Monday, January 25, 2010

Winter is a little fun, too

Winter in Central Japan! Who's excited! In Nishio, it's not very exciting. It's not very cold, it's not very warm. There's no snow.

But if you travel just a couple of hours north of us... there are mountains suitable for skiing ^_^. Some of us went last weekend! It was fun overall... but I have found that I am not my father's daughter. Not on snowy mountains. He loves skiing. I can't quite get the hang of it >_< (here meaning takes out tiny children with pink skis during stopping attempts >_<). But yeah, it was still a fun day (and the pink skis girl was ok..). It was fun watching my friends have fun ^_^ And the view from the top was beautiful. BTW.. we were at Mt. Gozaisho in Mie prefecture. Which has the longest gondola in Asia. If you're into gondola length measurements. And, shall I name everyone? Well, from left to right we have Minority, Shipshewana, that girl, Stitch, and Dr. Hammatori. ^_^ yes those are all pseudonyms.

Oh and we saw monkeys. Can you see the pink face just right of center?? Every fall was totally worth it. (!)

After, we left there, we went over to Nabana no Sato (also in Mie prefecture), which is usually a flower park. Ok actually, it's simply an all-the-time, sure-bet icha icha couples spot. Definitely made for dates. The first time I went, it was by myself.. not the best idea.. but the flowers were still beautiful.

Anyway, in the winter, they do illumination! It's incredible! This picture is me and Stitch in a huge tunnel of lights. Dazzling. Stitch is a teacher here in Nishio, too. ^_^

This is a pond! With the wedding chapel on the far side.

But I don't guess the pictures do it justice.

That's winter for now!


Monday, January 4, 2010

America the Beautiful

Well I've been home in Indiana the past 2 and a half weeks, and I have only about half a week more here. It's been an emotional roller coaster. It's so good to see everyone. I can't hardly wait to get back to Japan. Just saying hello after a year, a few hours of conversation, then saying a goodbye for the next year.. over and over is a bit wearying. And adjusting to America, etc. is uncomfortable.

I can't bring myself to wear shoes in the house, and even some places out--like at my parents' church--I feel very instinctively like we should take off our shoes.

Driving with people is uncomfortable... everyone just drives faster in Japan and on the wrong side and all that too... I'm afraid I've become a bit of a paranoid backseat driver... my poor sister >_<

Well, Christmas was wonderful ^_^ I don't want to miss Christmas ever again. ^_^ My uncle drove my grandparents up here for Christmas. They were able to visit with my aunt and her family (along with a new little great-grandchild up there ^_^) up near Chicago, and then come down here for Christmas Day. It was wonderful. We've never ever been around them at Christmas, so it was a sort of once-in-a-life time, golden Christmas. ^_^ Beautiful.

My grandfather fought in the Korean War, and while he was over there, he had a short one-week shore leave in Japan. He actually stayed for a night in Nagoya :O awesome. But his real leave was in Tokyo. It was so cool talking about Japan with him :D Best memory with my grandfather. definitely.

Of course Japan is quite different now. He asked if I rode in rickshaws. No, I never have.. they're sort of more expensive, touristy things. He laughed... when he was there, they were so so common, and cheaper than a taxi. He rode them a lot. ^_^

He also said that while they were there, they took a train across the west of Japan, and went by Hiroshima... so this would be well under 10 years after they dropped the bomb... he said it was a wasteland. I can't imagine it.

I was also able to spend New Year's Day in St. Louis with some friends ^_^ Caught a crowded 4 a.m. Greyhound out there. Did some shopping, watched some butterflies... a lovely reprieve from this Siberian winter. It's not Nishio weather, that's for sure. Being with friends is so good. If not highly emotional. I'm afraid it's making me difficult to be around. >_<

Well, this week, I have some required shopping to take care of... some for me, some for others. And a few more friends to meet up with ^_^ I'm so happy to see eveyone. It's so wonderful.

The picture is our monument in the center of Indianapolis. It's all decorated for Christmas. ^_^
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