WLJT: Day 29 (Omachi)

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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!

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

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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?

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WLJT: Day 28 (Minakami)

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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:

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Lakewalk in the morning for my canoeing experience

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

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The lake was really pretty until the sun went behind the clouds

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

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And delicious food!

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I went down this waterfall.

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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)

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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!

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

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One of the Fuji 5 lakes but I don’t remember which one…

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Drive by Mt. Fuji picture!

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Arriving in Minakami

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One of the onsen Minakami is famous for

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Bath

That’s it! Sorry its boring!

Fujioka Hanami

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The first Sunday of April Kenji and I were invited to a whopping three cherry blossom viewing parties (hanami)! Well, the first wasn’t exactly hanami… it was a festival in Shinmachi, where we used to live. The local jietai (self-defense force) base has a cherry blossom festival every year, and also gives demonstration of their equipment, including helicopters and trucks you can actually go sit in. Kenji and I went but since we also had the other parties, only stayed to enjoy the blossoms for a short time.

Then the father of a student invited us, along with a few other friends, to a small party near where he works. I’d never been to the area, and was surprised how many cherry trees there were! Unforutnately, the weather started to turn cloudy, so the pictures aren’t very nice, but I bet on a sunny day it would be beautiful!

And finally, we met Scott and Brandt and their families at our favorite cherry blossom spot in Fujioka, Nanakoshiyama, an old kofun (key-hole shaped burial mound from the Jomon Period of Japanese history) covered in cherry blossoms. It’s a magical time to visit!

Here are the pictures from the day:

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Nanohana around where we parked by the river. It pays to know the back areas!

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Walking along the road to the base

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Lots of people there today

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Helicopters and cherry trees

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Close up!

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Same road from the front and back, I couldn’t decide which view I liked better

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The Inari shrine around where we used to live in Shinmachi

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Fallen flowers… these are due to birds, the little jerks

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Hanami spot 2 as the weather got cloudy

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I’m not sure what flowers these bushes are

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But these daffodils are fun!

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And spot 3 at Nanakoshiyama

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aka “Fairy Tale Land”

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Sunset!

Various Summer Stuff, 2015

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First, we participated in some rice planting in late June with our friend Akira, who, with her husband, grow organic rice here in Fujioka:

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Rice fields near Midori Elementary School

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Rice and duckweed in the prepped field

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Learning how to do it

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Off on our own, we follow the automatic planting machine making sure it didn’t miss any spots

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Kenji starting his rows

Next, in July, we went to an art exhibit in Tokyo which features live goldfish in interesting tanks and lights. It’s called the Edo Art Aquarium in Nihonbashi. The artist has several events in many different cities every year:

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Our usual first stop: Devil Craft pizza!

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Flier for the event

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WANT!

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The pictures don’t really do it any justice… it is really cool!

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Lotus and goldfish

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This represented the world

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Peering in

We saw two summer festivals this year, in July and August. The first was the Fujioka Matsuri, where we saw both mikoshi and dashi over two days:

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This pretty accurately sums the festival up

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Fujioka BOE and City mikoshi group. Spot the ALTs! It’s the first year I’m not in this picture ;_;

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Resting

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It didn’t rain this year!

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A precarious perch

And the second was the Shinmachi Fireworks and Festival. We took Fujioka’s 2 new ALTs with us and introduced them to Kyoko-sensei and the family, and had a lot of fun at the festival:

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I dressed them all, but I’m used to doing on myself, so it took a few tries to get it right!

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Letting the lanterns go in the river

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Dancing!

Finally, we went to the Tambara Lavender Park in early August to see some beautiful flowers:

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Beautiful timing!

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Among the fields

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Mmmm lavender ice cream, one of my favorites!

It’s been a fun summer, but now the temperatures have finally started to cool off a little. Fall is coming soon!