Really great day! The cicadas woke me up super early! Facetime-d with Erin for a while, then did some packing.
Headed off to meet Amy, from CISV Victoria and her delegation of 4, who are visiting Osaka for their CISV Step Up Camp that starts on Monday. The bus driver was so kind. I always thank the driver in Japanese, and I had noticed that nobody else does, but the driver thanks each customer. When I thanked the driver this morning, he thanked me in English! So kind – I bowed and thanked HIM in English! Great start to the day.
After lots of messaging (thanks, Amy, and Youko!) – they picked me up at a subway station and we headed out. It was great to meet the homestay Moms and the sisters. The group explored Uniqlo, a Hello Kitty store, an exclusive socks store, and more. I was lucky enough to get something I needed at Body Shop, and I had wanted a bamboo whisk for making maccha since I got here, but they weren`t available at the 100yen shop as I thought they would be! Specialty item. Lucky! I spied a tea shop and got a whisk and a holder! I left mine in Canada! Now I am set.
The group then headed on to Purikura. Maybe in English it`d be translated as Picture Club – its like a photo booth but made super fun. What prints out are fun little stickers – you take about 5 or 6 shots, then it prints many copies for you. They are in arcades with many floors and fun games as well as the photo club booths. I had so many fond memories of Purikura when I lived in Hokkaido ten years ago, so I was sooooo excited about this. I still have my collection in a box in storage somewhere in Canada!
People ask me often what`s changed in 10 years and I have a hard time noticing changes as I`m living in a totally different region and island. BUT I can definitely say that purikura has changed. The focus now is on makeup, making your face skinny, and whitening your skin. Its still super fun to decorate the pictures but all the booths seemed to be about altering the appearance. I remember spending lots of time writing cool Japanese on them, adding typical Japanese symbols, and adding so much fun stuff – there`s still the option to write on the pictures, and add some cute symbols and things, but it felt totally different. The boys in the delegation had a difficult time as the weren`t so down with the changes to their faces. But, the girls had a great time. The boys amused themselves with the vending machines!
We then reached a super famous intersection in Osaka – with the Glico man. He is the running man who is in so many photos of Osaka. We visited Starbucks, and saw some fun crab shop.
On the way home, there was a group from a elementary school gymnastic club. I tried to give up my seat for some of the smallest girls (grade 1 up to grade 6), but their coach took the seat. But the girls and I had a great interaction and I was so happy to meet them. They are all rhythmic and floor routine gymnasts – ball, ribbons, rope and some other routines. Their coach assured me they are the face of future Japanese Olympians! I definitely agree! They seemed very cute and hardworking, and were just as pleased to talk with me as I was to talk with them. We `surfed` on the train on the way home as most of us were standing! So much fun….
Anyways, it was a great day and so glad to meet up with Amy and the delegation. Abby, Amy, Claire, Matteo and Zander are off on a great adventure! So lucky. I can`t express my excitement for this group – they are trying so many different things and getting a real taste of Japan with a homestay. And THEN, they get to go to an international CISV Camp for 3 weeks! How lucky! It was great to meet up with them and see them experiencing a country I love…. Take care, CISV Victoria Step Up Delegation 2015! きおつけて。