Sunday, July 02, 2006

Ohira-san... the return

I had an interesting encounter last night that I thought I'd relate. After a lovely dinner at Arpege, a local "French" restaurant, we happened upon a large new supermarket near Yamaya and decided to drop in to pick up some things Yoshiko needed. After paying and making our way out and into the parking lot, I was surprised to hear a very politely uttered "Excuse Me" from behind and turned to find the cashier flagging us down. It seems he'd forgotten to give us one of our items which he'd misplaced when scanning it. He was an older fellow, without much of a grasp of English, but he chose to say "Excuse me" instead of "Sumimasen" which I found quite nice of him. This reminds me of a time Scott and I stopped by Nagasakiya to pick some stuff up and couldn't quite figure out what the cashier was asking us until she said "Do you need a spoon" and surprised us both. One doesn't expect to hear English too often and it's a welcome sound when it does occasionally filter through.

Just about one year ago, I visited Tochigi City with Stacy, Yukiyo, Yoshi and Yukiyo... a visit which included climbing the 1000 steps of Ohira-san. Headed back out there for a second look today, though this time right in the middle of the hydrangea blooming. Much lovelier climbing the steps when surrounded by flowers!

Our timing was pretty much perfect, with most bushes in full bloom.

These is my favourite variety of agisai, though I took a much nicer picture of one HERE. Looking back on that post made me realize yet again how much Scott is missed. His email invites for a walk which usually turned into a multi-hour gab-fest and tour of the city is sorely lacking in this summer's agenda.

Here's a different take on one of my favourite picture thus far in Japan. If you go to the post I first linked to in the second paragraph, you'll recognize this torii gate... without the hydrangea of course.

These bushes are a haven for all sorts of critters, with many spider webs woven amongst the branches.

My eagle-eyed fiancee was good enough to spot this feller (Japanese grasshopper???) after I'd glanced at the flowers and moved on.

Since Ohira-san is a "famous" place to see agisai, there was quite a lineup of cars waiting to get into the parking. We waited about 10 minutes, not so bad.

All in all a lovely short trip out of town, it was noticeably cooler on the mountain surrounded by the lush green forest. We then came back into the city and I added another membership card to my collection. Thinking we should rent a DVD, we headed out to Tsutaya. After picking up "The Butterfly Effect" and "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain" Yoshiko went to the counter to apply for a membership card and unfortunately mentioned that the address on her driver's license was still her parent's address, and not hers. This immediately invalidated it as a form of ID and I instead gave up my gaikokujin card and signed up. I can now rent movies! Woohoo!

I am about halfway through "The Rape of Nanking" by Iris Chang. I had originally thought to post some kind of comment on it once I finished it but I am unsure whether I'll be able to or not. The scale of the atrocities committed have left me dumbfounded, in the most part by the people who deny any of this actually happened to this day. I'd definitely recommend it as a sobering read for anyone who wants insights into some of the problems Japan is facing with its Asian neighbours these days. How can one expect people to move on when there is still denial of any wrongdoings?

No plans for tomorrow, probably just going to clean up a bit, do my groceries and chill out. May head out to Chuo Park, will see if I'm up for it or not.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

あじさい or あぎさい ?

12:44 AM  
Blogger Michel Lafleur said...

The one on the left, it's the soft ji sound, not a gi sound.

1:27 AM  

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