Sunday, May 27, 2012

Want Some Tea?

Less of a daddy post and more of a "God I love Japan" post. I'm a volunteer firefighter. In fact, I think I'm either the only, or one of very, very few, foreign volunteer firefighters in Japan.

Today was a drill day, which means I got to get dressed in my uniform and meet up with my company for a few hours. Today's agenda was pretty simple, hose and pump drill for the first hour, namely making sure that everyone is familiar with how to use the portable pumps should there ever be a fire. The second was a hydrant check. When I originally joined the shouboudan (The volunteer firefighters), the town I lived in had 8 different companies. A few years later my town merged in with the city next to it and the 8 companies were reorganized into 3 and slotted into the city's volunteer brigade. However, that meant that our territory expanded quite a bit and a lot of us don't know where the hydrants are in the expanded areas.

Today we rectified that a bit by sending everyone out on patrol to go to every hydrant and check to make sure the water was good and not too stagnant as well as check the hoses. My section is one of the older parts of the area, right up against the river, close by the local hot springs. On a hot summer day, the 8 of us walked down a tiny road to check the very last fire hydrant on our system, just to startle the heck out of an old lady who (Seeing the firetruck and the volunteers in uniform playing with the hydrant) leaped to the logical conclution that there MUST be a fire somewhere near by.

Informed by the crew chief that, no, we're just checking the hydrants, this elderly woman pauses for a second, looks at all 8, including one American, of us and says, "Oh, would you all like some tea then?"

Sadly, we had to pass, but it is just another day in Japan.

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