We had to throw shuriken at a target, scale stone walls and castle walls, creep along a narrow ledge, and walk on water. Well, not walk directly on water, but we had to foot race across a floating bridge constructed of loosely connected planks, and also make our way across a swamp standing with one foot each in a kind of boat, propelling ourselves with bamboo poles.
Unfortunately, I didn't get many pictures of these events.
Yuki, Masako, Masa, and me. Everyone at English Studio is crazy about Masa, and not because he's one of the only 4 men in a women's school.
Note our lame attempts to pose ninja-style.
I also got to see Jonas, my tall and clever Swedish former coworker.
(Not to slap any labels on anyone.)
This was the first event: Jumping from a platform onto a stump, another stump, another one, over a hurdle onto another, and over a mattress onto the last stump.
Here's Don (the pink ninja) taking the plunge.
And this is a ninja house.
When we walked in, I thought, "This isn't so great, it's just a normal house." Ha! Shows you how much I know about ninjas! There were so many trapdoors, hidden ladders and staircases, secret passageways and floors-between-floors that I lost count after two minutes.
While I didn't get many pictures, numerous representatives of Japanese and foreign media were snapping pictures. They were particularly interested in our group, maybe because we were so large, or because there weren't any other honkies there.
We had a chance on the way back to see Robert and Masami, since we had a JR Norihoudai ("all-you-can-ride") ticket and we all got off at Kyoto for a wander. But we were feeling tired and scummy after falling in the swamp, so we took a rain check.
But I was happy to hear that Robert had moved back in with Masami. They seem so good for each other. Bad news is rife these days: last week, two of our closest friends (New Zealand couple) made an unexpected trip home because her father had died. I never met the man, but I love her, so I couldn't help but feel sad about that. I also heard last week that our other favorite couple (Japanese) had broken up, to my great surprise. He called me crying (she's a wonderful, beautiful woman, the one he lost). I didn't know what to say.
In happier news... Friendster! In the last 5 days or so, I've managed to reconnect with a number of dear friends (and friends of friends). It took me a while to figure out what Friendster was for, but now I realize what a beautiful thing it is. (Even though it hiccups a lot.. Today I've been trying, and failing, to send messages to a few people who have mailed me. Blah.)
Sandy came over tonight and we binged on Daily Show spoofs of the CA recall election. I know it's week-old news, but it's fun!
And in gardening news, it's the right season for cilantro. And my cilantro is thriving! I'm rearing about 30 plants. The Italian parsley is doing fine, too.
After I get paid this week, I'm going to start selling katoributa on my new katoributa.com site. Not very lucrative, I know. But stay tuned for a visual catalog!