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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The First Excursion

Hey again!

I know it's been awhile, so this will be the first post of a couple to make up for the missing time.

It's incredible how quickly things transition from being strange and new to normal. Things like riding the subway and sorting the garbage have gone from being confusing new experiences, to part of my daily routine. That said, sometimes I'm still not sure if I'm sorting refuse properly, but I'm not entirely certain that all the Japanese are able to either. The trips into downtown Nagoya that were big, new experiences, complete with guides and a helping hand, are now just day trips that we make when we have a free day. Of course, the reason that all these new things are so easy is really due to the locals. The people here are incredibly welcoming, and it's not uncommon to have strangers start a conversation. Even if you don't speak Japanese very well, just the knowledge that you're attempting to learn and want to visit their country makes many Japanese happy to help you. 

Now, for the actual trips!

Our first school excursion was a day trip to two different places. First, we stopped in Kōka City, Shiga Prefecture, where we painted our own ceramic cups. We are waiting on them to finish them, but as soon as I get mine back I will happily share my lack of art skills. The area is famous for the tanuki (literally, raccoon dog) and its ceramic artwork of the animal. 

Actual tanuki at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Ceramic tanuki in Kōka City

Our lunch after ceramics. The burner on the top right isn't just for keeping your food warm. It's fairly common for food here to be delivered uncooked and you're supposed to cook it while eating

A castle, whose name is unknown to me, that looked particularly scenic along the way. I love the contrast of the modernity of Japan as seen in both the foreground, through the gas station and apartments, and the background, through the windmills, with the older beauty of the forest and castle.
After finishing lunch, we moved onto our second visit of the day at Iga-ryu Ninja Museum in Iga City, Mie Prefecture. While I could not take pictures of the demonstration, it was quite a fun spot to stop. Along with the demonstration, there were many different exhibits with interesting historical items. It's a really great way to spend an afternoon.
A collection of shuriken (throwing stars) at the museum.

The museum itself was quite picturesque
Anyway, thanks again for reading! I'll be adding more soon!

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