18 October 2007

Fukushima in two days

Okay, I got my whatnot together and uploaded the pictures despite not having my i-Mac. All the pictures can be viewed here, the highlights following, or pictures and explanations after the break.

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Fukushima Prefecture, for those of you unfamiliar with the geography of this great country, is right next to Niigata Prefecture, in the middle of Honshu. It is pretty much all mountains and Aizuwakamatsu, the main city and home of some castle. We decided to go to stay in a 'pension' outside of Aizuwakamatsu. 'Pension', I'm told, is English for small cottage, but I've never heard that word before. Someone is lying to me.
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We drove up and went to the Castle first. I thought the baby looked a little bit like Winston Churchill. She was also genuinely angry a couple of times. We also took a kind of Christmas card photo (seen above). It makes me feel old and a bit like a sellout. I'm sure there will be no Christmas card, though.
CastleStephen and NaomiNaomiThe FamilyY and N

We then went up to a farm on the top of a mountain to eat Genghis Kahn, which is basically just cabbage and mutton. It was great, they had great ice cream and met the goats. Yoko said, 'ヤギさんを見に行こうか' but I corrected her, 'ヤギさんに会いに行こう.' (a little verb humor for the Japanese speakers out there). Yoko sang a song about goats to me and the baby, but this computer won't download the video so please, hold on.
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Then we went to the actual pension which was called 遊夢イン. It was pretty cool and had a private bath that you could use at no extra charge. There are no naked pictures of me, but I assure you, I did get naked and it was fabulous.

On the way home, we stopped at a lake and Yoko talked me into paying 2000 yen to ride in this turtle boat. The turtle boat was made in the '80's it seems, with no upkeep to it since then, although this sign says that the emperor (who was the crown prince at the time), rode the turtle boat in 1984. This boat, for me, symbolizes one thing that is important to understand about Japan after the 80's. When the Asian market crashed in the early '90's, everything in Japan froze. And this turtle boat is one of the frozen things, still pretending it's 1984 and the Crown Prince is riding, when in fact the speakers are broken, there are rips in the seats, and it is no longer worth 1000 yen a person.
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