So last Sunday was the Mazda Ekiden (relay race). I may have mentioned before that our goal was do better than last year (67th place) and we DID it! it was cool clear day, but there was a bitter cold wind blowing in my face the whole way, but everyone of our 6 members said they were able to pass a few of the competition, bettering our position one leg at a time! The Mazda Ekiden is divided into two divisions, Community - like our team, and Company - for bragging rights around the Mazda plant I guess. Community is actually HARDER because lots of university track teams use the Ekiden as practice and devour the top 10 places or so. This year our score was 39th out of 160 teams though, meaning we got into the 75th percentile, and to cement that our overall score of 85th out of a total of a combined 338 teams!
After that, just like last year, the plan was to go eat at a yakiniku restaurant (like bbq'ing indoors and sitting down for those who don't know, it comes from Korea actually...) and we trudged over, exhausted, ready to eat! We sat down, order drinks that took forever to get there, and had a toast, and just started eating our first pieces of seasoned, thin sliced cow's tongue, when the waitress came to our table and announced, "There's a fire, we need everyone to leave. Please take your things with you and go"! Sure enough, the smoke intake at "table 2", as the servers kept saying, was blazing like a scene from Backdraft! They were doing every retarded thing to put it out (except use fire retardant), but they did put it out rather quickly. The manager then announced that they had to call the fire department anyway, so please leave, don't worry about the bill...which would be awesome if we had eaten a full meal, but we really only get enough to make us MORE HUNGRY! After checking about 4 more place and waking 40 minutes (after a race...) we did find a great place and it cost less than the first, and the service was very prompt, so it all worked out. Just you don't get the wrong impression, Yakiniku has been around a looong time and all the older Japanese guys I was with remarked that that had been the first time they'd seen ANY kind of restaurant fire, so it's not a common thing!
Since then, I've been running a couple times, and to touch rugby practice, so my legs feel like daggers, but hopefully they'll heal up big and strong :P
I went to the Oyster festival on Ondo and I also ran into one of my favorite teachers from my first year teaching, a P.E. teacher named Mr. Hirai. He was helping direct parking at a nearby elementary school, so we got to chat and catch up. Great times!