Slice of Life: So Far So Good Takayama

So – looks like it’s time for an update since it’s now been a whole month since we’ve been on here…

Each week goes by too quickly. Weekends so far have been spent in our own town learning our way around more and more, and finding new little hidden places. We will venture to Nagoya in a few weeks (we need to got to the Apple store to get some computer issues fixed) though, and possibly Matsumoto (about an hour or so away) to see a castle there)

This weekend was our school BBQ. There was a 50% chance of rain. For the first 2 hours of the 4 hour event, it was clear and we played games with the kids while the school owner cooked the food. As soon as it hit 12noon though, the rain started coming. It poured so the remainder of the cookout was then cancelled. We took cover at a small restaurant next to the BBQ area and ended up having some noodles there with a few adult students & school staff once the kids were all picked up. It was fun anyway. The park we had the BBQ in was at the top of a mountain, in Shiroyama Park. It was a very steep and windy road we drove up to reach the park!

Last weekend we went bowling & to a local restaurant (referred to by all expats so far as “Stick Meat” due to the amounts of meat on a stick available… aka Yakitori) to celebrate Joe’s birthday. Everything we’ve eaten there is always good & it’s a fun atmosphere. PLUS: the menu has plenty of pictures! Bowling also is worth noting – bowling in Japan is far different from bowling in the states (at least any bowling alley’s I’ve been to…) – it’s much more serious here. The bowling balls are all in perfect condition and organized by weight. All 10 lb balls are 1 color, 11 lb another, etc… and each weight has finger holes in different sizes! S-XL. The lighting is very bright inside. I don’t know if Japan has glow-in-the-dark bowling or if any bowling alleys have bars here, but the bowling alley in Takayama has no bar and no crazy pattern carpeting and no neon or black lights. Strange!

The weekend before that, we had a couch surfer in for a night and we visited a small food fest in Takayama (nothing compared to the Taste of Chicago!). We ran into some JET teachers we knew and we all went to a BBQ in a park for a few hours.

A week before the spontaneous BBQ we participated in a sort of art show for JET teachers in the area – it was at a cafe in the mountains with a great view of the town surrounding area. Part of the entrance requirement was that you had to bring something you made to share. I brought a watercolor I had been doing, and Joe brought a mini version of his DJ set up and DJ’d a 15 minute set for the group. Someone else brought homemade cheeses, and another brought a cookbook. There was a wide range of items that were made & brought in for the night. Afterwards was a visit to Queen’s Court for some Karaoke! I’ve done more karaoke since being in Japan that I have in my whole life before!

Takayama has a nice library near Shiroyama Park & our school owner brought us there Saturday to get Library cards – we can now check out 1 of the 100-150 english books and/or any Japanese books we want. We can also park at the library for up to 2 hours for free, and it is close to downtown so that is good as well. We’ve been riding bikes all around town – Joe is enjoying his newly improved bike riding skills and we’re looking forward to getting paid soon so we can venture further out. We’ve started to study Katakana as well (1 of the 3 forms of Japanese writing) so we can get on with trying to learn this new language. This is the start of the rainy month of June, so we’ll have plenty of time to study stuck inside!

Last weekend we also rode bike to UniQlo to get a few items, and on the way home we took a side street for a few blocks and found a shrine/ temple hidden in the mountainside. There was also a meeting hall that can be rented out for events – our school receptionist goes to Yoga there about every week we later found out. Here’s some pictures from that weekend:

You can see more pictures from our time in Takayama so far by checking out my Flickr.