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Adventures in Shiiba - December 1994
Erik Kassebaum

More Procrastination

Is Procrastination a hobby or a disease? Difficult question. I'd say if it prevents you from getting your work done, or causes other people to worry then it is a disease. If you can manage your affairs, get things done at the last moment and not worry anyone then it's a hobby. Kouichi - sorry about being late with this month's article.

Heike Matsuri

This year 13 students and 2 professors from the Miyazaki International College came to Shiiba in order to attend the Heike Matsuri. The students did homestays with families in Shiiba and their professors stayed with me. Though all of the students are Japanese, and most from Kyushu, none had ever been to Shiiba before. To them Shiiba was a mysterious place out in the mountains. The students came to Shiiba to observe the Matsuri and to talk with people about Shiiba's culture and dialects.

The students and their professors were amazed by Shiiba's beauty and by how nice everyone was. Dr. Thomas Johnson wondered how it was possible for such a small village to have so many talented people. Everyone really enjoyed the Matsuri.

The homestays provided the students with a good opportunity to talk with people about life in inaka. To the homestay families and the Board of Education - I wish to say "Thank You."

Now that the Matsuri is over I'll tell you a secret. I am glad that I was not chosen to be Daihachiro Nasu. For the last year, my friends in the Yakuba were jokingly suggesting that I should be this year's General Nasu. About two months ago I decided not to take any chances and started suggesting names of young men whom I thought would be appropriate for the role.

Catalog Shopping

In the past few years more and more Japanese have started to order goods from overseas via catalogs. Doing such usually provides shoppers with about a 40% savings. Some companies have started to publish Japanese language versions of their catalogs. Unfortunately, the prices are usually higher when you order from the Japanese language catalogs. Recently I've been asked to help people order things such as flower seeds, boots and hunting jackets from companies in the United States and Great Britain. It is usually safer to use a credit card when making this type of purchase. If you use a credit card, keep track of your monthly statements and report anything that looks suspicious. Finally, to all of the hunters in Shiiba I must apologize - we can't order shotguns and rifles through these catalogs.

Gossip and Rumors

Last month a number of people told me that they agreed with my observations regarding how the concept of privacy seems to be changing here in Japan. Because my Japanese is improving I am able to listen in on some of the gossip and rumors that are being spread throughout the village. All I can say is be careful for gossip has a life of its own. Though gossip may seem innocent - it isn't.