This past Saturday Otobe held its 22nd annual Town Walk Walk Tournament. Yes, you are seeing two ‘walks’. Don’t ask me, might have something to do with Doraemon.
There were three lengths/types offered during the tounament – a 4.8km ‘short course’, a 7km ‘challenge course’, and a 6.1km ‘hiking course’. Most people ended up doing the hiking course (because it took a fun route through the hills near town) or the short course (for the wimps, including me, and most people over the age of 85). The short course folks walked out to a spring a couple of kilometers inland from the sea, had a drink, and walked back. It was a really nice day.
I spent most of the first half near the back, with one of the first grade teachers and some of her students. We were closely followed by a bus, in case anyone dropped from the grueling pace (harhar). There was one moment that I wish I could have caught on film, when the group encountered one of only two items of wildlife on the walk – a worm. All three little girls stopped short, with little gasps of horror, before they realized they were in no danger. (the other item of wildlife was a dead mouse – no shocked response).
The leaves haven’t quite started turning here yet.
When we got back, there was hot fish soup for everyone to enjoy. Most of the adults ate and then flopped on the grass, while the children got a second wind and threw themselves at the playground equipment.
The soup brought up an interesting point – the Japanese people, in general, are pretty proud of enjoying quite a few edible items that most Westerners would decline. However, I gained some brownie points that afternoon for gulping down all of the fish in the soup. Apparently, the preparers had accidentally included a few unpopular varieties, and my view that ‘fish is fish, especially white fish’ was considered unusual.