Saturday, November 5, 2016

To the sea

November 3rd is a national holiday in Japan - Culture Day. We had the day off from school. I wanted to go somewhere, so I searched the internet and found Gamagori. I'd never been there before, so I decided to try it out!

Sometimes you just feel right about a place when you first arrive, and that was Gamagori for me! As soon as the train pulled into the station, I felt relaxed and excited about the day.

After a 10 minute walk, I was greeted by this sight. Yes, I nearly dropped my teeth.

 I walked down to the water's edge and got this view. There wasn't really a beach, but there were some steps down to the water.
After enjoying this view for a while, I crossed the bridge to the island. It's a pedestrian only bridge. It was also incredibly windy out there that day!

The island was quite small, so I enjoyed exploring it. There's a great little path that circles the island.

It's REALLY hard to take selfies in strong wind!!

The back of the island was gorgeously rocky! I didn't stray too far from the path, though!

Here's a little hidden beach!

Coming back around to the front of the island. Having such beautiful weather was just an extra-special treat. It was cool enough for a jacket, but not too cold. Ahhhhhhhhhh, my favorite weather!!!

 I like to live dangerously!

Looking back at the mainland. Hello!
It was an amazing day, and I want to keep writing. But I'm suddenly very sleepy. Life has been so jam-packed lately!

Good night, all!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tokugawa Garden

 Autumn is sloooooooowly coming to Nagoya. I was hoping for rain yesterday because I desperately needed to clean. Desperately. I don't know why, but things seem to rot in record time in this fridge. I think it has something to do with the kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage from Korea) I had in there. My milk smelled like kimchi. My yogurt tasted like kimchi. Opening the door sent out a shockwave of pungency.

Now the kimchi is gone and order has been restored.

But I was also behind on laundry. And putting away laundry. And everything.

Of course, I woke up to the most glorious day I've experienced in MONTHS! I DO NOT EXAGGERATE!!!! The sun shone brightly and the air was brisk and life-giving.

Yes, I know air gives life everyday, but you know what I mean.

I rode my bike to the store and got a little frustrated with all the impediments. The main rule of biking in Nagoya is to not run down the elderly (people over 100). But the elderly don't make this easy. They like to weave at the last minute. I've had to jump off my bike several times to avoid collisions. I'm starting to think this may be a game for them.
"Hey, Mildred! How many bikers did you unseat today?"
"Twelve! A new personal record!"

I swished past several of them standing around on a narrow bridge and I must confess that I had a few uncharitable thoughts. On the way back, there were even more. So, I got off my bike to push it across the bridge.

Turns out everyone was looking at a lovely autumn scene and some tiny white birds.
Sorry about the uncharitable thoughts, folks!

It was a pretty ride home from the store. I saw a heavily laden persimmon tree (yuuuuuum).

 And I also passed a very confusing sight!

After I got home and got through some of the cleaning, I couldn't take it anymore. I messaged my coworker Gabby to see if she wanted to go to Tokugawa Garden, and set off across the city. 

The garden was glorious!
 There were a lot of people there, but it wasn't overly crowded. Lots of people were taking pictures or having their picture taken.

Well, when in Rome!

Hello fish and baby fish!

So picturesque. 

There was even a wedding! Or at least wedding pictures.

And a side of ham

The leaves are just barely starting to turn.

The view from the apartments in the distance must be lovely.

Hello, gorgeous tree!

Hello, strangers!

Hello, green trees!

I don't always pose well.

I love the way the sun shines through Japanese maples. It is a great frustration of my life that I can't capture it just right!

Look! I found a waterfall and lost my marbles!

 I love waterfalls - even ones made by people.

There's Gabby taking a waterfall pic!

One more time!
Strangers and sunlight on a mossy rock.

This isn't even all the pictures I took.

This picture is here because I loved the leaf shadows on the tree trunk.

Hi Nagoya!

Hello feet and water! Also, some insider information for you...I used another skirt and a pair of shorts to try to give my dress a little poof.

Even the long walk back to Kurumamich station was lovely. I really like places that look like old Japan.

All in all, I'm really excited that the long summer seems to be over and we seem to be heading into autumn! I'm ready for a break from the heat and humidity!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Wanderings in Gifu

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I woke up a little early and knew I wanted to get outside. I didn't really know where I wanted to go, so I packed a little bag and headed off.

Of course I HAD to stop for breakfast at Komeda! It's popular with bikers. :)

After breakfast, I pedaled to Gokiso Station. I was not ready to leave the beautiful day and disappear underground. But I finally did. Took a short ride underground with a break for a phone call in the middle. Eventually, I made it to the JR station.

There were 2 trains - one going to Nagoya Station and one going off into Gifu, a neighboring prefecture. Of course I got on the train heading out of town. I didn't really know where I was going, so I just settled in for a ride.

After a while, I hopped off the train. I didn't really pay attention to where I was, but I saw a bus waiting outside the station. I got on and rode the bus for a while and then hopped off. Still didn't really know where I was, so I bought a snack and started walking.
At the first major intersection, there was a big display of vases and funny little pots. I later discovered that the area is famous for ceramics.

I didn't really know which direction to walk, so I wandered aimlessly for a few minutes. Then I saw some red gates off in the distance, so I decided to head towards them.

They looked intriguing, so I headed up the stairs.

And was surprised by a lovely view!

I kept walking and ended up on a playground, so I took some silly selfies.
 Selfies are fun! But sometimes your camera sinks into your bag.
Hey, where'd everybody go?

I headed back down and walked around the old-fashioned neighborhood. It was really cool and there were lots of pottery and ceramic things going on. Very few people, but lots of huge trays of unpainted cups and bowls. I was a little nervous that I was going to stumble off the road and take out 500 cups. I didn't!
Bamboo along the road.

There were funny green pots all around, and I enjoyed looking for them.

 This one is making a pot!

Not entirely sure what is going on here.

This is also how I feel when reading the news.

Hmm, I need to practice my ukulele more often.

A good approach to life - relaxing by a creek.

This one just called out for a selfie!

Along the way, I saw some cosmos growing. I love cosmos! But when I took the picture, I accidentally bumped into some plant that left sticky pods all over my sweater.

It was worth it!

I love buildings like this!
 And this!
 I made my way to a cool building where loads of ceramics and pottery were for sale. I bought a pretty sakura mug that says spring. Yes, I know it is autumn!

Hmmm, how do I get back to the station?

It's 4km away? Maybe I should take up hitchhiking.

Oh, goldenrod!
 I really don't know why I took this picture. I think I liked the open feeling with hills in the background.

Thankfully, I didn't have to wait long for a bus. Countryside buses don't run very frequently, so I was worried! But I made it back to the station and back on the train to Nagoya.

All in all, it was quite an enjoyable mini-adventure! Sometimes it's good to wander with no destination or plan.