Haiku, Part 3

(Andrea) What a trip! We certainly ended on a high note. Thank you very much to the Rotary clubs in Ibaraki and New York for making our wonderful Japan trip possible. Here is the last installment of haiku from our week in the Chikusei region.


We were transferred to the Chikusei region.  When we arrived, we had a few hours of unscheduled time at the hotel, which we made use of by sleeping, catching up with e-mail, and in my case, doing yoga.

Hotel room limbo
No exit in Chikusei
I stand on my head


Today was all about local food at it’s finest. We visited a farm market, an organic vegetable farm, and a strawberry farm. We also made sausages and had an excellent dinner including mostly regional products. Oishi!

The sweet taste of spring
We gorge ourselves on berries
As red as rubies


We went to Tokyo again. A highlight was visiting the Meji shrine and the large public park next to it. The cherry trees were in full bloom.

Cherry trees blossom
Picnickers revel beneath:
Spring awakening


Today was the district conference. We met up with our previous host families and host clubs, spent quality time with the Japan, Thai and Scotland GSE teams, and enjoyed a tasty meal at the evening banquet.

Serving carts rolled out
Beer and sake bottles clink
Magic words: kampai!


The district conference ended and we went back to Chikusei. I took a long walk along the river to unwind. Tscuba, the tallest mountain in the region, was calling out to me. Too bad it was so far away!

Peace on the river
Egrets and fly fisherman
Tscuba-san presides


Today was our free day, which I spent at the organic vegetable farm we visited last week. In the evening, we had a fantastic meal at my host father’s restaurant. On the menu: savory Japanese pancakes, which you make yourself!

Japanese pancakes
Though our waistbands get tighter
They vanish — Oishi!


Our hosts took us to Nikko (World Heritage Site) today.  This was my second trip there.  The temples are beautiful and intricate, which makes it possible to discover something new every time. In the evening, I took a walk in Chikusei and admired the cherry blossoms.

Bursting with blossoms
Pink sakura in full bloom
Clouds in the night sky


It was a rainy day. We visited the Chikusei mayor and museums and dyed silk scarves.

Boiling bowls of dye
Bright burbling witches brew
Silken salmon scarves


A highlight of the day was going up Tscuba. Although we didn’t hike up the whole way, it was good to stretch our legs at Tscuba’s two summits.

Bodies out of shape
We huff and puff to the top
As Tscuba-san laughs


Our last day in Japan. We had a wonderful time and now we must say goodbye.

Soon we fly away
Sayonara sakura
Petals softly fall

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During the second day of the District Conference, a number of different teams performed traditional music and dances from their respective regions.  Here, the American and Scottish GSE Teams are posing with a team from Thailand that has just performed a traditional dance of the seasons.  Jazz and Michael just couldn’t resist the opportunity to perform in the photo.

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Karaoke – Part II

Like I said before…  the team is pretty obsessed with karaoke.  Here, the GSE Team from New York is sharing the stage with the GSE Team from Scotland, while a number of Rotarians cheer them on.

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In addition to learning a lot about language and culture, we have also learned a bit about politics.  Here, Vicky is spending time with the governor of the Ibaraki Prefecture at the Rotary Club District Conference.

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District Conference

The Rotary Club District Conference has kept the team busy for the last few days.  Here’s a view of the stage.  The team would later present their impressions of Japan to an auditorium full of Rotarians.

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Typical Japan

The team has stayed in a number of different places during the last four weeks, and we are finally getting accustomed to the lay of the land.  This is a pretty typical Japanese neighborhood in the city of Shimodate.

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Sakura Blossoms

Although they made their appearance a little later than usual this year due to Japan’s particularly cold winter, the sakura (cherry) blossoms are finally in full bloom.  There are sakura trees everywhere, but they are particularly beautiful in this park near Harajuku.

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