Monday, 25 October 2010

GEPIK Orientation October 2010

So almost 6 months into our year in Korea and it was time to go do some training. GEPIK (Gyeongi Education Program in Korea) Orientation is mandatory for all Native Speaker English Teachers in Gyeongi Province. It would have been more useful when we first arrived but we came at a weird time due to the teachers before us leaving early. The training was at a residential course for 3 days in some far flung corner of Gyeonggi province. We got paid our usual wage (i.e for working 8.30am to 4.30pm) for the time we were there and they put on a bus to get us down there which was nice because the training centre was miles from any kind of civilisation. We had an early start to go and catch our bus and made it to the bus with exactly one minute to spare before the advertised departure time. It turned out we needn't have bothered running though because the bus waited around for another ten minutes while the driver had a fag.

Before we arrived at the training we had contacted them to ask if we could be put in a room together since the rooms we were staying in were for two people and we came to Korea as a couple, applied for our jobs, as a couple and live together in the same apartment as a couple. However, we were told this wasn't possible as sleeping arrangements had to be split up by gender, no exceptions - who knows what we might get up to! No-one was able to give us a straight answer as to why this was the case. We were given at least 3 different reasons why we couldn't share a room including that it was against GEPIK rules, it was against the rules of the company that managed the facilities and also the classic 'it's against Confucianism'! It was only for a couple of nights but it was pretty annoying and we did kind of feel like they were treating us like children. Also, we only have one set of basic toiletries as we usually share accommodation so it made having a shower and brushing our teeth a bit of a pain in the neck! Our same gender room mates were cool though and we did our best not to be too pissed off about it despite the GEPIK staff being really pretty unhelpful about it all.

We arrived at the training facility and were immediately made to line up by gender to get our name badges and room keys. After dumping our stuff in our rooms we went to the rather chilly main hall to attend the opening ceremony. This started with us all being made to stand up and pay homage to the Korean flag whilst having the Korean national anthem blasted at us which was quite surreal. Then we were treated to a performance of Samul Nori, a traditional form of Korean percussion music that originated form farmers' folk music. The performance was really interesting and even included a bit of plate spinning!

Samul Nori performers at the opening ceremony of GEPIK Orientation.

Sanul Nori means "four objects" (samul) "play" (nori) because it is performed with four traditional Korean instruments including 2 drums and 2 gongs.

Plate spinning skillz!

After the long opening ceremony, we had lunch which was really not very appetising. They attempted to cook Western style food but failed miserably and it didn't help that the food was all cold as well. This was a real shame as the whole training facility was freezing and we'd really been looking forward to some hot food. The only decent meal we had at the training was bibimbap presumably because it is a Korean dish.

Our delicious welcome dinner. It consisted of cold spaghetti with tomato sauce (the only warm thing on the plate) freezing cold, lumpy, mashed potato and a cold burger in some kind of brown sauce. Mmmmmm!

Then we started on the first round of lectures on GEPIK, Korean culture, co-teaching and the Korean education system. Some of these lectures were useful but I have to say that most were not, partly because we had been here for 4 months already I guess. There was lots of talk about the differences between Western and Korean culture and their different styles of education. This would probably have been quite useful for the first time teacher fresh off the plane but for us and the majority of teachers who had been there for a month or more these lectures were a bit pointless. The bottom line seemed to be that whatever was asked of you, no matter how ridiculous, you should just accept it and do it because it was due to cultural differences and/or Confucianism! Also, some of the lectures didn't seem very well informed and some of the more experienced Native English teachers in attendance were actually correcting the information that lecturers were giving us which was a bit worrying. We did get shown a funny and informative video though about a (fictional?) English teacher called Mario and his experiences of cultural differences in Korea including the classic one where he tries to phone in sick with a heavy cold and his Korean co-teachers come to his house to take him to hospital. This point was used to explain to us that Koreans go to the hospital for much more minor things than people in the West do and that Koreans also don't really take time off sick unless they're completely incapacitated, things that we have already found to be true.

By far the best lecture we attended was one called classroom management by a guy called Tim Thompson. Unlike mots of the other lectures it was actually packed with really useful information and tips for teaching and he didn't feel the need to bellow at us in a patronising manner like some of the other speakers had. The points he made were really insightful and his teaching and discipline tips were really helpful. In fact, we have both started implementing some of his ideas in our classrooms now, particularly Rowan who has now split all his classes into teams to try to use competition and student's loyalty to one another as aids to discipline. I think he is having mixed success with this at the moment but he says that discipline is better than it had been before so that must be a good thing.

The Orientation schedule was actually quite long and demanding. They obviously didn't want us to have too much time to ourselves in case we got up to trouble (apparently in previous years GEPIK Orientation had been treated as a non stop drinking party by the English teachers so now we were paying the price with a midnight curfew, a no soju rule and with not being allowed off the training centre premises without a pass which no-one seemed able to get!) The training was for 3 days but we only really had lectures for the first 2days. The lectures went on until 6 pm on both days followed by dinner until 7pm and then on the first day there was an optional Korean language class for beginners or an optional lecture on how to jazz up PowerPoint presentations until 8.30pm. After all that, we had to prepare a demo lesson presentation with the person who had been assigned to us as our partner earlier in the day. Most of us met up with our partners in the computer room and had to fight to get a computer as there weren't enough computers for everybody to work on. Some people spent ages working on their presentation, making pretty PowerPoints and props and were still beavering away until 10.30pm. We were still working on ours until about 10pm so we were pretty knackered when we were finally able to enjoy some 'free time'. We had a pretty quiet night that first day and after just one beer we said goodbye to each other and went to our separate rooms on our separate floors. It was a very misty morning on day 2 so Rowan went for a wander and got some photos of the training centre's grounds in the mist, including the extremely high, vertigo inducing assault course.

GEPIK in the mist.

Part of the assault course in the mist.

An important message that everyone should pay attention to - this was pasted up on the wall outside the training centre.

We had another packed morning of Korean culture lectures and then in the afternoon it was time for us to do our demo lesson presentations. I did my presentation about the present and past tense and it seemed to go ok. Rowan and his partner Jeanette did a presentation called Costumes and Cultures and it was an absolute scream! It was an outrageous collection of bizarre national stereotypes including unlikely claims about how all Scottish people wear kilts, eat haggis and toss the caber and how Canadians wear lumberjack shirts and only eat maple syrup and pancakes. It included some ridiculous accents, impressions and various other silliness. Other people in our group said it reminded them of something out of Monty Python. They ended up being voted the best presentation which evidently irked the coordinators a bit as it possibly wasn't the most serious of the contributions so they decided to award a second prize to a team who hadn't taken such a comedic approach. Rowan was very proud of the GEPIK branded mug he won as a prize and used it to drink from for the rest of the training.

The training centre was surrounded by really pretty, peaceful countryside and was set in nice grounds too.

After dinner on the second day we were all amide to take part in some kind of bizarre mass games in the main auditorium. This hour of enforced fun was called Movin' and Groovin' and it was compulsory. We were all split into large random groups of which ours was the most unenthusiastic and each group was assigned a GEPIK coordinator. Our leader seemed to be as unenthusiastic as were were. We then had to make up some kind of cheerleading chant for our team using our coordinator's name. Ours was pretty lacklustre but some of the other teams really went to town and made a huge amount of noise. I think it didn't help that our group was right at the back of the auditorium so we couldn't really hear what was going on and what we were supposed to be doing. Then we played some team building games and had to do some silly dancing. This was quite amusing but seemed a little pointless seeing as we were all going home the next day. Team building games are surely better used as an ice breaker on the first day. I'm sure it would have been more fun if we had been allowed to have some beer whilst doing the games as well! One of the weirdest moments was when the GEPIK coordinators all had to get up on stage and have a dance off for points for their teams. Some of them seemed to really enjoy it and went for it but some just looked really embarrassed and I felt quite sorry for them.

Me and a couple of crazy girls we met on orientation amused ourselves in the auditorium by racing each other on our wheeled chairs. It was fun!

Everyone gathered for thye Movin' and Groovin' mass games.

After the mass games we were finally free to drink and make merry, though we were under strict instructions that if we wanted to take photos we shoiuld not put them up on Facebook etc. and tag them as GEPIK Orientation as the anti-English contingent in Korea would seize on it as proof that we hadn't actually been doing training but had just spent the 3 days partying at the Korean tax payers expense. This despite the long hours we put in and the fact that most of the people on the training did treat it seriously and did work hard and attend all the required lectures. It seems that there is a small but vocal section of Korean society who don't want us here and think that English education is a waste of money. They're welcome to their opinions of course but I'm not sure that GEPIK should be kow-towing to them really. Therefore, the following pictures do not contain any alcohol in them and merely demonstrate the fun we had that night making new friends and playing table tennis whilst of course remaining completely sober! (No we didn't buy and drink any of the beer on sale in the training facility's on-site shop - that would have been wrong.)

One of the many games of table tennis that we played on our last night at training. We played it using our hands instead of rackets and loads of us played at once. Once you took your turn you had to run to the side and the next person took their turn and so on until there were two left then they played a normal game.

I won a game of table tennis eventually so was allowed to wear the ping pong crown for one round. Notice that I'm holding a bottle of water in my hand as I'm a true sporting professional.

Some people got together at the end of the night for a bit of a sing-a-long but this was soon broken up and we were herded to our rooms - it was midnight after all and there was a risk we could all have turned into pumpkins.

It was a good way to end the Orientation and we had a really good night. I think we deserved it as well after all those lectures. On the third and last day, we handed our keys back in and had a meeting in the morning to go through the terms of our contract. This was actually pretty useful and allowed people the chance to ask questions about their contracts and get advice for any problems they were having. Then it was all back on the buses and we were back in Moran by midday, effectively giving us a half day off which was a nice bonus.

People are smiling because they're leaving and it's Friday and we have a half day off. Nice-uh!

Overall, I thought the training had it's good and bad points. I made some comments on the feedback form about how I thought the Orientation could be improved, such as by having more practical info for first time English teachers (e.g. how to set up a bank account and transfer money home, how the recycling and household rubbish rules work in Korea, how to pay bills etc.) as many people struggle with those things, less repetition on Korean culture as we kept getting told the same things over and over and more lesson planning help, maybe with some demonstrations of good lessons by experienced teachers. After all, most of us at the Orientation were first time teachers with little or no teaching experience and the things most people were worried about were things like classroom management, good English games and effective lesson planning. Still, we met some cool people who we have since met up with and the ping pong was fun!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Japan! Part 4 - Monkey Mountain and Beppu

We woke up on the last full day of our Japan vacation feeling very tired thanks to some drunk Americans who had woken us up at 4am shouting and banging about in the corridor outside their (and our) rooms. In fact, they were so loud that I'd assumed that it was 7 or 8am and it was time to get up as surely nobody would be so selfish and inconsiderate as to make that much of a row in a hostel where they shared the facilities with other travellers from all over the world would they? So, we were not at all impressed and had a bit of a crap start to the day. Still, we dragged ourselves up and caught the 9.20am Sonic Express train to Beppu, a city on east coast of Kyushu island. Yet again, the weather was warm and sunny and we passed through some really pretty countryside on our train journey

The Sonic Express was fast and smooth and really nice, with wooden floors and big comfy seats.

View of the Japanese countryside from the train window.

We pulled into Beppu around 11.20am and headed straight for tourist information to get some maps and a bus timetable. Beppu is a bit of a tourist town as it is known as Japan's onsen (hot spring) capital and according to Wikipedia " it has the second largest volume of hot water in the world after Yellowstone in the USA and has the largest number of hot spring sources in Japan". Beppu is literally drowning in hot springs so it is a good place to sample that favourite Japanese pastime the hot spring bath, hence the large numbers of tourists. Our first onsen experience was a public hand bath just outside the train station and the water was lovely and hot.

We decided to take a little side trip though before we explored Beppu's onsens. We had heard about a mountain near to Beppu called Takasakiyama that had a large population of Japanese macaque monkeys living on it so we attempted to go there. It should have been a 10 minute bus journey to get there. However, we must have caught the bus going in the wrong direction or something and what should have been a quick 10 min trip turned into over an hour long odyssey across 3 different buses and a lot of confusion! Never mind, it was worth it. I'd never seen monkeys living in the wild before so I was very excited about going to the monkey park. Takasakiyama (Mount Takasaki) is a forested mountain and home to more than 1500 wild Japanese monkeys. The monkeys are fed regularly by park wardens, apparently to keep them on the mountain and prevent conflicts with farmers and residents in the neighbourhood. We rode the monorail up through the gardens and found there were monkeys everywhere as we had arrived at feeding time. We had wondered if we would see any monkeys but we needn't have worried. They were climbing over everything and were busy grooming each other, playing and fighting. The fighting and screeching was a little unnerving actually. We got chatting to an American girl and as we were talking two scrapping monkeys came screaming past and one of them grabbed her leg. She shrieked and grabbed hold of me in terror which was embarrassing for her but pretty funny. I think if one of those monkeys had grabbed me I would have done the same thing - they looked cute and fluffy but their claws and teeth didn't and the older males were quite sizeable. Anyways, it was really interesting to see such a large group of monkeys interacting with each other and we got loads of nice photos of them too.

The monkey mountain monorail for lazy people like us that couldn't be bothered to walk.

These were two of the first monkeys we saw. They spent ages just grooming each other, picking out the fleas and yep, eating them!

This monkey was down on his luck and ended up in the gutter.

The guy in the yellow shirt is a staff member feeding the monkeys which is why they're all following him like the Pied Piper.

It was a pretty hot day so some of the monkeys were taking a bit of a dip.

The cutest, cuddliest monkey baby ever - it would rip your face off given half a chance though!

Mum's stuck doing the school run again. Life's not easy, even for monkeys.

We finally got a shot of the giant black butterflies that we'd been seeing all round Korea this summer and here it is. This photo doesn't really show the scale of it but it was about the size of an outstretched adult hand i.e. pretty big!

Monkdonna and child.

Cute baby monkey perched on a sign.

Monkey puzzle tree!

After hanging out with the monkeys for a bit we caught a bus back to Beppu, picked up some bakery food for lunch and caught another bus along the coast to a popular beach-side sandbath where the guidebook said the staff spoke good English. It turned out the staff didn't speak a word of English so it was very confusing! After a while we worked out with the help of a young Japanese customer that we had to wait 30 mins for a sandbath but in the meantime we could sit out the back dipping our feet in a very hot foot bath overlooking the sea which was very relaxing. When our time came we went off to our separate changing rooms, and got changed into some loose fitting robes and made our way outside onto the beach. We were buried in shallow sand trenches by a small army of women armed with shovels. The sand was heated by the hot springs and we had little wood blocks to rest our heads on. The experience was pleasant if a little odd. It was a relaxing lying there facing the sea and hearing the lapping of the tide but it was kind of creepy being buried alive! After 20 mins we were allowed to lift ourselves out of the sand and we went off to our separate changing rooms again where we had a shower to get all the sand off, dumped our robes into a laundry chute and then went for a soak in the hot bath with a load of other naked people!

View of the coast from the beach behind the Sand Bath place.

Hot foot bath on the beach.

People getting buried in hot sand by ladies wielding shovels.

After getting dried off and dressed we got a bus up the hill to have a look at some of Beppu's nine 'hells' (geothermal hot spots). These were hot springs for looking at rather than bathing in and we saw two of them, a red one called Blood Hell and a blue one called Sea Hell. They were very steamy and they stank of sulphur, that eggy odour that we had already encountered at Mount Aso. They were boiling eggs in the Sea Hell though I can't imagine they tasted very nice given the smell wafting out of the spring! They both looked very impressive though.

There were so many hot springs in Beppu that there was even steam rising up from under the streets.

The Blood Hell is Japan's oldest hell and gets its colour from the red clay that it sits in.

The cobalt blue pool of boiling water called the Sea Hell is apparently 200m deep and emerged about 1200 years ago after a volcanic eruption.

After looking round the hells it was getting dark so we headed back to the station and caught a train back to Fukuoka. As it was our last night in Japan and we loved the food there so much we decided to go on food mission to try and sample a few of Japan's specialities while we had the chance. The first thing on our list was tempura so we went to a little place called West which had been recommended in the guidebook. The tempura was pretty nice but it was more of a greasy spoon cafe than the bustling, steamy ramen joint that the guidebook had promised. After that we did some more wandering the streets in pursuit of somewhere to get some o-tore sashimi (raw fatty tuna belly) but we couldn't find anywhere that served that so we settled on a place that had some normal tuna ngiri and had a few pieces of that along with some sake. We expected the sake to come in a small glass so we were pretty surprised when they brought out a jug of it for us to enjoy! I'm sorry to say that we ended up abandoning a fair bit of it, there was just too much. We did a bit more wandering but by about 1am we were knackered (it had been a hell of a long day) and a bit lost so we grabbed a taxi back to the hostel. It wasn't cheap! That taxi ride cost a fortune compared to what you would pay here in Korea but it did have seat belts and the driver was listening to jazz so I suppose you get what you pay for!

A plate of tasty tempura from West.

Rowan's tuna nigiri and some of the sake we managed to drink.

The next day we checked out of the hostel and the manager asked to take our photo for their website. We caught a bus to the ferry port, blew the last of our yen in duty free and bid a fond farewell to Japan. The weather was much better on the way out of Japan so the sea was a lot calmer though once we arrived in Korea the dark clouds pulled back over the sky and the sun had disappeared. The journey back to Gwangju was a lot easier than it had been going out. The traffic was non existent and we got back to Seongnam Bus Terminal in the record breaking time of 4 hours, exactly half the amount of time it had taken going the other way!

Overall, we had a great time in Japan and we both really want to go back and see more of it, though we'll have to save up our won as it's not a cheap place. Having said that, it wasn't as ridiculously expensive as we had feared and we got by quite happily on about 7000 yen a day not including train fares but including everything else even accommodation. It was really interesting experiencing a different Asian culture and noticing the similarities and differences between Japan and Korea. Next time we plan on going to Tokyo to experience the full on Japanese futuristic city madness and Kyoto for all the beautiful temples. Roll on the next holiday break!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Japan! Part 3 - Mount Aso Volcano and Kumamoto

Our second day in Japan was also our first ever trip to an active volcano! Mount Aso is the world's largest active volcanic caldera at some 25 km across, unfortunately it is a pretty long journey from Fukuoka so we had to start early. We got up at 6:15am to catch the 7:07am express to Kumamoto and arrived there with just 13 minutes to connect with one of the four daily fast trains to Aso. The views from the train to Aso were quite literally breathtaking, mountains, rice paddies, bamboo forests, wind turbines all sorts! It was also one of the steepest train rides I've ever taken, the train track went through a series of switchbacks where it reversed direction to climb up the side of the caldera wall.

The drivers cab was open to the rest of the train so we could get right to the front and get pictures out of the front window (the driver was at the other end at this point, he hadn't left us to drive the train!).

End of the line! Luckily the train stopped here and changed direction on one of the many switchbacks we took.

One of the many jaw dropping views from the train window. In the distance you can just make out steam from a hot spring.

Rice paddies and mountains from the train window, again you can see steam from hot springs in the distance.

It is hard to get across just how massive the Aso caldera is, it has train stations, roads, a city and several villages all within it, luckily the eruptions which created the crater ended around 90 000 years ago and the current eruptions are limited to a few smaller cones in the centre including Naka Dake, the one we visited. I was stupidly excited about seeing an active volcano but also a little worried, in 1958 an unexpected eruption killed 12 onlookers and in 1979 a further 3 were killed by an eruption which destroyed a cable car system in an area that was supposed to be safe!

When we finally arrived at Aso train station around 11:30am we still had a 40 minute bus journey to the cable car station which led to the active crater, you see now why we set off so early? The coach delivered us to the bottom of the cable car and as soon as we got off we were hit by the stink of rotten eggs from the hydrogen sulfide coming out of the crater. We took the cable car to the the peak, which cost 1000 yen. It was a short ride up a not very steep few hundred meters and if we'd realised that there was a road which led on right up to the crater we would probably just have walked. By the time we arrived at the peak the stink of sulfur was overpowering and it wasn't exactly reassuring to discover the gas level warning was at the highest level, 5 ppm, which the sign told us were dangerous levels! People with asthma or heart conditions were not allowed up due to the high levels of corrosive gas in the air and there were signs advising people to hold wet cloths or towels over their mouths if they suffered any difficulties breathing while viewing the crater.

The view when we got off the coach, It had really started stinking by this point.

Cable cars taking people up the hill, we felt right at home in ours because it was full of pushy Korean tourists.

View back down the hill from the top cable car station, note the road on the left which also leads to the summit.

The gas level warning sign, you can't see clearly here but you'll have to take my word for it that the red light was flashing.

When we arrived at the summit the two closest observation areas were closed but the third one was open so we took a stroll up towards it while wondering if the massive clouds of gas blowing directly towards us we anything to worry about. We got about halfway up to the observation post when a siren sounded and an announcement ordered everyone to leave the viewing area immediately. Guides holding cloths over their faces came along hurrying everyone back towards the cable car, all very dramatic! We staggered away coughing and choking back to the cable car station and the gas levels were still safe there so we hung around for a while to see if the viewing area would open again. After waiting twenty minutes or so we decided to take a stroll around the still accessible area to the side of the crater.

The view from halfway to the observation post, just before the siren started sounding, note the gas coming straight towards us.

The shelters are provided to keep people safe in the event of an eruption, or at least to get them to gather together and make the body count easier.

Old guy selling sulfur from his van, I'm not really sure what you were supposed to do with it.

Smoke and gas rising from the crater.

Lava cliffs just to the side of the crater, they formed a valley which led down towards the crater, but we weren't allowed to go down there.

The view out over the lava flows to the side that was still open. The landscape was like I imagine the surface of Mars to be.

Sophie posing with the cairn that we made, I wonder how long it will stay there for.

A couple of tourists admire the magnificent views from the summit of Naka Dake.

The road from the summit that we would have walked up if we'd known it was there!

We walked around the side of the volcano for a little while then came back to see if the viewing area had opened again, it hadn't, if anything the eruption and wind had got worse. So we hopped on the cable car and headed back down the hill. As it was a while until the next bus we decided to walk down from the cable car to the volcano museum. That was a mistake as it was further than it seemed and by the time we got there the bus was just about to arrive at the museum. We decided to skip the museum having seen the real thing and hurry back so we would have time to look around Kumamoto on the way back to Fukuoka.

A small but perfectly formed side vent on the edge of Naka Dake.

We passed the old cable car system destroyed in the 1979 eruption on our way back down.

Near the volcano museum there were some beautiful meadows where you could go horse riding and a series of lakes.

We arrived in Kumamoto around 3:30 pm so plenty of time to have a look around, our main interest in Kumamoto was the castle which is supposed to be one of the best in Japan. It was easy to find our way to the castle once we'd caught a bus into the centre, it is huge and dominates much of Kumamoto. Admission to the castle cost 500 yen and included a map which you could stamp at various gates to prove you'd been round. The grounds included some incredible massive camphor trees and beautiful wells and turrets. The centrepiece of the castle itself was the huge central tower which really took it out of us climbing to the top, the combination of a very early start and volcanic fumes hadn't done us any good at all. We eventually reached the top and were rewarded with some beautiful views out across Kumamoto and the surrounding countryside.

The huge central tower of Kumamoto castle dominated much of the city centre and as you can see it looks pretty spectacular.

The walls at the base of the castle looked pretty near impregnable, I certainly wouldn't have wanted to be attacking them.

The view from the top of the central tower to one of the outer turrets.

Kumamoto developed a special style of samurai swimming involving swimming upright in a suit of amour whilst firing arrows. In more recent times it seems similar skills have been applied to the art of riding a bicycle while holding a parasol.

We saw a real live ninja on our way to the castle, he posed for a photo and even took a photo of us. I guess he can't have been a proper ninja though or we would never have seen him.

After the castle we we feeling pretty hungry and alongside the castle Kumamoto is also famous for something else which I'd been advised by a Japanese friend of mine to try and that is raw horse meat! We went to a restaurant near the castle called Izakaya Yokobachi which was recommended by the guide book as a good place to try basashi or raw horse meat in other words. We got a bit of a shock when we saw the menu in the restaurant and realised that is was all in Japanese with no pictures! Fortunately a friendly waiter was able to help us out and we ordered the horse and a bowl of delicious ramen as insurance in case the horse wasn't good. The whole meal was delicious, the horse meat was melt in the mouth tender and delicious and the ramen was spicy and full of sesame flavour.

The restaurant we ate in was really stylish and had a lovely little courtyard where we ate and it was surprisingly cheap too.

Basashi! This was the raw horse meat and it was delicious, I'm never going to look at a horse in a field in quite the same way. It came with minced ginger and garlic to mix with soy sauce and use as a dip.

Delicious spicy, sesame and spring onion ramen.

After the delicious meal we got on the train back to Fukuoka, on the way back Sophie experienced the excitement of a high tech Japanese toilet which played the sound of the sea while you were using it so no one can hear any noise you make then flushed with you having to touch anything, exciting stuff! We took a bit of a walk around Fukuoka when we got back, played some Time Crisis at the Nameco arcade, did some research about Beppu for the next day then collapsed into bed knackered, it had been a long day!