WLJT: Day 31 (Itoigawa)

 photo DSC_9015.png

My last WLJT blog post! I woke up early in order to be in Itoigawa by 9AM. I didn’t need to actually be there until late afternoon, but the day sounded so interesting and I was so close (only an hour or so away) that I asked if I could join in with Emma’s last day on the job. I got the OK… as long as I didn’t show up in any of her pictures! It was nice to wander around without the pressure of getting good pictures for a post, and had a fun full day to spend instead of bumming around waiting for the final event. So it worked out well.

This time, you can read Emma’s blog post on the day here, since yesterday’s post was my last. I was with them throughout the day, even if it seems like I showed up at the end!

 photo DSC_9000.jpg
Leaving Omachi in the still morning

 photo DSC_9003.jpg
And on the road to Niigata!

 photo DSC_9004.jpg
Arriving in Niigata and meeting up with Emma and the team, we headed first for a hike to a beautiful lake in the mountains

 photo DSC_9065.jpg
Perfect timing for the autumn colors!

 photo DSC_9028.jpg
Like a Monet painting!

 photo DSC_9046.jpg
It was chilly and rainy, but worth it, despite my feet getting soaked

 photo DSC_9076.jpg
These maples are turning

 photo DSC_9095.jpg
Salt Walk Museum in an old-style building

 photo DSC_9093.jpg
Vines on wood

 photo DSC_9183.jpg
Banzai! I mean, Bonsai!

 photo DSC_9191.jpg
Very expensive little trees…

 photo DSC_9192.jpg
Mostly because it takes just a little bit of time to make these shapes

 photo DSC_9213.jpg
Arrival at Itoigawa Station

 photo DSC_9220.jpg
And a walk to the coast to complete the day, and the tour

 photo IMG_3897.jpg
I sampled some local sake at dinner that evening

 photo DSC_9228.jpg
Like these!

 photo DSC_9224.jpg
The next day was the final event with food, then home.

Thanks for reading along with me! I enjoyed this tour so much, and was glad to be able to write about and “relive” it a bit again on the one-year anniversary of it. I wish I could take a trip like this again, but it was truly once-in-a-lifetime. That’s ok, I’ll have other adventures from now on. Looking forward to them!

WLJT: Day 30 (Lake Kizaki)

 photo DSC_0354.png

To make up for yesterday’s post, todays is full of pictures that I wish I had been able to include in my official blog post and just had way too many pictures to be able to add all of them. So take a look at the explanation of the art around Lake Kizaki and my day there, and then here are a bunch more pictures from the day!

 photo DSC_8769.jpg
Lake Kizaki, the unassuming center of a huge primitive art movement

 photo DSC_0376.jpg
A quick look through the forest shows natural growth, and natural art scattered around

 photo DSC_8775.jpg
Baskets maybe?

 photo DSC_8776.jpg

 photo DSC_0366.jpg
I’m reminded a bit of the Blair Witch Project though…

 photo DSC_0372.jpg
A different kind of canopy

 photo DSC_8787.jpg
This bit was really cool

 photo DSC_8788.jpg
Moss and wood

 photo DSC_8791.jpg
Is it growing? I can’t tell!

 photo DSC_8817.jpg
Some beautiful fall colors around

 photo DSC_8820.jpg
And fall flowers on the other side of the lake

 photo DSC_8824.jpg
Small station

 photo DSC_8844.jpg
Today’s question: is it art or not?

 photo DSC_0384.jpg
Rice field planted in interesting ways

 photo DSC_8855.jpg
Inside some random dude’s storage barn… these are amazing!

 photo DSC_8858.jpg
Each piece centers around a basic item found in the storage barn, like an old umbrella or a wrench, then embellished

 photo DSC_8875.jpg
At a museum near the station

 photo DSC_8878.jpg
This is dirt. No, I mean, it’s MADE with dirt! Different colors of dirt turned to paint! I was speechless!

 photo DSC_8880.jpg
Look at this!

 photo DSC_8881.jpg
Who comes up with this? But the result is amazing!

 photo DSC_8886.jpg

 photo DSC_8889.jpg
I didn’t expect the restaurant to be as nice as it was

 photo DSC_8890.jpg
But I probably should have considering where I was!

 photo DSC_8901.jpg
Another old storage place

 photo DSC_8900.jpg
Delicate porcelain leaves

 photo DSC_8950.jpg
Up to the mountains at the base of the Alps (which you can’t see due to the clouds, I literally jumped when I saw them looming later on)

 photo DSC_0390.jpg
Tree houses, a forest of them! I could have stayed in one, but it would have been cold…

 photo DSC_8963.jpg
One last tree house on the edge of a cliff

 photo DSC_0394.jpg
But the view!

 photo DSC_8984.jpg
I lied, this was the last tree house… maybe my favorite!

 photo DSC_0400.jpg
Looking up

I would love to visit Kizaki again and see what new art I can find!

WLJT: Day 29 (Omachi)

 photo DSC_8761.png

Sooo… the thing is, I live in Gunma. I passed right by my house (on the highway anyway) when I drove to Minakami, and would pass it again on my way to my next destination. And Since my next stop in Nagano was only about 2 hours away and I’ve been sorta everywhere around the area already, instead of sightseeing somewhere, I stopped by my house to drop stuff off and ended up napping with my cat for a good chunk of the afternoon.

Hey, this WLJT stuff is tiring!

Anyway, so I have almost zero pictures from the day. I could post pictures of my cat, but instead I’ll just apologize for another short and boring post. Sorry! It was a good nap, though!

 photo DSC_8743.jpg
Arriving into Nagano to my little pension in Omachi, I learned everyone pitches in with dinner and chores here.

 photo DSC_8754.jpg
A little apprehensive about that, but the food was good despite my “help”!

By the way, the top image is of the cutest set of chopstick rests I’ve ever seen, and oddly appropriate for the day, don’t you think?

WLJT: Day 28 (Minakami)

 photo DSC_8694_152.png

My time in Minakami was spent exploring just a small sample of the outdoor activities of the area, Canoeing and Canyoning. I borrowed a waterproof camera for most of the wet stuff (so most of the day), therefore the pictures are adequate but not great. Anyway, you can see the best ones on my official blog post here on the WLJT page. Here are a few extra pictures I took with my main camera:

 photo DSC_8690.jpg
Lakewalk in the morning for my canoeing experience

 photo DSC_0318.jpg
Boats on the lake… we were actually technically kayaking I think! (Canoes kayaks potato potahto…)

 photo DSC_8697.jpg
The lake was really pretty until the sun went behind the clouds

 photo DSC_8705.jpg
Lunchtime at a restaurant built entirely of wood with the owner’s two hands.

 photo DSC_8706.jpg
And delicious food!

 photo DSC_8718.jpg
I went down this waterfall.

 photo DSC_8732.jpg
And pizza and beer for dinner

That’s it! The rest of the photos are all in the official post, so be sure to take a peak there!

WLJT: Day 27 (Gunma)

 photo DSC_8677_136.png

Another long day of driving, from Izu back north to Gunma Prefecture’s Minakami Town. I made a stop in Yamanashi Prefecture as well just for a few views of Mt. Fuji on the way to Gunma, then just had an early night in Minakami after checking into the Canyons Lodge. Not so many interesting pictures from this day!

 photo DSC_8667.jpg
But I grabbed one last wasabi snack before leaving Izu! (These things were addicting… I want one now!)

 photo DSC_8670.jpg
One of the Fuji 5 lakes but I don’t remember which one…

 photo DSC_8672.jpg
Drive by Mt. Fuji picture!

 photo DSC_8675.jpg
Arriving in Minakami

 photo DSC_8678.jpg
One of the onsen Minakami is famous for

 photo DSC_8681.jpg

That’s it! Sorry its boring!