While I have a few seconds to write, I wanted to mention that, as I began to talk about in my video below before getting cut off at the 10:00 mark, my friend from Elementary School was visitting me during Golden Week. We had been best friends in Elementary School, but his family moved in 3rd grade, and I had seen him only on brief intermittant occassions over the last 13 years. How trippy it is that we have both ended up teaching English in Fukuoka and Seoul. I mean he is only about an hour away by plane, and Korea is just 2 hours by BOAT. Far closer than Tokyo, for instance, to give you some perspective.
Anyway he was visitting with a couple of his friends, other English teachers in Seoul and seeing them captivated by the magic of rural Japan gave me fresh eyes on my situation, and kind of rekindled the magic which I have been becoming desensitized to slowly. Hosting first time visitors always has that effect in a way, doesn't it? Japan made such a good impression on them that a couple of them are considering applying to JET next year.
To be fair, they had absurdly good timing. They were right in time for Dontaku, a giant festival that takes place in Fukuoka and is attended by 2 million people. I had signed us up to march in the parade as part of the "International Troupe" to fulfill the requirement of wearing our country's "traditional clothes" I donned an American flag tshirt and bags from McDonalds. Ben didn't have time to change from the night before, which ended up being great because he was wearing a stained white tshirt and green gym shorts. Very American college student, indeed. As the first American to sign in at the event, I was granted the privilege of carrying the big "AMERICA" sign to represent us in the parade (every country represented had a huge picket sign). So there I am, marching past 2 million people, bearing the America sign and waving my giant McDonald's bags gleefully.
Grassroots internationalization, indeed.