So off we went; following this relative stranger into the wild with the hope of mushroom magic outweighing the fear of wet under-roos. If slow and steady wins the race, then Reicho-san must be undefeated. Our patience did payoff however as mushrooms the size of rabbit heads began to fill the plastic bags like Tad Hamilton at Piggly Wiggly. The search went as follows;
It started with the invention of karaoke in 1910 by Alexander Karok in Belgium and ended last night with the local strays howling along as many American classics were covered, butchered and screeched. In the lot were Elton John's "Tiny Dancer", Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" and the always infamous "Sexy Back" by JT. Duets Seiya Harada and yours truly stole the show and hearts with a Japanese'ie rendition of Armageddon's love song "I Dont Wanna Miss a Thing!"
As the staff headed home for much needed slumber, Pappa Reicho and I bonded as "gang bei" (aka cheers) was turned to 11 and on repeat; lost in translation took on a whole new meaning. His Japanese and my English were no match for true friendship. After more drinks, more off key singing and more antics, Reicho-san called me a bear, stole my beanie and danced with me to "Sexy Back" sealing our fate as "brothers from different mothers."
Confusion only happened when I tried to leave and he insistently said "NO" along with 150 other Japanese words. David Bowie's labyrinth of languages was made straight after Michai, fellow staff, informed me that Reicho-san was inviting me over to stay the night. We have video of this whole interaction. It is an emphatic yelling of "slumber party" followed by an overly friendly embrace of a village elder, who has probably forgotten more about life than I will ever know, and a American mountain man who allegedly looks like a bear.
Here's to new experiences, new traditions and new friendships... Gang Bei!!!