JICA Tokyo Participants Get Excited with Obama-maccha

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Date & Time: Saturday, December 2, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Spots: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Hasedera Temple, and Kotokuin Temple (Great Buddha)
Visitors: 10 JICA participants from four countries (5 from Vietnam, 2 each from India and Sri Lanka, and 1 from Myanmar)
Attendants: 9 KSGG members
Language: English

We had lunch leisurely because we could go round smoothly as we had planned. Participants ate buckwheat noodles for the first time, and we had a lively conversation. Showing a picture of her small child, she said that she got homesick while studying and training hard. We, attendants, strongly hoped that they would have a great day, and go back to their countries with good memories.
We knew some of the participants were from Buddhist countries. When I saw them praying earnestly facing the Buddhist statues, I felt deeply impressed with their deeper religious faith than ours.
At Kotokuin Temple, when we all enjoyed powdered green tea-flavored soft ice cream, I told them the story of “Obama soft ice cream” (Obama-maccha) as usual. Surprisingly, they said they have a similar story in Vietnam. President Obama ate noodles at a restaurant and they said, “Obama Noodles”. This story has been well-known since then. We all livened up with those stories in both countries.