So just before the winter vacation Erin and Teresa came to visit Hagi! They were on a whirlwind trip around Japan - Tokyo, Kyoto, Hagi and Hiroshima in 10 days over Christmas
I had sent them directions for the train/bus combo from Kyoto to Hagi, but someone at Japan Rail lied to them - so they skipped the Bocho Bus and took the later Japan Rail bus. The JR person told them that the JR passes weren't valid on the Bocho service, but that is wrong because other people use the passes on Bocho all the time!
Anyway, the driver also told them to get off at the Bus Centre, but I was waiting at the train station! Luckily Flick was on the bus, and when she got off and saw me she mentioned the foreign visitors, and I put 2 and 2 together and rode off and found them! Flick didn't actually know that the foreign visitors were my friends, but given there are 12 foreigners in Hagi (population 50,000 Japanese people) we generally notice any new foreigner, and speculate on why they are in Hagi!
So while they were here we drank sake poppers (yes you can buy sake in a box juice package in this country), did purikura (sticker photos) and they came and saw one of my schools - and the vice principal was rude, but let's not dwell on that. He wasn't rude to their faces, very unJapanese, but explained to me the in and out groups and that they were in the out group and thus not welcome in the staffroom - even though 3 foreigners in 1 place (myself and the 2 girls) was causing chaos in the corridor! Apparently permission for them to visit the school didn't include permission for them to be in the staffroom, at my desk!
Aside from that, we had fun, though I think they were cold in my little apartment because I didn't know how to work the heater (kanji for 'heater' is something I was yet to learn). On that note, I took the remote for the heater (really a reverse cycle air conditioner) to my office and they showed me how to make it a heater - no you don't just turn up the temperature! They also showed me the setting for drying clothes, and a setting for 'health' - symbolised by a heart!
Anyway, back to Erin & Teresa. I took them out for Hagi cappuccinos - cappuccinos with glace mikan instead of powdered chocolate on the foam, and we went out for dinner, and in to every bakery we went past so Erin could sample all the varieties of sausage in a bun! By the way, mikan is like a Japanese mandarin, and there are mikan trees EVERYWHERE in Hagi. It's the one fruit that normal people can afford to buy in the supermarket! I mean, usually an apple is around $3, but you can buy 10 mikan for $4 if you know the right fruit stand!