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Archive for the ‘Rural Life’ Category

Notojima‘s other main attraction is the glass art museum, which features international glass ranging from the practical to the abstract.

The design of the museum itself is sleek, playful, and modern.

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On the second day of our roadtrip, we headed to Notojima, a small island in Nanao Bay, halfway between Anamizu and Nanao, which is connected to the mainland by two bridges. It’s one of my favorite places in Ishikawa: the annual Notojima Te-Matsuri Craft Fair in October is always a treat, and it’s hard not to fall in love with Notojima’s scenic charms.

One of Notojima’s main attractions is the Notojima Aquarium (能登島水族館). Tickets are available at conbini nearby (for a discount) or at the door.

This cloudy day was great for exploring the aquarium.
Notojima Aquarium @ The Lobster Dance

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I’m very much a city person, but I do like to escape to the country on occasion, and the Okunoto, the northernmost part of Ishikawa’s Noto Peninsula (能登半島) is just the place to get away for a weekend. As a victory lap of Ishikawa, some of my friends and I drove around the 249 during the last weekend in May.

The 249 is a long drive, taking roughly 2 hours (nonstop) from Anamizu to Wajima to Suzu to Noto and back to Anamizu. Two or three day-long trips are really needed to cover it all, but we tried to hit some of my favorite spots, spending one day exploring the Okunoto and the second in the Notojima area near Nanao. RocketNews24 had a good short guide to the Noto, but I’d like to show off the area in photos, starting with Senmaida (千枚田), the “Thousand Rice Fields.”

Senmaida @ The Lobster Dance

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I’m featured in a Tofugu article about the usage of the word gaijin, which I have used in the past but now reject. There’s a lot of interesting responses by other bloggers and commenters, too.

Hashi writes,

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Held in Nanao, Ishikawa pref., every May, the Seihakusai Festival (青柏祭) features three enormous floats that are said to ward off evil monkeys. (There’s lots of good information in English on Experience Kanazawa.) The Noto region of Ishikawa is famous for its summer festivals, but they’re not just kiriko (huge lantern) festivals.

Behold the dekayama:

Seihakusai Festival @ The Lobster Dance

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I’m constantly amazed at how dramatic the landscapes are in the places I have lived since I left the Ohio River Valley. When I lived in Colorado, I spent spring and summer breaks traveling to places like Red Rocks, the Great Sand Dunes, Hot Sulphur Springs, Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Lake, and Garden of the Gods. When I decided to move back to the Midwest for grad school, I felt a sense of loss–at least until I got to Michigan and discovered how gorgeous it was. If you’ve never been to Michigan in the summer or fall, I can’t recommend it highly enough. The maple leaves, Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, the lakeshores, the forests, the wine country in the north–even without the mountains I never wanted for beauty.

Moving to Hokuriku meant I got both the sea and the mountains, but the sea never grew on me. My old apartment was about two meters from the water, and while I had always hated the humidity, the tsunami also soured my attitude toward sea-side living. Now when I tell people in Chubu and Kansai that I live in Kanazawa, they often respond, “Oh, by the sea?”, but I live far enough inland that I can’t see it. Rather, I tend to think of Ishikawa as mountainous, with Hakusan in the south of the prefecture and the Central Alps also in the region.

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I’ve been working on a post about getting attacked by caterpillars, but preparations for moving have delayed me. I’ve taken a new job in Kanazawa and am without regular access to internet, so updates may be slow.

My feelings about this are complicated–I’m thrilled to death about my new job and to live in a city again. My new apartment is in a good location and has fancy things like hot-water taps. I can go to Kenrokuen anytime I want, and I can go on weekend trips more easily from the train station.

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The weather on the long weekend that kicked off Golden Week was supposed to be sunny and 27 C in Tonami, Toyama, when I checked on Wednesday. By Friday night, Saturday’s weather was supposed to be sunny and 22 C. Imagine my surprise, then, when I woke up to the sound of rain at 9 am on Saturday.

Undeterred by the weather, my friend and I headed out to Tonami, Toyama for the Tulip Fair.


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I am exhausted. For the last three days, my work program’s HQ in Tokyo has been working tirelessly to disseminate information about charities, radiation, and preparedness, and I have been trying, in my own small way, to help get accurate information out on our prefectural blog and twitter.

The News

When the earthquake hit, I was sitting at my desk at work. I have not been sleeping well lately, and I started to feel dizzy. At first I thought I had the exhaustion-and-caffeine jitters like I had last spring. My desk felt like it was moving–but I hadn’t filled my coffee cup that afternoon.

I looked up. Everyone in my office was looking around. 「揺れとる?」 (Are we swaying?) one of my colleagues asked. (more…)

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Earthquake

Dear Readers,

If you are not on my facebook or twitter, I am okay. I’m in a place far from Miyagi. We felt the quake at 1 on the Richter scale (it was an 8.8 at the epicenter), and the tsunami advisory is quite low here. I am okay and so is my town. If you need to locate your loved ones, please try and publicize http://japan.person-finder.appspot.com/

 

Stay safe!

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