Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Las Adventuras de La Familia en Japon: この外人のお母さんと兄さんの日本の冒険!

To tell the truth I spent about 2 days writing about all our adventures, which mysteriously disappeared when I tried to publish it. Here are some pictures... Use your imagination!

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My mother, brother, and I with the teachers of Ena Kita Jr. High. In back of my brother and I is the new, super-cute math teacher, at the ripe old age of 22! To the right of my bro is Katsuno sensei, who spent the evening teaching us how to fold origami, which is not easy for most gaijin when they are sober, let alone slightly intoxicated. The woman hiding behind Colin`s fat head (just kidding Colin:) is the coolest teacher I work with, and the organizer of this festive event: Kachi sensei, whose rice cooker recently exploded at 6:00 Tuesday morning, covering my kitchen in a gooey, green pea sludge.

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The Inebriated Origami Challenge: 頑張れ!They're trying so hard!

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Magome, an Edo period past town on the old Nakasendo (Road Through the Mountains), that once connected Kyoto, the Emperor's capital, to Edo (present day Tokyo), and former base of opperations for the Tokugawa Shogunate. Edo became a prison where the shoguns held the daimyo's wives and children hostage to discourage them from trying to rebel. The policy of alternate residence (or attendence) forced Daimyo to spend every other year in Edo, under the watchful eye of the government. Their elaborate processions of goods and retainers often traveled this road, making Magome a bustling town which faded away with arrival of Comodor Perry's black ships and the end of the shogunate. This now concludes our Japanese History lesson for the day. O-WA-RI-MASu!
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As we wandered the streets of Tsumago, the next post town down from Magome (in Nagano prefecture) this man invited us into his shop for tea, and serenaded us to the soothing sounds of Sting. His shop was filled with priceless antiques, including samurai armor the size of my elementary students!
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The door of an old Edo period store house, right across the street from above mentioned shop. These buldings spot the country side with bright white walls and black tile roofs. In the past they were built separate from the main house so that, in case of fire, the family`s valuables would be safe.
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The Gassho-zukuri style houses (so named because they resemble hands in prayer), of Shirakawa village are famous world-wide. The steep, peaked roofs help to keep the massive amounts of snow that falls in Northern Gifu from accumulating and crushing the house. The thatch, like so much else here, is made from a special kind of rice plant, and is about a meter thick.
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Their first Japanese breakfast.

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Taking tea at the hearth of a gassho-zukuri home. The smoke from this ever burning fire, over the centuries, has stained the wood of the home a deep, glossy black (note the wall behind us). The noren (japanese style curtain) hanging behind was made by the home's owner from her grandmother's maiden kimono (its a meiji era furisode kimono, meaning a kimono she wore before she got married). It was stunning.

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From the freezing snow of Northern Gifu we went south to Miyajima. My mother and I walked down to the shore rockin' our ryokan yukatas to watch the sun rise over the famous floating Torii. Of course, it only appears to be floating when the tide is in. My brother had woken up early and decided to climb up Mt. Misen in his yukata. By the time we woke up he was long gone, and didn't get back until almost 10:30.

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The floating torii ( a spiritual gate that marks an entrance to a shinto shrine).

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Bye-bye Miyajima....


Our first night in Kyoto was also the first night of the Kiyomizudera Spring Illumination.
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Isin't it unreal?

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Kiyomizudera, the Temple of Pure Waters, shines like a star in the heavens☆.

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Katsugiku, one of the many maiko and geiko my brother and I crossed paths with as we wandered the streets of Gion at night.

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Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, meditate on these things.

Phillipians 4:8

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Kyoto turns pink in the spring, as clouds of blushing blossoms cling to the trees.

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The Golden Pavillion, Kyoto.


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Silly kid.


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The joyful expression that only a plate full of fish head can bring.

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Delicious! おいしい~!
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My mother made friends everywhere we went!

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My three moms...

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My host family from the good ol' Gaidai days.

4 comments:

Lindizzy said...

Thank you for posting more pictures! I never can get enough... So you went to visit your host family? Wow, their kid looks like he's grown! I'm so glad your mom and brother got to see the best of Japan. You're the perfect tour guide! You gotta be mine when I come visit you in Gifu, you know.

Melissa said...

Yeah! my host family took us out to eat at some posh restaurant in Umeda with a 'million dollar' view of Osaka. Issey, their little boy, is huge! He just turned two the day after your birthday. Gifu, in all its rice-paddied splendor, is awaiting you Linz...I wonder if a big city slickin' girl like you can handle it?

pAnDaR~ said...

hallo!!!
lol funny to see a reply suddenly after sooo long!! i do have some questions but i did manage to hear about it from a long time ago in singapore!! i am not very good with learning languages the classroom way though, too tedious! i do like it better if i am, say, learning it from daily convos, even though it's a long long way to learn something like language >..>.

incidentally, my blog is designed by boyfriend :D it's pretty isn't it? but i am an idiot for pink!!! hehe~

i will probably try and email you when i have questions written down in proper order!! :D seeya :D thanks for leaving a comment btw :P

Mom said...

I/We loved meeting your Host Family and Issey. This is such a special and precious moment for all of us. We will cherish this moment in time, the memories, and the precious minutes together having dinner and talking. They are very wonderful and we appreciate their being a part of and touching both your life and our lives.

Precious memories.. my visit to Japan to be with my daughter, and enjoying her life with all her friends and teachers. What a great time we had!