Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Another busy weekend

I have been avoiding 2 busy weekend days in a row for most of the spring but this weekend I had two big events. The first was the Toyama Elementary School/ALT Sports Day. This is the 4th year I've participated in this event, and it's fun and rewarding every time!

Elementary students from around the prefecture come to a huge sports facility in Toyama city and play organized games with around 30 ALTs for the afternoon. It's an all day affair for the ALTs as we get there around 10 to do a run-through and to get organized before the kids arrive. We are split into teams by color -red, blue, yellow and white. I was on the white team this year. We had about 20 kids on each team. Although everything is translated into Japanese for the kids, we still explain everything in English as well and the kids love it!

Thanks for the photos Phil!

Sunday I was up at 3:45 a.m. for a VW event that was to start at 9:30 in Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo. 5 of us went together in Hamada-san's Bus, we stayed until around 4:30 and then headed back home because we all had to work the next day!

I even got to drive for part of the trip! I was a little shocked that they asked/trusted me and very pleased by this -ha. Especially since I had no problems once I figured out the friction point on the clutch. Of course I drove through the only wet part of the trip, but luckily there were lots of tunnels. It had been a long time since I had driven something so big. Mom, I've got to give you tons of credit for driving us around in the big green beast all those years. Now I know where you get those pipes from!

And my ego was boosted even more when the next guy to drive go in and couldn't do it. We didnt' even get up the exit ramp to the expressway before we changed drivers again. Granted, he's only been driving for 4 or 5 years and he drove a Type 3 and now a Ghia during that time...but c'mon! So I have to give credit where credit is due -thanks Dad for teaching me how to drive. Well, first thanks for not abadoning me on the side of the road every time I got out of the car and refused to drive any further during one of your lessons....AND, thanks for giving me the know how to listen and handle a quirky engine.

My buddy Kazz joined us from Tokyo and we spent the day admiring some very awesome dubs. There were two Kubelwagens and only one Thing at the event, but plenty of buses to keep me occupied all day. I met a guy who lived in California for 5 years and is into buses, we exchanged e-mail addresses and hopefully I'll get an opportunity to see him again at more events.

Because it was a swap meet and not a show, people had all kinds of things for sale in front of their dubs. Probably the most random were dress shoes for men and women. Others were selling the usual -models, t-shirts, stickers etc. Shigeo (the Bug Works shop owner) drove his newly restored cabriolet to the event (puck trailer in tow) and had a booth set up for his stuff. I'm not sure how much money he made, but people were really admiring his Beetle and I think that was his main goal.

our first pit stop - of many...but not for food, only gas and cigarettes -that's what I get for travelling with men, um, boys.

the view

Hamada-san brewing coffee for everyone upon arrival.


Rusty but trusty.

BBQ anyone?

This is a '73 Thing. Mine's a '74 so it has the added side vents. I like the white top. Like everyone else, he got his parts from the Thing Shop