Junko, Rizo and I started my final day in a traditional Japanese tea garden, which was located adjacent to my hotel. Before this week, I never thought I’d be sipping green tea in Japan, but there I was, among the bamboo and Japanese maples. The leaves are just starting to change so the scenery was a nice mix of green and orange with hints of red. The tea was greener than I had imagined.
After, we visited another hospital branch close to Nagoya where the veterinarian was inquisitive and spoke English very well. A beautiful new facility, similar to my own.
On the way back to Inuyama we lunched at a ramen noodle joint. I had a huge bowl filled with ramen, broth, and pork bits. Tasty and filling, but loaded with garlic. My apologies to the poor guy who had to sit next to me on the plane that evening. We picked up George Sensei and headed out again to Tokoname, noted for handmade pottery. Rizo and I crafted bowls and cups which may be ready for transport to the US by the time George Sensei leaves. I told him it’s ok if he breaks them on the way. No pressure.
We had a quick bite at a coffee shop nestled among the maze of shops. I noted that most of the Japanese people I spoke to drink coffee in the morning, not tea, as I had falsely assumed. George Sensei also has a sweet red bean mix that comes close to the flavor of Boston baked beans. Many eat nato, which is a gooey mess of soybeans. I don’t think I would eat it daily, although it is supposed to be full of vitamins. Maybe I would mix it with rice to give it some life.
A brief “see you soon” before the airport security line and the Otha family were on their way home, and I was off to the second longest flight of my life.
As I look back on the experience, I’m reminded that some of the greatest times in my life have been on foreign soil, and some great bonds were made. I will never tire of traveling. Thank you Merck Animal Health for the opportunity. It was truly amazing.