Sunday, May 14, 2006

Ashikaga Fulawa Paaku

Learned something new the other night.... seems Japan and North America have different ring sizes? I figured as much when I was shopping for the ring in Canada last week, the staff at the jewelry stores kept looking at me strange when I put the words "has very small hands" with "is a size 8.5". I thankfully did not have the ring modified and took my white gold Polar Ice solitaire diamond ring home with me to be sized here. Well, the ring is a 6.5 in Canada, and it is much too big on Yoshiko's 8.5 Japanese sized hand.... I guess she's probably a 5 in Canadian size. Not sure what's up with that, but word of caution to anyone doing any international ring purchasing...

We made a bit of a snap decision yesterday when we woke up and saw clear skies. I'd heard from a student that the Ashikaga Flower Park was quite nice this time of year and so after breakfast, we hopped into the Pajero-mobile and made our way out to Ashikaga.

The drive was nice, the rice fields recently planted, the lushness of the returning forest... We parked, bought our tickets and headed on in. Ashikaga Flower Park sits basically in the shadow of the Kurita Ceramics Museum, of which you can see one of the building off on that there yonder hill.

This park's claim to fame is its flowering Wisteria, which was quite beautiful and is apparently the best in Japan.

Right at the entrance of the park is this fabulous 100 year old fuji (wisteria) tree, with it's branches supported by a trellis system. Yes, that is one tree, you see it in the middle of the flower umbrella.

There are also a few flower shops on the ground of the park, and maintenance is no doubt a constant chore. Fuji delivery services are apparently available...

It was great to walk amongst the flowers and enjoy the sunshine while in the presence of my fiancee. Yes, I have to start using that word now.... fiancee fiancee fiancee fiancee!

I think these are poppies? The contrast between the green and yellow is quite striking.

Here's a pic for those of us who enjoy the colourful Gerbera Daisy.

I've found myself to be rather bored with photography these days, but do enjoy some of the more unique shots I can find. I may start doing a little more with black and white, and more street photography.... on top of the usual shrine and temple pictures of course. Here's an example of a good one for black and white. As we rested on a bench near a pond, this young girl was looking into the water at the small fish swimming around.

In an attempt to compensate for the ickiness of the water, I tried to snap a black and white shot and here's how it turned out. Quite nice don't you think?

After walking around the park and enjoying the great variety of colours and the nice peaceful atmosphere, we headed on back to the car and started the ride home. On the way, we got a misty view of Nantai-san, which I hadn't seen from this side of the prefecture before. Nantai is the conical shaped volcano towering over the other mountains in the distance. It's the mountain which you can see up close in Nikko (10th and 17th pictures down) and which dominates the landscape to the West of Utsunomiya. I should point out that the pictures I just linked to were taken at an altitude of 1800 meteres... and Nantai towers almost another 1000 meters over that... quite the hill. You can also see some freshly planted rice in the fields, nice time of year.

And finally, what's a day in Japan without a little EngRish thrown in there. I've seen this car dealer a couple of times before, quite amusing. Car Cordinator and Hyper Discount Market being the two attacks on the English language I'd like to point out of course.

We then headed back home and lounged around a bit before enjoying some great pasta whipped up by my fiancee. (there's that word again, lol)

Jet lag is now officially over, only took about a week or so. I did ok coming back to Japan, but Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at work were a little rough. It's crazy to think that this time last week I was on a plane heading back, interesting how one settles back into one's routines after a trip like that. It was fantastic to recharge the ol' batteries, see the family and friends again. Will make the next 10 months go by quickly I'm sure.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Upon reading of your engagement I thought that I should make you aware of some things. Things that it would help to be aware of and discuss before a marriage.
see this site
and these are good questions to think and talk about

this issue was even a feature article in Metropolis magazine.

3:06 AM  
Anonymous SMee said...

So, after a YEAR in Japan, and several hundred pictures, you FINALLY took one in smee-o-vision.That's perfect! Next time someone asks me what I see, I can send them to this post, and they can compare. White is white, black is black, and the rest is all grey to me. :-)

Keep the shiny side up!

It's S'Mee

7:22 PM  
Anonymous S'Mee said...

Oh, and with regards to Anonymous'links and concerns of good intention, allow me to offer my own suggestions:
1-Bring her over and MARRY that girl! This is the traditional "Get out of Dodgeomoto" approach.
2-Have your many children here! For her sake and theirs. We've talked, you know what I'm sayin'.Dr.'s, treatment, care, citizenship(s), etc.
3-Keep in good and frequent contact with her family, wherever you are. At the same time, do the same with yours. Seems obvious, but it gets missed.
4-Remeber how you both feel now, with all your differences. If at any time the differences become difficulties, you will be able to work through them if you remember that they were always there, and still you found and chose each other.
5-Oh, and just a reminder, MARRY THE GIRL!!!

Now if only I could impartially advise myself, I'd be all set.


7:45 PM  
Blogger Michel Lafleur said...

Ah but the question is, can YOU see a difference between the two pictures? Can you tell that one is in colour and the other one is not?

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Smee said...

Well....actually ya! I can!

B&W photos do really well with regards to exposure in the "grey areas" in the middle, but tend to either under, or over expose the extreme ends. In this case, the white of the B&W is overexposed. You would probably fool me with a Sepia setting.

8:46 PM  

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