Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fujisan: Journey Through the Clouds.

The second day in Japan was all official stuff…well, mostly.  In the morning we attended an official ceremony celebrating the first ten years of Minami Alps.  Basically we sat there and did not understand a thing and then stood up when they mentioned our cities.

After the ceremony (and watching people snooze and sit in very, er, casual manners) we had a box lunch with the other Sister City guests.  It was pretty tasty, except for a few things which I put down after a sample.

After lunch we headed off to the Ando House Museum.  This house is over 300 years old and was the house of a samurai warrior turned wealthy farmer.  (He lost a fight..)  Chiaki, my hostess came along as our interpreter.  It was really interesting and I had lots of opportunities to try out my new camera.








We stopped for coffee (or tea) at this house which was set up like a little cafe.  There was beautiful wooden furniture inside, and dolls which the lady made herself.  She served us coffee and cake, which was absolutely delicious.

That evening we had the official reception where we exchanged gifts and partied down with the Mayor and other official peoples.  (Photos to come, they are on a disk and my laptop does not have a disk drive.

The next day, I felt like Bilbo...I went up the mountain.  There were clouds and it was amazing to watch how fast the weather rolled in.

The first view of the mountain.

Map at the Welcome Center.

At the 5th Step.  As high as you can drive.

Looks like Heaven.




The last day my hostess Chiaki took me into Tokyo and we went to the National Museum.

Chiaki and Isao's house.





Tokyo















Friday, October 25, 2013

I'm Going to Japan, I think I'm going to Japan, I Really Think So!

So, for the last couple years I've been involved with our Sister Cities Association.  This year I happen to be president, and we got an invitation for representatives from Marshalltown to come and participate in a 10th Anniversary celebration, so I got to Minami Alps.  (Warning, there are lots of photos ahead!)

Setting out, I had several delays and was relieved not to miss any flights.  There were storms in Denver and then in Tokyo there was a Typhoon.  :(  Most of the days were cloudy, but pleasant.

On the first day, we went to a winery Budo No Oka and sampled the local wines.  You may not think of Japan when it comes to wine, but Yamanashi district is well known for wine.





We were given these souvenir cups and told we could sample all the wine we wanted.


They grow grapes hanging on structures.

Most of the wine was too dry for my taste, but there were lots of unique flavors.  I did buy a couple bottles of wine and some yogurt covered raisins.  Yum!
Next we had lunch at a hotel--it was buffet style and the room was really fancy.  This was my first opportunity to try much Japanese food and I really enjoyed.  Most of it anyway.





Then we drove up into the mountains to Shosenkyo Gorge and had a nice little hike down the river.  (I took TONS of photos, but I will only subject you to a few.)









As we were headed back to Minami Alps, we went through Kofu City which is the capital of the Prefecture.  We stopped at a Takeda Shrine and looked around.


The ancient deity Hello Kitty...






A very full, but interesting first day!




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