Slice of Life: Exploring Takayama

Yesterday was the first sunny day here in Takayama- the temp was about 70 F/ 22 C & was perfect for walking and biking around my new neighborhood. I took the bike for a short ride but found myself wandering too far from the streets I knew, so I returned the bike to the house & went for a walk instead. I followed the river at the end of our little street until I reached a green foot bridge and found a bunch of cherry blossom trees blooming along the river with a narrow street/ path along it. On the other side were all houses with really nice gardens along the river bank.

After a day of watching/training, the other teacher & I rode our bikes while we waited for the guys to finish up. We rode across the famous red bridge into old section of Takayama city, the traditional tourist area in town, before circling back around to our street. Along the way was a baseball field with 2 teams about to start. They were lined up all together in a row facing the field. One team started chanting and bowing before they separated into 2 teams & began the game.

We rode on and reached our house just as the sun was finishing setting.

That evening we went for dinner at a very traditional Japanese restaurant with the other teachers, our Secretary, & 3 adult students. If was really good and of course, all the food looked beautiful! Everyone takes their shoes off as soon as they enter & puts them in a little locker before heading to the table which is low to the ground, but the floor is even lower than that so you sit in a normal seat, not just on the floor. I will take a picture next time so it makes more sense! This restaurant had tempura, sushi, and other Japanese foods, as well as a round grill in the table to grill your own meat & veggies over a flame. We didn’t do this on this occasion but we have done it before both in Chicago & in Japan, & it is really good! A good place in Chicago to mostly experience this is Gyu-Kaku near Erie & Fairbanks- you’ll have to look up the address though if you want to go!

After dinner we took a quick trip to Sega Land which is the arcade in town, and took some pictures in the photo booth… These photo booths are not like the plain old ones in the US… with these you can change your hair color, add all sorts of makeup and text, and make the photos look really crazy after you take the pics- you use a touch screen & special pen to add all the extras at the end. Then you get the printout that is also a sticker. This is what most girls are doing while the boys are mostly playing video games.