As part of my job as foreign liaison in Snow Monkey Village-Yudanaka I often have to show people around and soften some of the cultural challenges…
usually I have at least a little background knowledge and am reasonably well prepared,…but not today….
ah ow, I was about to crash into Matsumoto-Castle, almost literally^-^…Not even knowing where the entrance was, was going to be a challenge for me.
It’s strange how every day brings new & different drama.
Luckily I had met one of the other Go-Nagano Bloggers the week before and had a phone number…
Around 8:30am Tom Jones answered his phone, and we agreed to meet (together with my slightly unusual guests) at 10:40am by the Family Mart near the Castle.
I was so thankful to have someone who had a few clues about the place…
10:30 Coming off the highway from Yudanaka my phone starts to shake & ring,
pulling off the road it’s Tadachi-san from the local government government…
…”I’ll be your guide today….” – super, another guide can’t hurt^-^.
Mike & Jacky our English Montaineering guests were very impressed they now had 3 guides!
But wait there’s more^-^
Some god must have been watching my looks of agony as I tried to sleep the night before dreading the unknown castle,
when we reached Family Mart carpark, and Tadachi-san showed me the City Council parking he said “let me introduce you to my guide for the day”
It was like Mike & Jacky (who are actually guides themselves) had started an atomic chain reaction…first me, then Tom, within minutes Tadachi-san, and then in the final moments before entering…the best guide inthe universe ‘Aoki-sensei’.
I hope the students that Mike & Jacky bring, enjoy Nagano’s people as much as I did today.
Matsumoto-Jo was a very impressive military creation, but more impressive was Aoki-sensei’s, Tadachi-san’s, and my new friend Tom Jones’, explanation.
Tom Jones having a PHD in Forests & Wood, Tadachi-san’s care & courtesy and Aoki’s detail + quite ripe jokes made this an absolutely unforgettable experience…
if I can work out how to put some pictures up here…please enjoy…also see Katsuo Marushige’s 100year old Bonsai trees below too^-^