This is a beautiful area, with many islands, lots of bamboo-forest-covered hills, jewel-green rice paddies. We each have bicycles to use, and it’s wonderful in the morning before work to go exploring – I discovered a small cemetery with elegant new polished monuments tucked among the giant bamboo, and hundreds of black, red, and yellow crabs scurrying about.
I went to Nagasaki with Norbert the Hungarian accordionist on our first day off. We loved the old temples, Japanese and Chinese, on the hillsides tucked among modern neighborhoods – islands of tranquility and beauty, though Nagasaki did not seem like a really noisy city.
At sunset we had sushi and sake at the harbor, and then happened upon a group of maybe 100 people practicing a dragon dance, with a dozen guys animating the dragon, lots of children and adults playing drums and wind instruments, and the support team with snacks and drinks. There is a lot more to see there – including the Peace Park and Atomic Bomb monument. Sobering reminders of incredible tragedy. It is inspiring to experience the peacefulness, vitality, friendliness, and honesty of the Japanese.
All the Huis Ten Bosch staff is housed in a dorm complex right across the water. Last night I enjoyed the 25-meter pool for the first time – yum! And sauna (though in this 90+ degree and humidity weather, it’s not yet a big attraction), table tennis. etc. And it is a wonderfully quiet neighborhood.
Communication is a little challenging; while the Hungarians are chatting with their girlfriends back home on Skype, I’m typing away on an outside server. But communication in Japanese is slowly improving!