April 23, 1997
Location: Fremont, Nebraska - Location: 41:26:00N 96:29:52W
Elevation: 1195 feet
Summary: Wednesday, April 23, 1997 (Sunny Day) [Frozen tent, fog, good rice, and interviews.]
Journal entry: [Translated by Hajime Nakagawa]
We got up at 4:30. Then we tried to take our tent down, but the tent was frozen stiff. We felt like waiting until the tent thawed, but we made up our mind to strike the tent somehow so as to start by 7 A.M. A frozen tent, as well as rain, was hard.
When we were at breakfast at 5, our surroundings were not visible due to fog and a dim gloomy sky. However, the fog lifted little by little, and the rain had quit completely by the time we started to walk. The horses sometimes slipped on muddy roads which seemed to be hard for them as well as for us. A man fell off his horse and broke his clavicle, ribs, and pelvis. We should travel paying close attention to the horses.
We were very surprised when we reached Fremont. American flags were displayed every five meters along our route, and the route was thickly lined with a few thousand people who came to meet the pioneer train.
Lots of news reporters had came too. My family was interviewed about five times today; by BBC, an Austrian newspaper reporter, a local TV station, and so on. Maybe they were interested in us because we are the only Japanese family in the pioneer train. After a long time we were able to take a shower as we were camped at a baseball park in town, so we were allowed to use the showers in the park.
The first Japanese person I met since we came to the States was in Fremont. She told us that she worked for a local newspaper office and came from Ehime, Japan originally. I was glad that she made some rice balls and brought them for us when the train was about to leave. Cathy, who was walking with us, asked, "What is this?" about the dried layer covering the rice balls. "It's a kind of dried seaweed," I told her.
"Seaweed?" Her expression turned unpleasant. We didn't care about such an expression and kept eating the rice balls, which were made using "American rice" not "oriental or sticky" rice, savoring the taste.