Monday, November 19, 2007

11/20/07 Some Three-Person Wandering

I did my best to show my parents around Ashikaga when I got home from work. I took them to pretty much all of the shopping districts in town so that they could buy souvenirs or whatever and be entertained at the same time.

One of the big shopping areas is mercifully close to my house. A decent sized mall along with many smaller separate stores is only a few blocks from my house, and its a breeze to get there by bike. Its also where you can find a McDonald`s and a KFC, so while I only took my parents there a couple of times, I suspect that they snuck over there to pig out while I was at work.

There is an interesting cultural thing happening with the Kentucky Fried Chicken`s in Japan. First of all, most of them have a life-sized statue of Colonel Sanders. That by itself is pretty amusing. One of the restaurants in Kyoto that I remember always had their statue dressed up in a funny manner. Sometimes he was wearing a kimono, sometimes he had a little hat on, and so forth. So when Christmas time comes around, colonels all over Japan are dressed like Santa Claus(I think that Santa`s wiki page is a pretty interesting read, by the way). Another interesting KFC phenomenon involves holiday feasting. Everyone sees Americans eating gigantic birds for the holidays and assume that they are chickens, because there are no turkeys to speak of in Japan. I don`t know what the deal is, but I have just never seen or heard of them existing or being eaten at all. Anyway, so when Christmas comes around, I hear that everyone flocks(hihi) to KFC to get a big rotisserie chicken to take home. Christmas and KFC are intertwined to the point that I have heard of people confusing the Colonel with Santa himself.

Tom and Mom chilling with the Colonel. Are you down with the Colonel?

Woa, this gets better. So I was just taking a peek at the Colonel Sanders wikipedia page, and it linked to the `Curse of the Colonel`. Long story short, whenever the Hanshin Tigers (Osaka area professional baseball team) win big games, the fans would jump off the ebisubashi bridge in downtown Osaka into the river below in celebration. Well in 1985, after a championship win, fans threw one of these Colonel statues into the river along with the usual non-statue type people. And they haven`t won a championship title since! Bum bum bummm. You have all been warned.

So after that sidetrack... oh, I also brought my parents to school with me on Wednesday. They got to see a couple of my classes and witness all of the glory. They also had the chance(were forced to have the chance) to have one of our delectable school lunches. It was pretty tame, no fishies at all... they really lucked out. The Principal took us to Ashikaga Gakko (oldest school in Japan), and we did an abbreviated tour of the grounds.

This cool looking suit of armor belonged to someone by the name of Ashikaga. Funny it would end up here.. It was displayed in the visitor center for the Gakko(gakko means school, by the way).

Oh there`s more. So much more. Too much more, you might say. Let`s all meet back here later, shall we?

One last picture for your consideration. This is another list of rules, this time for a local Pachinko hall. Its even better than the video arcade. Give it a look.

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