(video above – Nadia shows Ocean a magic trick)
Between the cherry blossoms and the sun finally coming out, I am feeling rejuvenated after a long (relatively) winter and spring is here! I enjoyed the week and tried to go outside as much as possible. It was rainy and grey until mid-week, but nice and sunny later.
Last night the admissions director and I attended a meishi (business card) exchange sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce of Japan. The Consul General, Allen Greenberg gave a nice welcome speech, emphasizing the strong economy in Japan. The Osaka office issued more business & investor visas for American companies than every US embassy in the world except Tokyo and Hamburg. This is being reflected in our school’s enrollment, which keeps us quite busy. The event was held in the beautiful restaurant Soshuen Garden Place in Kobe. We had first-class treatment in an elegant setting. The neighborhood was the richest I’ve seen in Kansai.
On Wednesday I took Ocean and Oliver to our local sushi restaurant. I tried the late winter / early spring seasonal sushi. I tried shira-uo (white or ice fish). They are similar to the smelt of my youth in the Great Lakes region of Michigan. However, they are eaten whole, without cutting off the heads and cleaning the internal organs.
We finished the week off with a culture and cooking event at school. Our friends Doaa, from Saudi Arabia and Marwa from Egypt, cooked some of their favorite recipes and talked about life in the Middle East. I discovered the delightful rose water and learned about the logistics behind visiting Mecca. It is nice to hear from open-minded, kind-hearted Muslims, which differs from the stereotypes in the American news. Friday also involved going to Kwansei Gakuin University for a board meeting. I ride my bicycle for the 19 kilometer trip (38 round trip) and this time of year it is absolutely refreshing. It is almost as fast by bicycle as by car because of the numerous traffic lights on the main road, 171.