Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
It’s always sad when friends leave, but it’s good to know they will be going on to bigger and better things. Hardly anyone is permanent in this kind of job. It’s probably a good thing, though.
In any case, I’m not leaving yet, but it’s nice to have a good send-off for everyone :)
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Once upon a time, I found myself wandering around Tokyo and I found this cool fountain! I thought it so cool, in fact, that I thought it would be rad if I brought a friend there. Which is what I did yesterday with Lindsey!
Yay! We love the cool fountain! Especially when it’s 93 degrees outside!
We also made the keen observation that the particular part of Tokyo that the cool fountain is in had basically no people in it. For me at least, the best parts of Tokyo always seem to be the ones with no people in them.
Nevertheless! We made our way to Harajuku (easily one of the most crowded parts of Tokyo yesterday) for the LaForet grand bazaar! Woo! Since you can’t go in the front door of LaForet when they have sales, you have to go in the back door. Which we did. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as the winter sale – which I can only liken to shopping in a mosh pit.
There was a super pimped-out limo that seemed to be riding around the block aimlessly.
A trip to Harajuku is never complete without a ridiculously decadent crepe.
Awesome day, all thanks to the cool fountain.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tokyo tower is really freaking cool. It’s like the Eifel tower, but bigger, and redder, and in Tokyo!
I went there last weekend with Hiro and Mari :)
I think that seeing Tokyo from above really gives you a good grasp on just how BIG it actually is. Every time I see a view of Tokyo like this, I feel like it just goes on forever…Which It kind of does, until you get to Saitama.
Later on, we went to Shinjuku and checked out the massive bookstore… I kind of felt like I was back home at Border’s or something, there were so many books printed in English!
I guess I like the sense of anonymity that Tokyo gives me. Out here, everyone sees me. In Tokyo, I’m just another white girl who’s probably a tourist. Nobody really cares, except those scammers in Harajuku that hit me up for money for their fictional earthquake victims… I’m not sure if I’d ever want to live in the city though, I just don’t think I’m tough enough for the city, more or less able to deal with the constant barrage of people.
Gosh, I can hardly stand the students on the Ryomo line, I can’t even imagine having to deal with the salarymen on the Yamanote line every day. I suppose after a while you’d get used to it, just like anything, right? Right!
The longer I stay here, the more I get used to it, and the harder it is for me to go home. I know that when I visit home this summer, I’m going to go through some kind of crazy reverse culture shock. I usually do. I still have the odd bout of culture shock here in Japan every now and again, where little things annoy me and stress me out, but I still like it here. I have a job, nice friends, a safe place to live, and plenty of cool stuff to do and see, it doesn’t hurt that I like Japanese food, either. Yep.. things are great :) I guess all I need now is a boyfriend, right? Riiiight…..
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I didn’t think I was going to like this song, mostly because I looked at the title before listening to it. “How typical,” I thought, “of me to like a song with ‘Japan’ in the title.” Nevertheless, surprise, surprise, I actually do. I think my favorite time to listen to it is on the train in the morning going to work. Somehow the rhythm just fits with that of the train. Augh, now I guess I’m just being sentimental. I’ll shut up now.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I went to the Tanabata festival at Orihime shrine this evening. I almost didn’t think it was going to happen because of all the rain we had today. I was going to wear my yukata, but after about 40 mintues of futile obi tying, I eventually gave up and wore a one-piece and leggings. I got there late, so I didn’t get to write my wish and hang it on the bamboo, but I still made a wish anyway!
I went to Tanabata last year, too. I guess I just like this festival because it’s cute. I also made the realization during the past year or so that Orihime is a weaving goddess and because this was at one time the textile center of Japan (see Sunday's post), naturally there would be a shrine to a weaving goddess here! I wonder if there are any shrines to Hikoboshi…
I know for a fact that a map of his constellation is on a bridge in 枚方市 (Hirakata City) in Osaka. Orihime’s is on the other side (which I unfortunately cannot locate the photo of). Also, from Keihan Hirakata-shi station, you can take the Orhime and Hikoboshi lines to… ooh… who knows where!? I never had any good reason to ride them, but I did sincerely like the names. The trains are even pink and blue! Cute!
But, I digress. Back to Ashikaga.They shut off all the lights at about 8:00. Unfortunately, once again, it was too cloudy to see the stars. Oh well. Probably wouldn’t be able to see them anyway, with all the lights from town on, too. The luminaries on the steps were really pretty. Glad my cell phone has a night camera setting!
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Yesterday I went to a flea market in Kiryu at the Tenmangu with some friends. We meandered around for a while, and it was really cool just looking at all the old stuff that people accumulate. I didn’t really buy anything, though. I saw a used yukata that I liked, but it had a stain on the sleeve that probably wasn’t going to come out anytime soon, and besides, when do I ever get a chance to wear yukata?! Well, I did yesterday! I FINALLY had a chance to wear my yukata. Yay!
I’m the blonde one to the right, with the purple obi. I think my hands look huge in this picture, probably because my sleeves are a little short. I don’t have geta because they’re too short for my feet, so I wore a pair of flats instead. I think that was the big thing most people remarked on.
Old-fashioned kaki-gori machine. Looks like it was going for about $250.
This part of Japan was historically the textile center of the country. The textile factories are still in Kiryu, but they don’t really use them anymore. Now they have them around for their cool, old architecture. Also, there are all kinds of references (names of festivals, shrines, etc.) to Orihime, the weaving goddess, as well as the JR Ryomo (両毛) line, with the character 毛, which means hair or fur, but in this case specifically they used it to refer to the thread produced here.
We also went to a cool old-style restaurant called “Basho” (芭蕉) for lunch. The building itself was easily over a hundred years old, complete with thatched roof, clay walls. and uneven stone floor. There are all kinds of horse-motif decorations in the place. It’s a little dark but it’s cool even on a hot day. The tables each have their own unique noisemakers to call for the wait staff. We had a little brass gong. The booth next to ours had a mini brass temple bell, and another had a wooden windchime. Had the house curry and a salad, which were fantastic.
Its funny how you can go to a place every day and know so little about it. Kiryu has plenty of information and things to promote tourism, as well as tons of stuff to do and see. I’m glad I have nice friends to show me around!