Sunday, December 23, 2018

Fall into Winter

I got quite busy, but I've been meaning to post about several things so I will make a master post of sorts for the past few weeks. I am officially on break, so I've got the time now.

Fall here is absolutely incredible. Paired with temples, day trips are stunning. I went to Nagahama on the last Sunday in November and then to Kyoto on Tuesday. Both trips involves several miles of walking, but the scenery makes it worth it. I absolutely love trees and the temples. The sheer size of the temples is astounding. I feel so small when visiting. The trees make fall one of my favorite times of year, except for the cooler weather. I will add only a few of the many pictures I took.

It's definitely starting to get cold here, but the temperature is far less volatile than both my hometown in Texas and Columbia. It's snowed in both places, but have warmed up drastically after that. The temperature here has just steadily declined. There is a chance for snow next week though. The mornings are quite chilly and there is some snow on the mountains already. It makes them look them visually appealing, but I cannot get a good picture unfortunately.

We went to Koka City for one of my classes two weekends ago. We had a booth at an international festival about SDGs. It was quite interesting. After lunch there were performances from the many cultures that live in Koka. There were dances and other performances from all over the world, and it was really cool to watch. I will add a short clip and I apologize for the poor quality.

Last weekend, my German friend Flo and I did a sort of homestay thing in Nagahama. We got to both experience four star hospitality and how such a hotel is maintained. We did dishes after lunch, and I don't know if I have ever seen so many different kinds of dishes. It was incredible really. They put a lot of focus on presentation. We worked with two high school boys who were going to graduate soon that worked there part time. They were really nice and helpful. I didn't count on having to take my shoes off a hundred time though. The system they had for how they stored the dishes was cool. I don't even know how to begin trying to describe this system, so I will leave you with only that it is cool. They had a separate hotel for those with pets, and I have never seen any place so much accommodate to pets. They had kennels and even a menu for pets. They had baby gates in place and many latches so the dogs wouldn't bolt when the owner was closing the door. They also had cameras in the elevators and screens on each floor so people could see if there were pets in the elevator already that might cause issues. Fun fact: Mercedes-Benz makes dog carriages. I didn't know this, but I will provide photo evidence. I also got to experience an onsen, which is a hot spring. I didn't know if I would be able to since tattoos are taboo here and I have several. I asked the owner and he let me use the private one rather than the public one. It was fabulous. The tubs are made locally and they're beautiful. They had some indoor and outdoor. The water was 40 degrees Celsius inside and 44 outside. I really liked the outside because it was 5 degrees and dark, so it was so so relaxing. I loved it. We also made beds the next day, which is a lot more difficult than you would think. I'm pretty sure I ate more in those two days than I had in the whole week before. After lunch on Sunday, we went to a bird sanctuary where we got to see an eagle that had migrated to the same spot every year for the past 21 years. Then we went to a traditional doll puppet school. It was really cold in the building. It takes three people to do one doll. We got to try and it's really interesting. We also got to see the closet where the dolls are assembled. There were heads that were hundreds of years old that had their original hair. I will add a photo of the doll heads.

That concludes this post I believe. I plan to have a pretty chill break, maybe go on a day trip or two. New Years will be spent with Ayame and her family and I look forward to that.
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