Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Adventures in Old Japan: The Last Little Bit

Well, I was going to cram everything into the prior post, but I had a little bit of trouble with the formatting. So, here’s the rest of the story. Winking smile

As I was hiking, I came across this lovely vista.


We must be getting closer, right?


2.2 kilometers to go. That’s about 15 miles. Just kidding! It’s only 1.3 miles.


Bamboo up high…


Bamboo down low…and a river.


I loved the way this tree’s shadow fell across the fallen leaves. And I decided my head needed to make a cameo.


Finally, I entered the town at the other end of this section of the trail.IMG_9682

I knew I was back in civilization when I saw campaign advertising.


The amount of people multiplied exponentially.


So quaint and cute!


Love that afternoon light! Where did all these people come from?


Here are some yummy persimmons and peppers drying.



It was a great day, but I sure was tired at the end of it! Here I am, killing time while waiting for the bus. After I got on the bus, I had to wait for about an hour at the train station and then take two trains back to Nagoya.

It sure felt weird to hit the city after a day of nature! But I’m so glad that I took the time to go out there. Hiking out in beautiful forests and hills was refreshing after a long time in the city!

Adventures in Old Japan: The Descent

When we last talked about Adventures in Old Japan, I was somewhere high in a mountain pass and had just enjoyed tea and pickles. Well, what goes up must come down. Here is the story of the descent.

If you want to catch up with what we’ve talked about so far, here are the links!

Part 1: Magome
Part 2: Going Up
Part 3: Mountain Surprise

Eventually, I left the tea and pickles hut behind and headed on my way. The trail began to go down…down…down. I had this mental vision of hitting a patch of slick leaves and making a record breaking descent.

“Maude, did you see that?”
“Sure did. I didn’t know you could ski here in November.”

But all was well.

I began to see some small streams.


The small streams started to join together until they had a nice river going. I was looking forward to seeing the falls. I kept trying to peek through the trees to find them, but they were nowhere to be found.

Suddenly, I saw one far below my trail. How do I get there, I wondered. Eventually, my trail reached ground level and split. Falls one way, the rest of the trail another.

Which way do you think I chose?

I know, I know, silly question!



I was so excited to get to both falls, even though I did have to cross a little bridge to get to them. But I really love waterfalls!

Here’s a small settlement that appeared along the trail. Would you like to live here? I think I wouldn’t mind too much!


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Merry Belated Christmas

A Christmas card from me to you...I just discovered this function in one of my apps. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Hello from Sapporo! Yes, I'm back in Hokkaido. It was pretty late when I arrived, but I did venture out in the sloppy ice mess to eat some soup curry. I'm currently tucked into my hostel that is on top of a karaoke bar. Hmmm. We'll see how sleeping goes. 

This morning, I awoke in my high loft. Tonight, I'm in a floor cubby. It reminded me of the Psalms. 
Looking forward to seeing Hokkaido in the light tomorrow!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A wandering soul

I'll be wandering this afternoon until it's time to fly to Hokkaido. I can't believe I'll be in Hokkaido tonight and Wakkanai tomorrow! 

Missing Stuff

I'm already feeling a little nostalgic for my wild table/shelf bed in the sky. 
By the way, the pile of bedding is clean stuff that I had to shove around so I could clean under it. 

I'm also going to miss the remote-controlled heater!

Probably not going to miss this:

Friday, December 19, 2014

Goodbye, Nagoya!

This clock is a popular meeting place in Nagoya Station. But it's a little too popular. Everyone is there!

Do you notice anything peculiar about this photo?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lost...yet not lost

Am I lost or not? Actually, I don't know. Sounds pretty strange, right? Maybe not, considering that many of my Nagoya weekends have been spent in a state of lostness. 

It all started when I went to Starbucks this morning. The one I really like is about 15 minutes from my house. For the cost of a tiny coffee from a boutique cafe, I can get a big ol' drink at Starbucks. And they have wifi. 

Well, I had a good time drinking coffee and working. But I started to feel like I'd been there too long, so I checked the internet for nearby libraries. There was one about 2K away, so I set off down the street. 
A mountain?? I didn't know there was a mountain there!

I kept going. I found the landmark Cosmo, and then I found another one. Errrrrrr. Which one is my map landmark?

Then, I saw the distant spire of my university. Where was I?

I searched for the library, but I couldn't find it. I did find pretty flowers. 

And I found a police station and a pretty tree. 
But no library. Help. 
I thought I was getting close, but I didn't know whether to turn left or right. Then, I saw an old man with a backpack. Many old people seem to enjoy libraries, so I decided to go his direction. 

After about 5 minutes, I saw a sign for the library. Yay! Well, I saw the sign, but no library. Huh?
As I got closer to the sign, I saw the tiny arrow on top, pointing back the way I came 300 meters. Awww, come on! 

The last time I visited a library in Nagoya, it was a bit of a letdown. This one looked better online, which is why I was searching. 

I turned around and trudged back down the street. Finally! There it was!

I walked in, and it was tiny. There weren't really any places to sit and study. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. 

I decided to give up on my quest and go home. The problem was that I'd come so far that home was now REALLY FAR AWAY! 

Remembering the spire, I decided to see if I could find a station on the university train line. 
Well, it looked close. 

As I was trudging, I saw a small cafe that looked really cute. The problem with trudging is that if you do it for ages, you tend to wear out. So I decided to stop and refresh myself on my journey. 
That's where I am now. Just sitting and relaxing and eating bean toast. 
My journey is feeling pretty metaphorical - I just came to a chasm. 

I have no internet on the road, so if you read this post, you will know that I found my way home. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Last week of classes

It's my last week of classes. 
How is that possible?

I thought I wouldn't feel sad this time, because I knew from the beginning that it would be a short semester. 

But it has been a great semester! I've seen some of these students every day. 

Well, I better get to work! It's going to be a good day, even if I am a little sad!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Adventures in New Japan: Back at Starbucks

Step 1: Decide to get some work done. 
Step 2: Go to Starbucks. 
Step 3: Immediately log on to wifi. Sometimes this begins in line. 
Step 4: Check social media sites. 
Step 5: Force self to do some work. 
Step 6: Repeat step 5 over and over. 
Step 7: Consume too much caffeine and sugar. 
Step 8: Regret overconsumption of caffeine and sugar. 
Step 9: Look forward to the next Starbucks visit. 

The silliest Starbucks moment for me was when I was traveling in October. I saw a Starbucks in the station and thought, "Ooh! I have to go before I head back!"

But then I remembered that I wasn't heading back to distant Wakkanai. I was heading back to Nagoya, where I can walk to Starbucks if I want. I felt a little silly!

Thanks for the wifi, Starbucks! It's been fun!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Adventures in Old Japan: A Surprise

As I was hiking along, a bit over halfway, I came to some buildings. 
A sign on the door said to come in, so I headed in. A few other folks were in there. About half seemed to have come from other countries. 

A lovely elderly gentleman in a traditional costume gave everyone tea, candies, and a delicious pickled local vegetable. It was great!
It was a delightful break somewhere high in the mountain pass. 

Adventures in Old Japan: Magome

There are times when a girl just has to say goodbye to the city and get out to some nature. 
If I look sleepy, it's because I was up early to make my escape. I wound up leaving a little later than I originally planned (but it worked out really well - the cash machine in the subway station wouldn't have been open if I had left earlier). 

Rode the subway for 5 minutes, and then transferred to the train (above ground!). 

The ride was about 1 hour. As cities faded out and in, I started to feel refreshed. 
Hello, mountains!

The train ended at Nakatsugawa in Gifu Prefecture (one over from Aichi, where I live). I thought I had to wait a long time for the next bus, but I got a pleasant surprise. The bus was ready to go. I hopped on, and it headed up, up, up into the mountains. 

I considered leading a bus cheer, but didn't think it would go over too well. 

After about 20 minutes or so, the bus arrived at...let me go look. I forgot. Magome! Of course. Magome was a post town on the old Nakasendo route. It was used from the 8th century on. Take a second and think about how old that is. 

I'll wait. 

Magome was so cute. The old buildings were great, and there were tons of tourists.
Here, you can only see 2, but there were a lot. Really. 
They're somewhere. 
Here they are. I just loved this view and the way the light was shining. 

I strolled up and up through shops until I came to a free wifi hut. It was an odd juxtaposition. Old Japan and a hut with wifi. Inside the hut, I found a hat!
It really is a hat! Not just a large mixing bowl. 

My old smartphone addiction was pretty excited about the wifi hut. I had a hard time leaving. 
From the hut. 

Eventually, I did leave. I kept on going through Magome until I came out the other side. 
Oooooooooooooh! Hello!
And hello to you, too!

I sat on a bench and enjoyed this view for a while. But, I still had over 6K to complete, so I eventually headed down the trail. 

This post was written on my trip home. I'm in Chayagasaka station now!