June 3rd 1998, a Wednesday

Somewhere, on my way to the station this morning, I realized I had forgot my JR rail pass at the house! Sugiyama said, to show an example of his extreme kindness, "People, in order to be people, forget things. I will pay for you." When a Japanese person says they will pay, they mean it. Even Sensei could not persuade the man to let me pay. I will slip the money, 2,220, under my pillow when I leave. Sugiyama-San not only paid, he got his own 100 ticket [to get inside the station] to be sure that Mr. C and myself made it on the proper train.

The train ride was uneventful. Again, all of my fellow students boarded the train as decided the night before. I was not feeling well at this point of the trip. A sore throat and running nose kept me somewhat out of it today.

Kamishiro Aki, our stopping point, arrived quickly and we "de-trained." Dave's host family was meeting us. They owned an Inn (Japanese-Style) near the location of the Nagano Olympic Game's Snow Skiing Jump.

The family, the Nakumura's, took us by bus to a Soba-noodle making place. We made and ate these and traveled to the ski jump soon after.

The massive slope could be seen from many kilometers away. In the summertime, the jump is outfitted with a plastic mat, which allows skiers to practice without snow. Upon arrival at the base of the hill, a man with a TV crew and everything, caused quite a commotion. It ends up that he was Happy Horada, the Japanese skier that dominated the Olympics and smashed the previous world record for long jumping in skis.

Riding a lift to the tower, we got a beautiful view of the entire Nagano Prefecture. Clouds hung heavily over the mountains, hiding their true height. Though Japan is a very small country, I still cannot get over the beauty and diversity the country proudly shows.

Again we piled into the bus (large vans) and traveled to the family's inn. I quickly found a futon and fell asleep.

I woke up at 2:30 and again played Tetris (vs. mode) with Ryan. It is a good way to get your mind off of any stress. Soon, though, we left and took one hour and thirty minutes to go back to Matsumoto Aki. Unknowingly, Mr. C had taken a wrong train, and I arrived at 7:00 to find that Mr. Sugiyama had been waiting for an hour. I felt bad that he had been waiting a long time, but he did not seem to mind too much.

We again arrived at home and ate. Tonight, the menu was Sashimi and Mizu Soup. In case you are unfamiliar with Sashimi, it is raw fish!!! Even though I do not like fish, even though I was sick, I tried (and liked) the fish. After this, Yuji insisted I go to bed to help my cold. So, I took a bath (yes!!) and went to my room to write to you, my journal.

It is way past my bedtime, so Sayonara for now!