Monday, December 04, 2006

December... wow

Quite amazing this whole "passage of time" thing. Just like that, it's December. Winter is settling in around us here in Utsunomiya, the mountains are capped with snow on a daily basis now and the heaters are running pretty much full on in apartments everywhere. Less than 3 weeks away from our getaway to Cambodia and Vietnam, 2 months and a bit until the end of my contract, 4 months and a bit until my return to Canada. Wow.

We've just about completed the Canadian Immigration forms, just need to get a few things translated and notarized and we're pretty much good to go! Next on the list is my resume... ugh.

This weekend was nice and mellow. We intended to go to Modern for dinner on Saturday night, but it was full. As a consolation prize, the staff there gave us this little guy, who is apparently filled with some kind of milk liqueur. Interesting choice for a container if you ask me, complete with a cartoon sperm on the label.

So we hit up Tsukunetei instead for a yaki-tori dinner, quite yummy. Then we settled down and watched The Exorcism of Emily Rose on DVD. While not terribly terrifying, it did give me the willies throughout, especially during "Emily's" fits when her body locks in unnatural positions and her eyes seem devoid of life... freaky. The format of the movie is interesting, told in flashbacks as the priest which performed the exorcism is on trial for her death.

We had a lazy morning on Sunday, not even bothering with breakfast and preferring to lounge around until lunch time. We hooked up with Matt and went to Fudan Cafe for lunch before heading for a walk on a rather brisk and windy but otherwise gorgeous Sunday afternoon.

We headed into Hachiman yama park where the leaves were still doing their changing. Koyo is just about over, but there's still a bit of time to enjoy it.

Gorgeous clear weather these days, here is the view from the suspended bridge in the park. The city isn't all that lovely, but you could see clear out to Tsukuba-san in Ibaraki from here.

We also walked by the site of last April's Hanami (Cherry blossom viewing) party, with the trees bare now, waiting for spring to come back to life. I am quite pleased that I'll be able to see another Cherry Blossom season, it certainly is one of the best parts of living in Japan.

One of my favourite things out here in fall is the ginko trees losing their odd shaped yellow leaves. I don't recall seeing any of these trees in Ottawa... though I may just not have noticed.

After exiting Hachiman yama, we headed to I guess what has become one of my favourite temples in Utsunomiya, partly due to it's location, partly due to it's plum and cherry blossoms and partly due to the funky collection of statues hidden behind the main temple building. Not sure the name of this big boy...

Here is one of the statues leading to the funky group.

As we were walking around and Mattoto was taking pictures, I snapped this shot of a nice reflection in a pond.

As anyone who's spent some time in Japan knows, the crows here are quite numerous. Seems we spooked a flock of them which were in the trees behind the temple with our talking.

This is one of the statues which are behind the temple. Some of them are quite old, weather beaten and moss covered, while others are newer and depict some modern activities. There's the ever popular salary-man taking a nap on his suit jacket, the guy on the phone, the one eating ramen and another one is drinking a nice cold beer. Quite interesting.

I've been doing more and more of these macro shots which I find pretty cool.

So all in all a lovely afternoon. However, walking around here in the fall also means you'll run into the victims of the crazy tree hackers. City workers go around town lopping off branches on the trees until nothing is left but a lifeless stump.

This ol' ginko got it pretty bad last year it looks like, so they gave him a reprieve this year. Sad really. Except for the token "showcase" roads like the road to Nikko and the one which links City Hall and the Prefectural office, this city really has no greenery. Even some parts of Tokyo I found have more green space than Utsunomiya.

After we headed back home, we popped in Munich, which turned out to be quite good. It's about the Israeli response to the PLO attack against their athletes at the Munich Olympics, which I guess was the coming of age of the Mossad. This mention of terrorist attacks reminds me of a new development in the war in Afganistan. The Canadian forces deployed in the region have deployed a new tool to combat the remains of the Taliban. A squadron of Leopard tanks from the Edmonton-based Lord Strathcona's Horse armoured regiment has been deployed to kick a little bit of ass. The Taliban have done a pretty good job of taking out soldiers standing around handing out food to civilians and candy to children, lets seen how they do against Canadian main battle tanks. This is the first combat deployment of tanks for the Canadian military since the Korean war back in the 50s.

Anywho... today we headed back to Round 1 Stadium, our friendly neighbourhood Amusement Center where we had a good time playing tennis, badminton, pool and baseball as well as the odd arcade game. We had the place pretty much to ourselves, which was nice. Lunch\dinner at Subway before I headed on home. A good weekend.


Blogger Anskov said...

just stopped by to look at that reflection pic again - nice piece of photografeeeeee, sir.

9:25 AM  
Blogger MAJikMARCer said...

It's cool to see another perspective of Japan from another Canadian. I used to visit this blog ( quite frequently. His photos of Japan were very interesting also.

9:05 AM  

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