Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's a nice day

I think that I'll take the afternoon off and go for a bike ride.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kunio Kato - La Maison en Petits Cubes

This is a video (in two parts) by Kunio Kato. Kunio Kato is a Japanese animator who is the first Asian to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film since the category was initiated in 1932 (imdb.com).

As winter turns to spring and temperatures begin warming up, the sakura season begins. It is commonly known that Japan celebrates the blossoming of Cherry Blossom trees (Sakura桜). There is even a Japanese custom of flower viewing called “hanami” 花見 . Hanami begins when the Japan Meteorological Agency posts a map forecasting the “sakurazensen (桜前線)” or “Cherry Blossom Front” in late February/early March. People use this map to plan their hanami parties in which people sit under or near a Cherry Blossom tree, eat a packed meal and drink sake. There are many parks around Japan that are designated as Cherry Blossom viewing parks in which thousands of sakura trees are planted and visiters will travel for hours to view the trees. This year, Tyler and I will be in Tokyo when it’s sakura trees will be in bloom and we’re planning on visiting one of the most popular parks for viewing the sakura trees.

Friday, March 20, 2009

More New Pictures!

Many new photos have been added to my flickr page! I have also added the locations of all of my pictures on the flickr map. However, I am sorry to say that the map is sub-par in terms of quality and user usability, but you can still have some fun with the zoom and pan features while looking at the locations that I’ve visited (and photographed).

Teaching – I have created a new set of strictly teaching and school related pictures. You will see some action shots (both of me and of the students), graduation shots, and formal shots with the teachers. I will continue adding pictures to this set as I take them.

Iwate Snow Festival – These are pictures from the 2009 岩手雪祭り(Iwate Snow Festival) held on February 7th at Koiwai Farms near Morioka. Tyler, Jar, Miyuki, and I went early in the day to view the large and quite impressive snow sculptures. We met up with some of our friends and went sledding. The day finished with a fireworks display.

Snowboarding – Snowboarding is pretty much a necessity while living in Iwate for two reasons: 1. Iwate has the most number of ski resorts in Japan. 2. It maintains one’s sanity, assuming one’s brain isn’t frost bitten or fumigated from kerosene. These are some pictures and videos of me and my friends on numerous trips to our local ski area called Okunakayama Kogen. Okunakayama is only twenty-five minutes away and lift tickets are cheap.

Towada Art Center – I recently discovered an art museum in Towada (about an hour North of us) while looking at this Japanese architect’s website. The picture on their website is of a model so I did some investigating and I found this! Tyler, Jar, J9, and I went there for one of our weekend road trips and we were not disappointed. This is a legitimate art museum displaying twenty-two permanent installations, sculptures, and large-scale works of art from artist from many different countries. In addition, there is a gallery that houses temporary exhibits. We were thoroughly impressed. See for yourself. I would recommend this museum to anyone!

Ikebana – is traditional Japanese flower arrangement. This display was put-on at our library on a day that Tyler and I happened to be there. The pictures do not do justice for the beauty of these arrangements.

Tomb of Christ in Shingo, Aomori Japan - The legend goes (quoted from the sign):

“When Christ was 21 years old, he came to Japan and pursued knowledge of divinity for 12 years. He went back to Judea at age 33, and engaged in his mission. However, at that time, people in Judea would not accept Christ’s preaching. Instead, they arrested him and tried to crucify him on a cross. His younger brother, Isukiri casually took Christ’s place and ended his life on the cross.
Christ, who escaped crucifixion, went through the ups and downs of travel and again came to Japan. He settled right here in what is now called Herai Village, and died at the age of 106.
On this holly ground, there is dedicated a burial mound on the right to deify Christ, and a grave on the left to deify Isukiri.
The above description was given in a testiment by Jesus Christ.”
See for yourself.

Dragon Temple Shingo, Aomori Japan - Here are pictures from a neat temple that we discovered on the roadside while traveling to the "Tomb of Christ".This temple has many beautiful wood carvings of mostly dragons. I am unsure of the actual name of this temple.

Stay tuned for:
Craggly Coastal Pictures

Monday, March 2, 2009

A few new pictures

Hello all, I apologize for the lack of updates lately. I have pictures and stories that I am looking forward to sharing with you all, but I will have to post those at another time. I have, however, posted some new pictures from a trip that I took with some of my friends in early January to the Kuji Aquarium. Kuji is a town that is along the the Northeast coast and is about an hour away from us by car. You can see the pictures from our visit here.

Enjoy, and stay tuned. I will be writing and posting more pictures from the adventures of everyday life soon.