Date: May 27th - June 2nd
The Gatalympics were held in Kashima two days after my return from Kobe. Basically, the Gatalympics are bunch of events conducted on the mud flaps of a nearby coast. They have become a famous throughout Japan, with people traveling from near and far to watch people caked head to toe in slim. Needless to say, being dirty gaijin, a huge load of us were amping. I must say,, the event had a lot of expectations to live up to after hearing how great it was last year, and well, it passed with flying colours! It was so much fun. I had the unfortunate displeasure, though, of having a wad of mud, thrown at me as soon as I jumped in, landing right in my ear hole and another glob in the corner of my eye. By this stage my hands were covered, as was my t-shirt and any part of me that could be useful for dislodging the mud. Having a load of mud in your ear and eye is not something I recommend! Oh, and it tasted pretty damn bad too! Haha, but damn it was too much fun rolling around in the mud and wrestling with anything that looked like a nearby body.
The event we were entered into was called "world cup". It basically involved about 20 teams, of five, spread out in a large square with a golden world cup trophy in the middle. When the hooter sounded each team, contained within a loop of string meaning you can only move as fast as your slowest person, had to make their slow, muddy, tiring way to the trophy the fastest. Our team didn't stand a chance, but it was loads of fun nonetheless. Some of the other events involved, paddling on "surf boards" across a short distance, an obstacle course, a rope swing to see who can go the furthest, a straight up race through the mud and a female only wrestling event which was contended well by our representing ALT's. All in all the day was a bundle of fun even if I did have to go commando after I had my cold, hose spray, shower to get "clean".
The highlight of the following week was an afternoon visit, Karen and I made, to Kitagata Park on June 2nd (Ali's Bday - happy birthday 2LT). We were just looking for a way to enjoy the afternoon sun outdoors somewhere new when we struck gold. After walking across a long bridge/jetty from one side of a lake to the other we stopped to admire some bugs. They were just sitting on top of the water and looking all buggy and fascinating. After we had been there a couple of minutes I glanced down to my left to the lake bank and what do I see? A cheeky, sneaky, snakey snake that's what! I quickly proceeded to call out to Karen in as quite but excited voice as I could muster.... "Holy shit... look there's a f**king snake!... a f**king snake!... primo!!..." Mr Snake was really cool in the end as he proceeded to have a little swim for us just showing off a bit but allowing me enough time to get my camera out for a sneaky video and couple of photos! First wild snake in Japan, check!