The American Inaka

For those of you who don’t know (I can’t remember if I’ve defined it before), the word inaka means rural.  But more than that, it means kind of empty, as far as I can tell.  So whenever I try to explain what Iowa is like to Japanese people, I call it the American inaka.

After a (too) short time at home, I headed to Iowa to visit a few important people.  I got to have American sushi with Melvin, see a few professors/bosses/friends, and have coffee with Brian.  All of it was awesome and far too short.  I delivered presents everywhere and smiled so much my cheeks almost started to hurt. (It’s a good thing.)

The aforementioned American sushi.

I also got to go to Tae Kwon Do and practice my form for the first time in about a year.

After TKD class there were surprise “shenanigans” (as SabBumNim dubbed them).  After waiting forever for Corey to show up with some (no one would tell me what), in walks Ben with a Whole Foods bag.  He sets them down and says (something similar to), “Because you’re back, we’re having an ice cream party.”  And then he waited exactly long enough for me to get disappointed because I can’t have ice cream (due to be allergic to milk.  No, I’m not lactose intolerant.  Yes, there’s a difference.  Just to get all of that out of the way). Before pulling the ice cream out and adding that it was all non-dairy ice cream.  He had gotten a bunch of coconut milk ice cream.  And in that instance I was reminded that my Iowa friends are kind of awesome.  It was the best ice cream party ever.

We went to Drake Diner after the ice cream to get some real food.  All too soon, I was falling asleep and had to say goodbye to everyone.

The next day I checked out, called a taxi, and headed downtown to visit my old internship.  I had some delicious Fong’s Pizza with Matt and then it was off to the airport (for flights 6 and 7 since leaving my apartment on March 12th).

The American inaka has some cool houses.

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