The last two weeks of planning this event today was a lot of work, but the results was worth it!! I was asked on FB if I could host a group of Deaf Japanese on an American base. It was an advocacy group. The event was in 3 parts: 1. Presentation about military lifestyle, personal stories and deaf-related stories were also included. They had so many questions that my one hour presentation lasted over 1.5 hours! Wow! 2. We took a bus tour around base and visited 7 historical landmarks. I had to bone up on a little bit of World War II history. During the driving part, I also pointed out base buildings such as the American school students attend, etc. 3. For a cultural experience, we went to an American restaurant. There were no Japanese translated menus. Many customs were foreign. Just paying the bill (since we do ours at the table and we have tipping) was a bit interesting. That's a taste of what it is like when we live overseas and visit local places. The best question I got at the restaurant was "why do you have 2 forks?" I got all kinds of interesting questions from dating to history. It was definitely a blast! Then during dinner we gave the "interpreter" a break. I know very little JSL. They know very little ASL. Between code-switching, gesturing, etc. we managed to talk about sports and hobbies. Hahaha! That was fun! I hate sports but trying to keep up with this conversation really took lots of brain work. Some sports I had never even heard of! I paid for transportation, room rentals, etc. Instead of charging a workshop fee, I decided to ask for Kit Kats instead. Japan has over 100 flavors and I was really curious! So they brought me about 15 flavors. I can't wait! They have some interesting flavors!! Some I can't quite figure out what they are, but most I can. Plus I got a t-shirt they designed to raise money for the recent earthquake back in March. I really enjoyed those gifts so much more than any workshop fee. The group leader plans to ask them their impressions and what they learned and follow up and let me know. I can't wait! After 8 hours together, I was reluctant to say good-bye. I'm still floating on cloud 9. P.S. One interesting cultural tidbit was when one man told me he was shocked a bit when I offered candy during the workshop. For them that is impolite. For us, we love it. Doesn't always happen but when it does--admit it--you are a much happier camper! That was the point of today though--to offer a little bit of cultural exchange.