The big show | SierraSun.com

The big show

Renee Shadforth
Sierra Sun

Photo by Renee ShadforthThe podium at the Rotary District 2630 conference had more than 350 roses laid out before it, and the opening ceremony featured rock-concert-like fog and lighting effects.

Aw, the district conference. The Rotary meeting of all Rotary meetings.

We have visited members of more than 30 clubs while we toured Gifu and Mie prefectures in Japan this month, and thousands of members from those clubs showed up for the district conference, held in Mie.

The district meeting, which spanned one weekend, was a way for all the members in the Gifu and Mie Rotary district to come together and listen to discussions about Rotary and its programs.

For us, as members of the GSE team from Rotary District 5160, it was a chance to catch up with the families we had met over the month. In all, we have had nine host families each, and almost every single one of them was at this meeting.

I saw Aoki san, who I had experienced an awkward moment with when I set off the shower alarm in his house (I am still not sure how it happened).

I saw many of my host family parents (who we jokingly call our “moms and dads”), people who laughed with me as I would do something like take a second look at some seaweed concoction before picking it up with my chopstocks to eat it.

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We also saw people we took us around in their hometowns. Much of the time, we were experiencing culture at the same time as our host Rotary Club members. Because so many of them are incredibly busy businessmen (I say “men” because only 1 percent of Rotary members in Japan are women, but more on that later), even they had not seen many of the places we visited in their own hometowns.