On Saturday, under the guiding eye of Sarah (Momma) Maxwell several of us went on a sweet trip to Iga where we visited what was the preeminent Ninja house of Japan.  It should be noted that Lindsay Gibbons was going to come with us, but in a fit of narcolepsy she fell asleep in an elevator and was unable to join us.  After Sarah figured out what bus we needed to be on we were off.  The bus turned out to be empty, so we had a roomy private bus ride to Iga.  Once we got there we headed for the ninja house, where we were given a tour of all its secret features.  I bravely got up and ninja’d my way inside of a secret revolving door, while other features we were shown included hidden ladders, swords stored under floor panels, secret viewing rooms, and escape tunnels.  After the tour of the house we were getting our learn on by examining the accompanying ninja museum when a man came in to inform us that the live show would be starting.  At the show, the woman who did the introduction (not a ninja) was a women from Germany who spoke both fluent Japanese and English.  She was kind enough to come sit with us, and translated everything said during the show.  The ninja performance was great, and I got some fun videos.  Afterwards guests could pay 200 yen for a chance to throw ninja stars and if you hit the bulls-eye on the target you could win a shirken throwing badge.  I landed my final throwing star on the outer rim of the bulls-eye, and was somewhat unjustly denied my prize.  It turned out that the ninja’s were also masters of being cheap.

Today for our final meal in Japan, myself Sarah Maxwell, Greg Ely, and Nicci somethingerother went out to dinner.  While others opted to re-visit familiar haunts our group aka the “A” team (minus two) went exploring Nagoya and found a nice quiet restaurant that specialized in eel.  During our trip we had experienced the perennial problem of feeding Nicci, our resident non-fish eating vegetarian.  Fortunately the head chef spoke English, and after exhibiting some surprise that Nicci didn’t eat meat OR fish showed her the few vegetarian options that were available.  Since he spoke English, the chef was kind enough to personally take our orders, and even took a picture of us together for our final dinner in Japan.  Sarah and I both had the Nagoya style eel, which was phenomenal.  Personally I thought that eel was a perfect ending to my culinary experience of Japan.  At first I had been dubious that eel could possibly be enjoyable, but thanks to the beautiful and intelligent Sarah Maxwell I had tried it and discovered how amazing it can be.  Even the subsequent onset of two diseases that occurred suspiciously soon after consuming eel couldn’t daunt my eel fervor.  For me eel has been only one of many great surprises about Japan, but my newfound delight in eating eel has certainty been one of my favorites.

After three weeks in Japan I thought I would write a list of things and cultural differences I have really liked, and those that have really annoyed me.  If people have other things they want to add to this list it would be awesome if they commented on it.
Awesome Things About Japan:
Great margarita pizza’s
People bowing to each other
Kanji looks awesome
Ballin sushi
Japanese babies are adorable
People dressed up as Manga characters
Beached whales
Professor Bates and Co.
There are tons of bakeries
Four story McDonalds
Cameron hustling Asian people
The words Konichiwa, sumimasen, and gozaimasu
Super Smash Bros
My roommate singing in the shower

Annoying Things About Japan:
3 dollar French fries
Bicycle assassins
Squat toilets
Lack of trashcans
2oz water glasses
People can’t give directions
Futsol courts located adjacent to hobo village
It rains WAY too much
Umbrellas that don’t stop water
Bean Pillows
Japanese children with no manners
Shaylargh hitting people with her umbrella
Mosquitoes/ walking through rice patties
Hitting my head on doors designed for midgets.
8-dollar mangoes
Having to get the emperor’s permission to get a soccer ball
Cameron using the @ symbol instead of writing “at” when blogging.

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