Hey all. After a brief hiatus I'm back. For all my  vegetarian friends, you know who you are, you might want to read just the first  part of this email because there is some "interesting" eating  experiences at the end. So without further delay let's begin. Some of my students are going to Kyoto, a  huge tourist attraction both inside and outside Japan. Their project is to  walk up to foreign strangers who they think speak English...introduce themselves  and ask a few simple questions. The basic questions are "what is your  name?", "where are you from?", and "why did you come to  Kyoto?" The basic run of the mill with, of course that lonely  exception student who decided to make a joke out of it. He is going to ask  "Where can I wash my hands?" "Where is the toilet?" "Do  you have any toilet paper?" and a statement "Your head is  shiney"...how nice...I'm sure any foreigner would love these. So I  decided "why fight this? why not just go with this kid and maybe he  will learn something..." So I decided to write down some helpful  questions I think a Japanese student should ask an unsuspecting foreigner...like  "Do you deal drugs?" and "Are you going to take over my  country?" Now some of you might think that was really evil of me to  do, but I say take what the kid wants and make it what you want and the student  will learn without knowing it. For the first time I saw this student  looking up words in his English/Japanese Dictionary and it was a wonderful  sight. Got him. Now the part that Veggy friends should  skip. This will be graphic...you shouldn't have eaten at anytime around  reading this. So around this time of year all Japanese businesses and  schools end and begin new years which of course have all kinds of parties that  go with them(are you sick yet?). So the night of my school's graduation I  went to the "school year end party". I was feeling fine, nothing  out of the ordinary until (you knew that was coming) the woman serving our food  brought out huge clear bowls of water with little (I say little but they are  about 3inches long) clear looking fish in them...swimming around having a good  ol' time. Of course I said to myself...well actually I'm pretty sure I  said it out loud..."are you kidding me?"...which no one understood or  heard, I don't think. So a little while later I'm looking around the room  and I begin to notice that my teachers are scooping these things up and putting  them either in their hands or bowls...and slurping away. Then I heard one  of my teachers say "Oh Jeff, this is what we call a dancing fish, please  try" "Please try"...words that often haunt both me my ALT  friends and me. At first I said no way...then after another suggestion I  said "well you only live once"...my teacher put about 5 in my  bowl...my chopstick expertise was useless because these fish aren't called  dancing fish for nothing. One almost danced right out of the bowl.  Then I looked around to see how "they" were doing it. Okay, put  the bowl right up to your mouth and slurp it in. Okay, here goes...but  first should I swallow it whole or chew? Well at this point I didn't want  to think about chewing so I swallowed one whole. The teachers of course  said that the fish was swimming around in my stomach and might cause  problems...in jest...I think. Okay, now I will chew one. Okay, get  that thing in my mouth...it's dancing inside...bite...don't think  ...motionless...swallow...one down 3 more to go.  Later that night the server brought out a  food I had tried once before and didn't like it so I wasn't going to  again. I was told it was cow stomach by a Japanese that knew a little  English when I ate it for the first time a couple months ago. Seems that  this Japanese guy didn't know the word for uterus because that is exactly what  one of my English teachers told me it was. Glad I didn't know that when I  had eaten it back then.  Well I've grossed you all enough. I  am going to Hiroshima and a few other places this coming week...leaving tomorrow  night. These few days off are called Golden Week in Japan and it is  tourist city. In a couple weeks I'm going to SKorea...you thought the food  in Japan was strange...let me just tell ya that the uterus thing was a Korean  dish... Bye now...