Saturday, May 30, 2009


This past week I moved to city called Utsunomiya, and will probably be here for one or two months. Utsunomiya is about 42 minutes north of Tokyo on the bullet train which is nice because it makes a large part of Japan that is typically difficult to get to accessible.

For my first trip out of Utsunomiya I went to the an area of Tochigi prefecture called Shiobara and visited small villages called Monzen and Shingama.... I visited Monzen because I got lost though, not really my original plan. These area is up in the mountains and is know for having many suspension bridges over these wide rivers.
Above is the first suspension bridge found, it was named Yamayuri.The second bridge is named Nanatsuiwa, this was my favorite of all the bridges because no one trusted it. As people walked up, they would grasp the main cable and shake it, I assume they were checking it was strong enough to carry there additional weight.You can see everyone looking down, keeping an eye on that bridge.Here is the third bridge I found, its called Senniniwa and is in the village of Shionoyu. This was near the trail head that runs through most of the mountain range.The trail runs along rivers like this, I hope to make it back here soon.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cooking Japanese Style

I guess it cheating, but I have gotten more use out of my kitchen lately by inviting people over use it. Here are a couple of examples of meals made at my apartmetn that I can make now if you visit:Along the top is daikon salad, which means large root salad but it's mostly radish. Lower left is takoyaki or octopus balls. And to the right is yakisoba, a fried noodle dish.The second photo is a spicy Chinese noodle dish with vegetables and beef.Some non-home-made gyoza on the side... So, you know, please visit, I can make lunch.

Discovery in tatami room south

A couple of weeks ago, I had a small party at my apartment for a friend who was moving back to the US, there were about 20 people over for dinner and such. During the party, the people in the tatami room started to take it apart and found this:So, it turns out this a very very traditional fire pit used at a tea ceremony. You are suppose to make a small fire in there and then hang a cast iron tea pot over it, but this seems crazy to me. It would look something like this:But in that case, if you look up all you see is smoke:Not to bright. So for now, I will keep making tea in the kitchen.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Garden (week 2)

There is still a lot of work to do, but I started to work on the garden:About two weeks ago I took out all the weeds and stuff I did not need, and a few days after that I planted the first 10 plants. You can see, all the little labels are in Japanese, the yellow one in the middle says nasu... I'm expecting egg plant's to grow right there. This flower is also in the garden:I assuming it's a rose, but its missing the thorns, so I'm not really sure.

A typhoon passed a few hundred miles off the east coast of Japan and for the past week dump rain on Nagoya. This was great for the plants but not so great to go out there and plant more. I'm thinking this week I will be able to get back to work, get some more seedlings in the ground.