Yeehaw! A Yamaguchi Hoedown

I write about my travels a lot… I’ve been to four countries this year, explored Japan more than I could have ever imagined possible, seen things I thought I might only ever dream about (ie – the North Korea border Great Wall). I’ve done a lot of very cool things this year. I don’t take any of them for granted, but in between all those big trips and big sights, I stay grounded by making rural Yamaguchi one of my favorite places to be. I don’t write about those times enough.

It has taken me the better part of this year to associate “grounded” with having every weekend free. I haven’t had my weekends completely free since I was 16 and started serving tables. Sometimes, I feel like I have too much time. And even when I don’t feel guilty for having so much time, I feel guilty for spending so much money. Weekends are for earning money, not spending it! That’s what I always learned. But here in the Guch, I do have free time, and I do have more money and more of a social life than I’ve ever had before. I know it’s going to end abruptly and painfully when I’m back, jobless, in the States in less than two months (!!), so I’m living it up and enjoying every single second.

One of my favorites of these weekends happened less than a month ago at the first ever Yamaguchi AJET Hoedown party. The theme was somewhere between White Trash Bash (yes, yes, I’ve heard all the “racist” and “classist” arguments – but I figure my lack of offense to this? It’s probably an in-group thing…..), country/western and hoedown. It turned into – anything that will fly in America’s Deep South – would fly at this party.

And the Deep South – well, that hits home (har har). In the past couple of months, I’ve been told that I’ve suddenly started sounding more southern than I ever have before. I’ve also started cooking southern food for my friends, and I went on a country music kick and burned myself a cd of all my old favorite country songs that I’ve about worn out. I don’t know what’s happening to me – it’s like a South Will Rise Again party inside me. It has to do with identity and me trying to find mine again after a year so far from my ‘normal’ life that I feel I’ve lost touch somehow. Whatever the psychology – it has been fun to reconnect in some serious and not-so-serious ways.

This party was the ultimate throwback to all the things I love to lovingly mock about the most about the south: classless fun, cheap beer, carefree dancing and, of course, all things red, white and blue.

And as the old saying goes, that my friends here love to tell me (and these pictures prove): you can take the girl out of the south, but you can’t take the south out of the girl!


Before the Hoedown, some of us got together for a dinner of MEAT. Just like a night back in Georgia! From the left going around - Mack, Chris, Callie, Tiff, Hozumi, Ryan, Seb, Brent, Mike, me

In this country world, grillin' is a womansss job! Kiwi Mike to my left and Kentucky Eric to my right. Wait for the costume Eric has in store for the night...

Jamie's and my new house.

Cyndi's top features red, white and blue stars and stripes, representative of the American flag. It's from Zara, a steal at only 3000yen. Callie's shirt comes straight off the arms of a country man himself. Her hat, spelling, "JELLS" can be found in Shimonoseki seamall for a bargain price of under 2000yen. Their bandanas are handmade from cut off jeans by designer Jamie Smith.

In Japan, it's just assumed all Americans carry guns. If you don't have a lighter, just pull out your .9!

Another southerner!! We've taken over the ken this year! Hozumi is from North Carolina.

Charles, in what distinctly reminds me of my 2003 mechanic's jumpsuit, is attacked by dancers.

And then came the dancing. I blame the results on Jack Daniels and Budweiser!

(Seriously, do I have no shame?!)

It’s called the Tush Push, y’all!

I love that the Brit, Jamie, boot scoots us under the table. He was born in the wrong country!

…and then there’s this. The dance-off at the end of the night. It was the last moment of the competition, and I had to put in something extra special to try to win it, so I did the classiest thing I could think of…


After that shining moment, I waited in anticipation for the awards results.

(drum roll please)

I didn’t win best dancer (HOW WITH CHOO CHOO TRAIN ARMS COULD I LOSE?), but I DID win…..

BEST DRESSED GAL! Eric, in his AMAZING Wal-Mart vest, took best dressed guy, and Monica took best dancer.

Best Dressed goes to the Kentuckian and the Georgian. What can I say? We know howta git 'er done!

Fantastic party. Fantastic friends. Fantastic food.

This party was so silly and the pictures are even more so, but they’re the ones I’m going to look back at in six months, a year, five years, and laugh so hard my stomach aches. And then probably cry – because I miss these people and this place so much. Yamaguchi and the Yamaguchians have become my home and my family, respectively. And THAT gets the biggest YEEHAW! 😉


~ by C on June 11, 2010.

3 Responses to “Yeehaw! A Yamaguchi Hoedown”

  1. omgggggg cyndi 😦
    i read this out loud to ryan and i got teary.
    of all the articles you’ve written, you get me at HOEDOWN.
    don’t make me cry! that needs to be saved till leavers.

  2. UGH! FINE HOZUMI IM GOING OUT TOMORROW NIGHT!!!!!!! if this was a ploy to make me say yes, it WORKEDDD! 😉 haha thank youuu! i lovelovelove you too, and tomorrow is going to be AMAZING!!

  3. I wanna line dance AGAIN!! but let’s get it right this time 😉 Awesome blog….what I’m going to do without you, I just don’t know 😦 X

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