Saturday, August 4, 2012

bye Japan

I'm writing this from the Seoul Airport. It was an eventful last few days in Kyoto, and the last day we spent all day wandering around, having one last chance at everything. I'll post details later but suffice it to say for now that we shopped, we saw gardens and temples, we walked, we ate sushi and udon, and we cried.

We also took 4 last funny t-shirt photos.
"Lovely Face! Pretty Heart. Smile. She smile me into a bright frame of mind. Myself of pure mind."

Good Worker
A Variety of cars

Swing Hippo*
Let's be Nice to her Through the leaves
In the Wind
Live as One with Nature
Mother Nature


The next update will be from the USA!

*our new nickname for N: "Swingin' Hippo"

Thursday, August 2, 2012

the end

this is going to be my last blog post from Japan. I am unplugging our internet after I post this to return the converter box. We have spent the last 2 or 3 days packing and cleaning out our apartment which has been hampered by most of us getting a pretty awful 24 hour flu bug.

I just had a good-bye lunch at KIT with my host and the other 2 professors in my lab. I turned in my office key, paid our last rent, and received my security deposit back. We'll be in the air in 48 hours. What an adventure this has been.

Bye from Kyoto!

Monday, July 30, 2012


Some aikido pictures from the 2nd to last class.
N doing front rolls

N sitting in seza

N doing a front roll

M doing her front roll

W doing her front roll

Yoko-sensei on the right, and Daisaku (who is from Portland and is one of the helper teachers) on the left.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

last day of school

The Japanese school year starts in April and runs without any long breaks until mid-July. Their summer break is about 5 or 6 weeks; school starts again on the 28th or so. Then Winter break is about 3 weeks in December/January. There are occasional 2-3 day breaks here and there, but  they get more school here than in the US. This week was the last day of school until August, and both M and N's classes had goodbye parties for them. It was really sweet. We spent most of the day at school.

M's class:
This is M with her 1st grade teacher (this year he is the Japanese teacher and got to spend time with both M and N). He sang her a song about a father's daughter growing up and moving away and he was definitely very sad to see her go.

M's current 2nd grade teacher taught everyone a hula dance.

Here is the class learning the dance.

Then there was a surprise violin recital!

M is between 2 of her closest friends

M wrote and delivered a speech in Japanese about her year in Japan. Great job!!

Class photo! This is both 2nd grade classes.

This is M's class.  She has a big box of presents that all the kids made for her. Origami, cards, pictures, plus a big binder with notes (that I can't read) from all the other kids. Very nice.

Family picture.

After the party it was lunch time. The kids get dressed in these aprons and masks, head down to the kitchen and bring back food.

Here they are scooping out food into the bowls.

Stew and rice for lunch. Apparently the stew had vegetables from the school garden!

N's class had its party after lunch.
When we arrived (in one of the bigger rooms, not a classroom), they were sitting in circles playing a series of games.

Then to the gymnasium (it had started pouring rain) for one last game of dodge ball.

N with some friends

Here is the Japanese teacher again, Hashimoto-sensei, who sang a song to N.

And another violin recital!

N's teacher and class

N gave a speech that he had written. He delivered it in Japanese and then in English. Great job!

Class photo!

Back in the classroom, N was saying good bye to his classmates and friends.

Last day of school!  Good bye Daion Kinrin.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


We just got back from going shopping up at Qanat, which has our three favorite clothing stores: Uniclo, Hush Hush and G-cref.  I took a few last photos at G-cref. I love the slogans.
I have no idea what this one means...

This one sounds deep, but is it?

It's like the old "Shazaam" show. Super-flush!

Cigars on me.

In the sprit of the Olympic swimming events that started today I'm sure.

Apparently the Penn State Scandal has made its way here in t-shirt form


It has been a week of "lasts."  The last day of school. The last flea market. This week we will have the last aikido lesson. The last taiko class. I will post pictures of the last day of school later this week.

The kids have been doing gymnastics since December or so. Class is from 6-9PM on Friday night. They have really enjoyed it. Wendy and I sat in and watched the last class and took a few pictures. It was so hot, and we were just sitting there.

The first 30 minutes, the kids all run around setting up the equipment. It really is fun to watch, and everyone helps. Then, they get in 2 long lines to greet the teachers.
N in line with 2 of his friends from school

M is doing the warmup and trying to avoid the camera. They do a 5 minute "dance" routine to warm up.
 Thc gymnastics class consists of stretching, some floor exercises (cartwheels, rolls) jumping over the horse, hanging from the parallel bars, sometimes balance beam and other things. Then at the end, they all clean up!

N&M helping to fold up the pads

Kids disassembling the floor exercise area.

M carrying pads

at the end of class, N&M said goodbye to their class.

They really enjoyed doing gymnastics and will miss it!

Friday, July 27, 2012

northern running route

I took the camera on my long run today to get some pictures of the "northern" river loops. The kamogawa north of imadegawa is definitely my favorite course. Unfortunately it was really hot and muggy today so some of the long distance shots are just faded into the background. Like last week, I'll include approximate mile markers along my course ( Here are some pictures:
this is the western side of the river about 1/2 mile south of Imadegawa. I took a similar picture last week looking south; this was part of the Kyoto marathon course (mile 0.75)

This is looking north about 200 yards north of imadegawa. 2 weeks ago those two "water slides" (as N calls them) were totally covered in a rush of water (mile 1.5).

continuing north. The surface here is sandy dirt, and very soft (mile 2).

the path narrows as you get further north (mile 3).

Almost at the top now, the MK shuttle livery up there is the signal that the path ends soon. The bridge you can barely see going across is the end of the path (mile 4).

standing on the bridge looking north at the mountains. Often in the winter there would be snow or ice along the trail and along this bridge, and the mountains often had a light dusting even if the lower parts did not. Hard to imagine snow right now, 95 degrees (mile 4.5).

Turning around, coming south. The path on this side is a bit more gravely (mile 5)

But the path changes to dirt too (mile 5.5)

Getting close to imadegawa again (mile 7?)

For a while then I didn't take any pictures. I was in the heat and sun and I was just trying to keep moving. But there were a few pictures I didn't get last week that I wanted to make sure I got this week, both after mile 11:

These cool square benches are south of higashiichijo dori (the street the kids school is on) and N led me and M on "ninja" training on them. We're looking north towards Imadegawa here.

Looking south at more of the benches.

These two benches are special for me, a nice place to sit, and I spent an afternoon here last fall when I learned of the death of a friend.