9.19.2004

Himeji Castle


V6010066.JPG
Originally uploaded by M and C.
We spent today wandering around the hallways and grounds of the oldest undamaged castle in Japan. It has been relatively unchanged for 400 years, having been the only castle to have escaped damage from war, even WWII. For more photos, check out the photoblog. It was very surreal to look out small windows designed to have arrows shot out them, or through small holes that were for dropping stones on anyone trying to scale the outside wall. We saw the rooms where the princess and her servants prepared her makeup and dress. We walked by small enclosures where defending warriors would wait for intruders. Every wall was lined with weapons racks. The castle is incredibly beautiful, and it looms over the city of Himeji like a mountain. It is called the white heron because it looks like a heron in flight. I can't help but think of all the warriors, servants, and people who lived there 400 years ago and wonder what they would think about the troops of tourists that now circulate the castle and grounds in a steady stream, listening to tour guides or checking the guidebook for tidbits of information about the history of this stone or that well. Would they believe it?

9.12.2004

photoblog is up

Please visit wabi sabi wa, our new photoblog, which will be updated frequently via our nifty keitai cameras. I will also add more photos from our first month in Japan soon. Yippee!

Kyoto in August


Kyoto in August
Originally uploaded by M and C.

macodonorudu = bad idea

I've been trying to set up a fotolog at www.fotolog.net with a daily keitai photo, but it's not working! Patience is key for anything involving me and the net, and I've never been good at patience. Bear with me, somehow photos will get up somewhere eventually. Yesterday we did much shopping and tried out a McDonald's here. I'd heard the food was better than at McDonald's in the states. Well, the restaurant itself was certainly cleaner and nicer and the service was far better, but the food was exactly the same, and made me feel just as ill for the rest of the day as McDonald's used to. Sadly, I'm in love with their french fries, a habit I must break. Food here typically is nowhere near as heavy as McDonald's food, so it was a shock to the system to be that full. Yuck. No more Macodonorudu. This place is slowly feeling more like home, especially now that classes have started and I'm busy. The students are really nice and funny. Hopefully we'll start Japanese classes soon at the local international center, because our Japanese is very very inadequate. It also might be a good way to meet some people over here, because our social life needs some, well, life!

9.11.2004

back online

Finally, Yahoo BB is installed and the internet is back within my grasp. It has been a long time since regular net access. Since about June 15. Much too long. And it has been so long and such an overwhelmingly full last three months that I have no idea how to sum it all up. It's hot here. And I really like teaching. And I miss friends at home terribly. I like the food here though. Even the weird coffee-flavored jello with little creamer cups to pour on top. We have a few pieces of furniture finally, although our beautiful huge clear-pictured 2nd-hand tv is still sitting atop a suitcase. The people in the neighborhood are starting to react with smiles instead of guardedness and the kids don't stop and stare any longer. We're getting used to the place. Begging for fall and cooler weather though. I have to take a shower after the walk uphill for 20 minutes to get home from school, because it's so darn hot!

Also, we are now both completely paranoid about earthquakes, having been through three in the last week. They were not big here, but still scary when you're on the 5th floor. Every time a truck rumbles by, we both stop and look at each other, hands to the tatami checking for that rolling motion, like the apartment building is on top of a ship at sea. Also had 2 typhoons, which were basically just a lot of wind and rain, and one cancelled day of classes.

As I begin to piece my mind back together, I'll add some more coherent updates. Everything is so different here, I'm not sure what to say about it really. I suppose you can leave a comment if you have anything you're dying to know about life here. And I will soon begin work on a photo page, so it is coming... just slowly.

9.05.2004

welcome to japan! we just had our first earthquake. the tv said 2.5 richter (3 japanese scale) where we are. you definitely feel it on the 5th floor. hope we dont have any stronger than that while we're here.

Just woke up to the sound of the van that drives through our parking lot advertising for an electronics store through a megaphone - camera, speakers, video camera are the words I can understand since they are the same as english. I can hear another too w/ a woman's voice and a sound like a phone ringing to get your attention. There's also a van in the evenings with a woman singing through the megaphone. I think it sells shaved ice because she mentions the flavors melon and blue hawaii. In Bham its likely cooling off by now - here its about 31 C every day. It takes too long to type on this phone so thats all for now. Hopefully net within the next few days.