Wednesday August 13
The Mayor's Office – Welcome Party- Matsuyama Matsuri
After another free homestay day, we all met up at Matsuyama City Office to meet Mayor Nakamura. I finally gave my speech that I have been working on for the last two weeks. A total of six people helped me with it and according the Miyazaki's my delivery went well. I initially thought that I would memorize it and not read it off a paper, I had a hard enough time reading out of my little notebook. Thanks to the Sasaki's and whoever else donated the journals, my came in real handy when it came to writing my thoughts at the camporee... btw, did I mention the heat???
After the formalities and exhange of gifts the mayor opened up for informal questions and answers, I thought it was really nice of him to spend the extra time with us. We concluded with a group picture of me and Don sitting on each side of Mayor trying to look important. I don't have a picture to post but I'm sure I'll get one soon.
Then it was off to the Zenniku Hotel for the welcome party. Buffet style light dinner, more speeches and omiyage exhange followed by the final dance performance by the boys. There must have been some miscommunication about this dinner because several boys showed up without their dancewear or props. Being the prepared scouts that they are they just winged it and considering that, the dance went pretty well. I thought the camporee dance was actually their best performance though.
After the welcome party we headed out to the Matsuyama Matsuri about four blocks away where we were given these baseball noisemakers and rope and ball and bell things to wear. Don kept saying we were moved to the front of the procession so we could finish early so I began to wonder who the boys would follow to learn the dance. I could just see our scouts leading the procession and not knowing how to do the baseball dance, nightmare time... Much to my relief Mr. Kojima led the boys and being the odori masters they are they picked it up in no time. You parents would be proud of how enthusiastically they danced in Matsuyama. For you NYLT'ers they did the NYLT 'How do you feel?' shout and led the group behind us in an old fashioned wave that ran from the front to the back. I don't know how many people commented to me on how much energy and enthusiasm they boys showed. And they did it all in the sweltering heat of Matsuyama. Did I forget to mention the heat??? Another cool thing that happened was as we were dancing through the shopping arcade members of the homestay families as well as total strangers would feverishly fan their uchiwas along the sidelines for us to help cool us down. I don't know for sure how long the parade route was but I'm sure it was close to a half mile.
This may be my last post from Japan, hope you enjoyed reading about our misadventures.
I had nothing to do with the pictures the boys took with the cute Japanese girls at the Matsuyama odori. This time they were on their own...