Monday, 31 October 2011

Super Cute Halloween costumes!

Sunday, we had yet another Halloween party, this time back in Hagi at Courtneys House. She had done such a nice job, decorating the house and making a massive feast for us....It was just like a proper American Halloween, even with Candy Corn! Again, there were lots of cute costumes, Matt even dressed up as Choruru!

Yamaguchi JETs do Halloween!

The Yamaguchi AJET organisation plans some pretty fun events. Sadly, the halloween treasure hunt was cancelled, because of the rain, but after a quick walk through the rainy forest, we headed over to a really nice Italian restaurant, complete with FLAN! The costumes people wore were great!!! Keri was the little boy from the Pixar movie Up, and Brad was some kind monster?!

The time tunnel

At the very end of the caves, you climb back up to the surface. They call this walk the 'time tunne', and it was these two walls of paintings, starting from the very beginning of time, going through the first types of plants on earth, the formation of animals, the dinosaurs, the meteor that wiped them out, all the way up untill humans and the space station! It was pretty cool, and the lights down the corridor were pretty impressive! And, because it was Japanese, of course there was some pretty nice music too!

Akioshidio Caves!

Darlo and I took the long drive to Akioshida, and even though it was pouring with rain, we were lucky that the caves were an indoor attraction! I really had a nice time, and although we were a little rushed, it was just amazing! These are one of Japan's longest caves and they were very impressive!

Let's go Bowling

On the second floor of the entertainment complex is the bowling alley. I love to bowl, and in Japan, the shoes come out of these cool vending machines. U select the size and they come out the bottom. If u want to put them back, u pop them in a trash chute where the vending machine is then reloaded! Cool eh?

Batter, Batter, Batter!

Friday, my family left, and I was very sad at the station, but Darlo came to town in the evening to keep me company and we went to US Bowl and went batting. I really love it, I had never done it before, and I'm quite pleased because it is something new I have tried. I really enjoy letting my anger out on it! Darlo had a great time too, but found he had more success when he played it like a rounders bat!

Fat, round people in Yamaguchi!

After work, we went to the station to catch a bus home. These cute little round people are a massive copy of the traditional work common in Yamaguchi. Usually these guys are here, but they were moved last time because of the Kokutai. It was so amazing because they are adorable, and always look happy!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

St. Xaviers, Yamaguchi

Thursday, I had to go work in Yamaguchi City (for a Kencho meeting, but not at Kencho) Mummy and Daddy and Shelby came too, and at lunch we went to the famous St. Xavier Church. It's very nice and modern, and has a lot of cool stained glass on the inside, but its much more impressive from the outside, especially with the sun!

Playing around in Hagi

This is another great photo of Shelby messing around with some random lion sculpture in front of a random shop near the Hagi Castle. I think I have seen this shop open before, and it is a pottery shop (like so many in Hagi), but if I remember correctly, it also sold expensive art work! I thought the lion was cute and Shelby was funny, so I definitely needed a photo!

Hagi Castle at dusk

We also went down to Kikugahama beach, which is lovely, but it was quite stormy, and the sun was just about set, so we didn't stay very long. Right next door is Hagi Castle, where the ruins were just being lit up. I think Mummy and Daddy would have liked to have gone in, but it is nice, but not too worth going into! This photo makes it look a lot brighter than it actually was, but with the light, the photos of Shelby and I were really odd, hence why we are just showing photos of the castle here! I do wish we could have seen more of it at night, it would be quite fun!

Automatic Fortune Machine

After trying the one in Asakusa, Shelby and I discovered there were many types of fortune telling machines. This one was similar to one I had seen at the Golden Pavillion in Kyoto, you put in a little bit of money, and it prints out a little ticket with your fortune on. Sadly, down here, the fortunes arent in English, so we weren't sure whether it was a good one or a bad one, so I think Shelby tied it to a tree, just in case! She really enjoyed the trip to the shrine, which is great that she was enjoying the more traditional things in Japan!

Us at the shrine!

I really like these photos, and I miss my family already and they have only been gone a little bit! It was nice just to get some photos of them, and I especially like the one of Shelby goofing around with this cute little lion! She is always goofy, and I miss having someone to take photos of! Her hair is starting to grow out and I think it really suits her!

Shoin Shrine, Hagi

After work on Tuesday, we all rented bikes and set out to explore Hagi. I hadn't been to Shoin Shrine, and I figured that was a) a reasonable distance away and b) somewhere I hadn't been to before and c) somewhere that was at least in the guide book! It's like THE place to visit in Hagi, and's pretty I guess! We had a nice time, we got in front of the massive Chinese tour group and had the place pretty much to ourselves!

Okonomiyaki in Hagi again!

The Shinkansen took us back to Hagi, where Mummy and Daddy and Shelby got to see my apartement for the very first time. We did a little walk around Hagi and then, because the Okonomiyaki shop that we like was actually open for once, we went there. Reading the menu was a bit tough, as it was just me who was there to read the Japanese, but still...we made it through, and we had a lovely lady come over and teach us how to make it properly! I love the light in this Okonomiyaki shop, it makes everyone look so pink!

Finally...a Geisha!

This time in Kyoto, I was lucky to see 4 Geisha in the space of about...2 hours! Haha! I saw this lady on her way somewhere in Arashiyama, another one standing for a photo shoot and then, joy of super cool joys, two of them on my Shinkansen carriage with me! That was the best, and if I was a bit braver I would have asked for their photograph!

Looking over Kyoto

Mt. Arashiyama is actually taller than any man made building in Kyoto. It's taller than Kyoto Tower (because there is a sign telling you when you are the same height as it!) and so the view from the top is just amazing! I love how beautiful the city is, I remember last time, from Fushimi Inari, it was a little cloudy, but it was so nice that it was clear! You could see for miles!

Monkeys on Motorbikes on Mt. Arashiyama

The Monkeys were super cute, and we spent a lot of time feeding them, and watching them. The cutest thing was this monkey sitting on a motorbike! It reminds me a little of when I saw Kepler the Kitten on my moped! Just too adorable!

Feeding the Monkeys

So, Arashiyama is seriously famous in the Kyoto area for these cool monkeys which live on the top of Mount Arashiyama. We paid to climb up to the top..and it's a long way! At the top you can go inside, and you can get food to feed all the cute monkeys! They put their hands through the grating and ask (in Monkey) for food!
They were all super cute, but there was a little baby, and an older one who was very patient! Mummy and I had good fun feeding them, and enjoying the air conditioning after such a tall hike!

On the bridge...another bridge!

I took these photos (well, Shelby took mine) on the bridge! I wanted to get some more of the background in, but the bridge wasn't as pretty as I had expected, just super long! It was so nice to have Shelby there so we could take photos of each other! We were rushing a lot to get there by the time so we could catch our Shinkansen! So they were just quick snapshots along the way...

Along the river

There is a very famous bridge in Arashiyama, but I didn't actually get many photos since it wasn't that pretty, but the area along the river was really nice. They had these lovely boats, which you could rent and go along the river, and had little lights on them, but they also had some great carriges which you could have rented out! They looked like so much fun, but it was only for two people! I love the colours, and it will be really better in the autumn when the colours are better!

At the end of the forest

We tried to find our way out of the forest, and ended up at the wrong train station...which is where this cute Romantic Train comes through. I went in and got directions to the correct one, and when we got to the end of the forest, we saw this beautiful place, overlooking the lake. It was so lovely, and we were quite hot, so it was a nice place to stop and rest! I really like lakes where the mountains can be seen, reflected in the water. I have a few photos like this, but it's nice when the colours are so vivid!

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

On our last day in Kyoto, we took a super early train out to Arashiyama, which is much farther than it appears! It is apparently a really cool place to go...and has quite a famous Bamboo forest. I have lots of friends in the Nara, Kyoto area, who all have been there, and I knew I really wanted to go! We had a little bit of trouble getting there, but it was so much fun!

Kyoto Tower at night!

The fire festival wasn't going to be super exciting in the pouring rain, so we decided against that, and ended up doing some shopping in Kyoto station.I loved Kyoto Tower last time I visited, but I didn't get any photos. This time, when I went out to get some, they also had these very cool fountains, which were set to Disney Music, complete with lights and everything! We call them fountains of happiness...just like the ones in Fukuoka! Amazing! And a perfect time to come see the Tower!

A little cafe in the woods

Right at the very end of the shrine, you come to some little cafes in the woods. That is where I took this photo, and I love how it just overhangs into the forest. It would be such a nice place to sit and eat dinner, but we didn't do that, and instead, went back to the hotel. Shame, because it would have been a nice place to sit and chat over a cup of tea!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

At the overhang

The main part of the temple/shrine is this big, large wooden building, which overhangs over the forest. It's a beautiful place to look over the trees, and even better in mid November apparently beautiful with all the red leaves out. I wish I was there then so I could see it! It was still beautiful either way!

The view of the pagoda

As you walk around the path around the shrine, you get a really good view of the pagoda. For some reason, you couldn't walk up to the pagoda, so the only way to see it is from above. The path goes through the forest, and its really nice because the leaves were just starting to change!

At the top of the shrine..and a classically Japanese photo!

At the top of the shrine, there were several places for people to pray, but also two love stones. If you touch one, and walk to the other while your eyes are shut, you will find lifelong love! Or so the story goes! I also liked that all the big bells were tied with beautiful red cloth bows...and I was very lucky to get this photo of these two, kimono clad ladies praying at the shrine! Such a classic Japanese shot! I'm never sure if I can take photos of women in Kimonos, they are just so pretty, but it's like...taking a photo of a randomer on the street! Luckily, there was a gap in people walking, so I could get a quick shot!