Saturday, June 27, 2015

another bicycle ride

This past Thursday morning, the weather looked good and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to go on another bicycle ride.  What I usually do is hop on the bicycle and then just head out without a specific destination.  That day I went out along the Ochiai-Gawa, which runs behind Christian Academy in Japan. 

I thought it would be interesting to follow the river all the way to it's beginning.  Here is a group of students. 

I assume they were on some sort of field trip.  There seemed to be a lot of students! 
I ended up in NishiTokyo, which really isn't too far, but I went down a number of narrow roads, weaving back and forth.  I stopped at this intersection and took a picture of this pedestrian walk over this busy street.  
It zigs and zags a bit to get across to the other side.
 This spot caught my attention because of the number of wires and lines.  I remembered that I was thinking, it's amazing that we don't lose power more often with all these wires above ground, but there aren't many trees to take down the wires either. 
As I turned back towards home, I ended up on this path which brought me back to the Ochiai-Gawa.  
 Sometimes pictures don't do enough justice on the the beauty you can find here.  I found these.  The colours were more vibrant. 

So, I came to a railroad crossing and was behind this vehicle that had this emblem on it.  I'm thinking they may be from France?  
It wasn't a terribly long ride, but it was interesting.  It is always interesting to go on roads that I have not been on before, or at least I don't remember being there before.  I am grateful that I have the opportunity to do some exploring.  God is good. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Nippori

Today after church, a friend, Junko and I went out for lunch.  After lunch we decided to go on a bit of a sightseeing tour.  We went to Nippori to the Yanaka area.  Our first stop was the Asakura Museum of Sculpture, Taito.  This used to be the house and studio of a Japanese sculpture artist.  I had not been through this museum before and was not familiar with Asakura Fumio.  I was not allowed to take pictures inside the museum, but took pictures of the brochure they gave.  The brochure also gave an overview of the museum. 


Entrance to the Museum
Asakura Fumio

One of the scuptures you would find in the museum.

Another bronze statue
These are pictures of the brochure you receive when you pay your entrance fee.  A helpful piece of information is to wear socks when you visit.  As is typical for entering houses, you take your shoes off.  Many of the floors are wood and therefore they would like you have socks and not walk on the wood floor on bare feet.  They do provide socks, the split toe kind.  
This is the inside of the brochure which is close enough for you to read, if you wish.  


 These are a couple of close ups of some of the pictures on the brochure. 


After visiting the museum, Junko and I went for a walk.  Some of the places conjure up pictures of what I think old Tokyo must have been like.  These are a couple of pictures of some of the streets on our walk.
This street is narrow and many of the stores and restaurants are small.  I love walking down these types of streets.   Some of the streets are lined with walls.  This is a close-up of one of the old walls. 
This is a close up of the wall, stone with mortar. 




This is an old Japanese Protestant church.  It has been declared a historic building. 


We also walked through the Azalea garden, but there were no azaleas blooming at this time.  We also saw a puppet shop that had many different puppets.  I really enjoyed the walk and looking in the various shops as we walked by. 
There are so many places I haven't seen in the Tokyo area and then there is the rest of Japan.  I find that no matter where you are, there are wonderful, interesting places to see.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Okutama

Today I met a friend for lunch.  For those of you who know me a bit, would be surprised that I went to a tofu restaurant, named Imoto-ya.!  Yup, had to give it a shot.  The restaurant was located in Okutama. 
This is the restaurant where we had lunch.
The upper left is the dish with a form of tofu, rice, salmon and salmon roe.  To it's right is a thick sauce that can add flavor to the salmon.
 My lunch consisted of salmon with salmon roe on top, rice, tofu of various kinds and a soup.  One thing about Japanese eating is there is usually many dishes all put together on one tray for dinner.  I was very full and couldn't finish it all. 
Rie taking a picture of her lunch.  Look at that pile of soba!
Rie ordered a tempura with soba.  You tell she is enjoying her lunch and looking forward to it very much! 
Okutama is along the Tama-gawa River.  I have heard that some of the churches go to this river for baptisms.  I am not sure where along the river the baptisms have taken place, but it certainly is a beautiful place and I was glad I am able to finally go see it. 
Across the river, some more restaurants.
A waterfall of sorts.  It flows into the river.




We finished off our lunch visit with a coffee.  

Hot coffee and ice coffee! 
It was a fun afternoon and a great opportunity to see a part of Okutama.  There are many more beautiful places to see here in Japan and hopefully I'll have more opportunities to see them. 







Sunday, June 14, 2015

Prince Takamado Gallery

A few weeks ago, I went to the Canadian Embassy to pick up my new passport.  At that time I was able to spend a few moments in the Prince Takamado Gallery in the building.  There was the Yousef Karsh: Portraits exhibition.  
Before you go into the gallery where the portraits are, there are some typical Canadian art pieces displayed.

List of portraits
Here are a few close ups of the portraits:  (A disclaimer, I didn't take these pictures lining up the portraits very well.  Took them with my iPhone.)
Albert Einstein

Georgia O'Keefe

George Bernard Shaw

Jacques Cousteau

Helen Keller and Polly Thompson

Robert Frost

Mohammad Ali
This exhibition will be at the Prince Takamado Gallery until August 31, 2015.  We'll see what will be next. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Mashiko

I enjoy going to Mashiko, which is a small town that has a few kilns and many stores that sell pottery.   Today Brian and Bette took me and I was able to do a little shopping. 
Town of Mashiko

Japanese milk cans on the left and a North American milk can on the right.

Rice paddies

Fully grown rice.
After I arrived at home, Ruth S. had texted me that she had some extra corn cobs and was wondering if I'd be interested in picking them up.  They were delicious! 
Sweet Corn is in season! 





Friday, June 5, 2015

MS Kanto Plain Band Festival


On Thursday, May 21st, I was able to chaperone the Christian Academy in Japan's (CAJ) MS band to the MS Kanto Plain Band Festival in Yokosuka at the Naval Base there. According to directions it says it's about 70 kilometers from school to Yokosuka.
I don't know if this is the actual route we took, but it's one that was shown on the map.
We gathered at CAJ by 6:00 am to make sure we would leave by 6:15 am or so.  We did manage to drive off before 6:30 am.  We were taking over 60 students and four different vehicles, two busses and 2 vans. 
Naoko Sawada was driving the bus I was in.
Looking back in the bus.
All was going well until we arrived at this spot.  It took us about 30+ minutes to get onto the expressway, needing to move only about 100 meters.

We were able to see Mt. Fuji clearly along the way.
Waiting at the entrance to the base.
All tolled, the trip took us four hours!  Some of that was also due to waiting at the Yokosuka Naval base entrance.  We had rented a bus and were unable to take the bus on base, which caused some of the delay.  The band missed their performance time, but they were able to give their performance later on.
Eating lunch

Mrs. Sawada and Mrs. Kim taking pictures.

Lunch was at the park right beside the food court.  I was a beautiful day and a beautiful place to have lunch.   Mrs. Kim treated us to a Cinnabon, which made lunch even better.  :)  
 
Between band performances
CAJ MS Band
Another Kanto Plain MS band

We were able to leave by about 15:00.  The trip back was considerably shorter, probably about two and a half hours.  The scenery was very beautiful.  
Entering the express way.

Entering the tunnel
Going through the tunnel

So much vegetation!

Lush green country side.

We went through multiple tunnels.

Isn't this just a cute little green truck?  Look at those wheels, so tiny!
Beautiful sun on the way to setting.
It was a long day, but enjoyable as well.  The students did fairly well and received some positive comments from the judges as well as some suggestions on how to improve.  We are blessed at CAJ to be able to provide so many opportunities for students to develop their skills.