This is the third time that I have come back to Gotemba.

File Oct 28, 16 36 17

I think I have described a typical day previously.  It starts with a morning wake-up announcement followed in one half hour by the morning assembly.  The assembly routine begins with the exchange of a morning greeting (phonetically – ohio gozima) and bow followed by the flag raising.  The raisers then introduce themselves and we proceed to radio exercises.  There are apparently 3 versions but we always do #1.  EVERYONE knows the routine.  Have a look at a shortened version.  Class starts at 0830 following breakfast.  We end at 1700 (5 PM) with a flag lowering ceremony.  

The US base fires off artillery shells most mornings and US helicopters fly around all day long. It must be incredible to be 20-something and fly a Black Hawk around the base of Fuji by day and enjoy Japanese food and culture by night. But maybe that is just the wistful musing of a guy in his late 60s.
The most prominent team billeted at Gotemba with us was a group of railroad engineer trainees from a private Japanese company.  They marched around in formation, shouting out marching cadences and answers to questions from before the morning flag raising until bedtime.  It was pretty amusing but I would have hated to be one.  Again, this is not unusual behavior for business or other organizational trainees.

In addition to being unfailingly polite, the Japanese people I work with are collectively industrious.  When late for class (a rarity), they are embarrassed and profusely apologetic.  Even the most accomplished are self-effacing and modest.  This is the only place where we have regular night sessions. Although my hosts suggested doing these 1.5 – 2 hour sessions, opting out was never an option.

Everything went well.  After the course we did a one-day workshop for former course graduates and then some supplemental work with one of our new assistants on the final day.   I think everyone enjoyed their courses and I hope that they learned something of value.  Tak and Isamu continue to make wonderful progress.  They are valuable colleagues and good friends.


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