Yamagata Trip Day Three
In the town of Nanao, we began our first full day in Japan. The day begins with a traditional breakfast at the Kaibo ryokan. The breakfast was served on the traditional Japanese breakfast table and consisted of rice, soup, eggs, tofu and various greens. After the breakfast we checked out of the hotel and headed for the welcoming of participatants in the Noto Grassroot Ceremony.
11:00 am: Welcome
The welcoming ceremony for the groups participating in the 17th Annual Grassroots Summit lasted for one hour. In that hour we saw a presentation on a Japanese internment camp, Camp Amache, presented by students from Granda Colorado High School. After the presentation, traditional Japanese entertainers dazzeled the crowd with three amazing song and dance features.
12:30 pm - 4:30 pm: Tour city of Nanao
We were able to break off in groups to tour the city of Nanao. The groups shopped the local area and some groups saw rice fields, a temple, and many other interesting sites within the town. Some of the most interesting things were the vending machines. Unlike vending machines of the United States, the Japanese machines sold more than just soda and snacks. Also, the money system in Japan makes it very easy to shop at these vending machines and the Japanese coins are very useful in purchasing items. For example in the United States coins cannot even purchase a pop and in Japan a 500 yen coin can purchase at least four sodas.
5:00 pm: Japanese-American Opening Ceremony
At the Kamatsu Hotel we gathered for the 17th Annual Japanese-American Grassroots Summit. The ceremony included more than two hundred other Americans traveling from all parts of the United States. At the ceremony we met one man from Westcliff and another couple who once resided in La Junta, which proves this is a small world. Both people who we ran into stopped us once they saw the Koshare symbol and were blown away that here the Koshares were in Japan.
8:30 pm Koshares leave for home stay
After the summit came to an end, the Koshares gathered in the lobby of the hotel to meet with their home stay families. Many were waiting for this next experience and even with the language barrier the Koshares were looking forward meeting to the Japanese families who were about to host the Koshares for the next three nights.