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.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


I've lived in Nagoya a while now. But today was the first day that I realized I could take my all day subway and bus pass and just tour the city by bus!

Unfortunately, I chose a slightly boring direction. But I did finally find a branch of my favorite sushi shop along the way! I'm totally going the next time I have an all day pass!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Back to School

Because of privacy, I couldn't take pictures. I will do my best to describe our first day of school for you, though.

September 1 was the first day of school, and it was also our first day with a regular morning schedule. I first noticed a difference when I got on my train along with tons of small people in our school's uniform! It was adorable and scary at the same time. For summer, the girls wear cute straw hats with their uniform.

We arrived at the station, and rather than swishing off to work as I normally do, I found myself stuck in a slow moving crush of students. I stopped at the combini for some coffee. By the time I got back on the road, the crowd had thinned out. I headed to school along with the few lingering students. The principal and vice-principal were out greeting students as they returned.

I headed in, changed my shoes, and went to my desk. Somehow, I keep coming in first.

At 8:15, the teachers' meeting started. It has been a while since I've been in a teachers' meeting in a Japanese elementary school.

A little before 9, Gabby and I put on our jackets and we all headed off to the opening ceremony. The students were going to the gym at the same time, but there was no talking. Just a school full of students moving through the school. It was a little scary. Once in the gym, they all lined up by class and by height order. They listened to the school song played on handbells, all sang the school song together in harmony, and quietly changed positions from standing at attention to standing in a "relaxed" manner. Two new students stood in front of the whole school and introduced themselves. Finally, Gabby and I introduced ourselves.

The assembly finished with a speech from the principal and some rewards the students had received over the summer. Finally, the classes filed out quietly. Gabby and I were both just in shock. I've never seen elementary school students do that before.

Of course, every day isn't like that! That would be weird! But it was cool to see kids be able to control their actions for a specific purpose like an opening ceremony.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

In my neighborhood

There is a lovely river. I actually visited it during cherry blossom season before. Cycling along the river is fantastic. Also, I am typing with one hand, so I'm done now!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Today's Lunch

Well, school is off to a good start. Here's a snapshot of today's lunch. In the bowl is rice scrambled egg, and a veggie sauce on top!

More to come later!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Food, glorious food

I've been waiting for about 100 hours for breakfast! Jet lag hit hard with a 2AM wake up call. Ack! I don't mind waking up early with jet lag, but 2:00 is a bit much.

I read the whole internet, sketched, did my makeup, and stared at the empty tarmac. But 6:30 finally came, and I immediately stormed the breakfast buffet.

I'm not that good at assembling a breakfast from a Japanese/Western buffet.

In attendance on the plate:
Miso soup
Fried potatoes
Vienna sausages

I thoroughly enjoyed everything and am now drinking as much coffee as I can hold. With an early wake up comes an early crash, and I need to get on track for LIFE.

In other news, I love the feeling of right now. The goodbyes are over and so are the flights. Everything ahead is fresh and new and terrifying and exhilarating. Looking forward to what lies ahead for us all!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lovely Land

It's so good to be on solid ground again!

We got into Narita a little before 3:00 this afternoon. I was so glad to get off the plane!

My hotel is right on the tarmac, so I can see planes from my window. I'm also enjoying some fine dining this evening from a vending machine.

Hey, it was a good vending machine! I had some ham and cheese rolls!

Off to Nagoya tomorrow!