The Majestic Zao Dam

Piece for the Just Japan Stuff website!

Just Japan Stuff

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zao1It’s September, a week after silver week and everyone in the countryside is speaking in hushed tones about their weekend plans: the best places to see the changing leaves, the fall festivals in this or that small town, the beginning of the new year for matcha. You exit your zen meditation at the local temple and your friend, the bespectacled and clean shaven Mr. Minagawa, invites you and your co-worker into the back seat of his Toyota sedan. You say goodbye to the temple parking lot and hello to the interior of the Toyota. You buckle up and try to ready yourself for, well, really you try to ready yourself for anything. There’s no telling where you are headed today.


You drive across town, Mr. Minigawa quizzes you on your origin, age, and hobbies. You respond in as little Japanese as you know and everyone…

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