The staff became very excited when they found out it was me. The shop girl Sachiko was nearly in tears of excitement!

 -

And then it was the manager of Marubun came out front for pictures.

 -

Then he took me to the area in front of the book store to show me the statue they have of a "kappa". Masako explained to me that a kappa is an imaginary creature who is believed to live in water, especially rivers. They have webbed feet and hands and a plate on his head. If the plate gets dry, the kappa dies. He is a trickster who is believed to do tricky things to people. For example, when you swim in a river, if the kappa pulls your legs, you may go under and be drowned. There were many floods in Kumamoto and these were blamed on the tricks of the kappa, but ever since they have made this nice statue in tribute to the kappa, no more floods! (You will see Torey Hayden's various posters peeking through on the back left-hand side, no doubt helping the river god with his anti-rain mojo!)

 -


And at last Masako and I manage to get away to have a very wonderful Chinese meal in a little restaurant nearby. (Masako will hate this picture, because she was not expecting it!) But we had such a good time and the food was so delicious that I just had to share it.

 -