Today we said goodbye to our homestay families. Mine sent me off with a breakfast of curry and nan bread, a surprise for me but very tasty. Sumiko took me to the train station to meet the rest of the group. Ioku was there as well to send us off. Dr. Stapp conspired with us to give her the Banzai treatment. We surrounded her, lifted her off the ground, and threw her in the air three times and yelled “Banzai!” It was a hoot!

Then, we returned to Nagoya where we visited Kirin Beer. The Kirin Beer tour was a lot of fun. We had a great tour guide, namely Dr. Stapp, who was very, very, very enthusiastic about Kirin beer. Kirin had a nice exhibition hall where they showed how the beer was made. One section had the actual components used to make beer, the barley, hops, etc., that you could touch.

The hall overlooked the actual beer process. It was very much like the opening scene in Laverne and Shirley where all the beer comes down in rows on a conveyor belt. Kirin uses the andon system the same as Toyota and while we were there they had stopped production to fix a problem.

At the end of the tour, they had free samples of Kirin products. I had one of Kirin’s orange juice drink and a fruit drink called Amipurusu (I think that’s what it was called) which were both quite delicious. They were served with a little package of Kirin’s snack food which included a wasabe corn ball and small, dried fish with the eyes still in it which tasted, well, like fish. Now after this trip, I hope they don’t revoke my Baptist card.

On the way back from Nagoya to Kyoto I did some wartraining. I detected 6 hotspots, 4 unsecured and 2 secured, evenly divided between b and g protocols. There might have been more but the bullet train goes so fast weaker networks might not have been detected.

I also have to say again how stunning beautiful Japan is. If I didn’t know any better I’d say the almost the entire country was meticulously manicured. We passed through some low hills back to Kyoto and the fog was slowly rising off of them in the background.

Afterward dropping off our gear, a few of us went shopping at a department store near the Kyoto station. We had been in there earlier in the trip but we had arrived there just as they had closed so we didn’t see very much of it. When we returned tonight, we found that it is a much bigger place than we originally thought. They have everything there from clothes to a bookstore to an electronics store in it.

The bookstore was a little depressing. I love bookstores and I love being able to sit in them and read. To be in the presence of so many books with their form and smell and know that you can’t read any of it was frustrating. However, after wondering around I found a wall full of English books and magazines. They even had my favorite magazine, the Economist, and I finally got to catch up with what’s going on in the world.

The electronics store was a little different from American retail outlets. They had computers, software, and other gadgets just like a BestBuy. But you could also buy motherboards and cases there as well.

We returned to our hotel to work a bit and catch up before the grind starts up again tomorrow. But a maybe, we’ll play a little poker first.

Tomorrow, Shoyeido Incense, Todiji castle and its sword smith shop, and a Typhoon!