Yokohama and Farewell Party

On Tuesday me and a few friends went to Yokohama for the day and went to Chinatown and the bay area. Then, on Saturday our dorm held a farewell party. We still have a few weeks before people start leaving, but with finals starting this coming week, they figured now would be the best time. It’s hard to believe it’s already time to say farewell.

Yokohama was a lot of fun.We’d had class first period, but as soon as that was over we were on the train to Yokohama. We arrived in Yokohama around lunch time, so we decided to go to Chinatown first and get something eat. We didn’t want to go any place expensive, but we wanted to go to one of the nicer decorated shops simply because we wanted the full Chinatown experience. At first we were seated in the very back of the restaurant we chose, which we were a little disappointed by because the back didn’t look as nice, but we talked to the waitress and they were happy to move us to the front. Apparently they had put us in the back because they thought we would want a no smoking area.

Once our bellies were full, we were off to explore the many shops in the area. Somehow we ended up spending a total of three hours in Chinatown. We must have walked up and down the street at least four times because we couldn’t decide what we wanted to buy. In the end, we decided to get calligraphy paintings. There were vendors on the street who would paint calligraphy for you, and most could do it in 5-7 depending on how many characters you wanted. It was cool because it wasn’t the traditional black ink you see most calligraphy written in. These kanji were drawn by combining drawings of dragons or bamboo or other characters and they were all sorts of lively colors. I decided to get my name 清子(Kiyoko), and my friend decided to get 太鼓(Taiko) since he loves playing Taiko. Check out the video at the end of this post to watch him paint it.

After that we headed to a small park next to the bay area. They had all sorts of different flowers and had some small paths you could stroll through between the flowers. However, a lot of them looked to be suffering in the summer heat. After that we just continued to stroll along the bay area, enjoying the water and the buildings in the distance.

For dinner we stopped in the Red Brick Warehouse, which is literally a long red brick building that has lots of restaurants. After eating, we took a some time to walk around the different shops.

Lastly we stopped at Cosmo World, a mini amusement park. Entrance to the park is free. You have to buy tickets for each of the rides you want to go on. We decided just to go on the ferrris wheel because we wanted to get a good view of the city from the air.

The farewell party held by my dorm was a ton of fun, despite the fact that it’s a bit bittersweet. Once everybody had gathered in the lobby, we made our way down to the river where we decided to have a water fight. The RAs (Resident Assistances) brought waterballoons for everybody and many people had brought their own water guns. If that wasn’t good enough, a lot of the people ended up in the river. By the end of it, I don’t think a single person remained dry.

The water fight died down, but never really ended. Even as we moved onto other events, people would continue to surprise one another with a water gun shot to the back. However, most people turned their attention to Suikawari, which means watermelon splitting. It’s a common game you see at parties and such. In a way, it’s kind of like having a piñata at birthday parties. In Suikawari, somebody is blindfolded and given a bat (always a good idea, I know). We made the person put their head on the end of the bat and spin around 10 times. After that, the person has to try to smash the watermelon with the bat, but you have to listen to the other people in the crowd to know when to swing the bat. Some of the people will actually tell you where you need to go while others will guide you in the wrong direction.

I decided to give it a try, because why not? Let me tell you, spinning around the bat 10 times is a lot. I wish somebody had taken a video of it, because it would’ve been absolutely hilarious to watch. I looked so drunk and actually fell twice. The first time was when I was spinning around the bat, but I sort of just dropped to my knees. The second time was when I finished doing my 10 spins. I tried to stand upright but I was so dizzy I started falling to my left. My friend sort of caught me, but I still ended up on the ground. I couldn’t even walk, let alone try and smash a watermelon. Once some of the dizzyness faded, I somehow managed to walk forward and get close to the watermelon. However, when I finally swung the bat, I completely missed, haha. Oh well, it was a funny experience. Once the two watermelons we brought had been smashed, we divided up the watermelon among all the participants.

Then we did some small fireworks. We had the traditional sparklers, bottle rockets, smoke bombs, and other fun little fireworks. We even had some slightly bigger ones that looked like a water fountain of fireworks, or shot small fireworks into the air.

After that we all returned to the dorm and took quick showers since the water from the river wasn’t exactly the cleanest water in the world. Once we were all clean and cozy, we gathered in the dining hall to watch a video one of the RAs had made. I’ll admit that this was the part I was worried for. If anything was going to make me cry about having to go back home, this video would probably be it. It was an amazing video, and I could definitely feel a lump rise in my throat when watching it, but I think my saving grace was knowing that I wasn’t actually leaving yet. I only managed not to cry because I knew I still had some time to hang out with these wonderful people.

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