus, people don't worry about their birthday's. "In China, if you are happy, everyday is your birthday!" X said. X is certainly a happy guy, so I guess that's a believable excuse. We looked up his birthday together later, and talked about it some more. He said many people in China are too poor to care about celebrating their birthdays. This didn't do much for my opinion of the Chinese government, but it reminded me a ton of how remarkable a guy X is. Well, there isn't much of a point to this story, but Misty and I were so blown away by the idea that a person could not know when they were born that we had to share it with you folks.