6 Months in Japan

6 months ago, I left the United States and came to Japan to teach English to elementary and junior high school kids. My life is certainly different these days than it was a year ago. Many things have changed, but I think I'm still pretty much the same. It's quite a bit of fun. There's always something new at school each day. I've been incredibly busy, but I do stop to take some photos every now and then, so here are my favorite shots and favorite locations from the last 6 months.

Streets of Downtown Takayama

In my first week of school, the Junior High students recommended several places I should visit in town. And these are some back roads on the way to the downtown area of Takayama.

Enako River

The Enako River is one of a few rivers in Takayama that all flow into Miya River which travels down the mountain to Toyama.

Snowy Streets

It snowed almost every single day in Takayama until sometime in March when it started getting warmer.

Showa Hall

In Downtown Takayama, there's a museum called Showa Hall, which is a storage area decorated to look like 1950s Japan. They have a barber shop, diner, electronics store, toy store, classroom, and plenty of other things, too. Though, the Mario posters in the toy store break the illusion a little bit.

Hida no Sato Goose

Up on the side of a mountain, there's a little area called Hida no Sato, or Hida Folk Village. They've collected and recreated several original Hida style houses from hundreds of years ago, and put them in a village. This is the goose that swims around in the center pond.

The Walk to School

Before I started driving to school everyday, the walk to work would look something like this each day around 7:30am. A hazy sky with the morning sun lighting it all up. It's not as dreary as this photo makes it look, though. :)

Shinhotaka in April

About an hour and a half east of Takayama, there'a gondola ropeway that you can ride all the way up a mountain named Shinhotaka. From there, you can see just about all of the surrounding mountains of the Japanese Alps, provided it's a clear day.

Sakura in Takayama

Here are some Sakura trees blooming in downtown Takayama. The whole area looked really beautiful, but it was usually raining or I was busy, so I didn't have many opportunities to take photos. Except for one short evening when I took this one.

Sea of Japan

Here's the sunsetting on a cold clear day near the end of April over the sea of Japan. It was a wonderful day.

Bridge in Gujo

A bridge over the river that runs through Gujo.

Waterways of Gujo

Koi swim through the back alleyways of Gujo City.

Tanbo Mirror

I had driven past this field many times on a brand new morning, and saw how the building were perfectly reflected in the field. One day, I finally stopped and took a picture.

My Neighborhood

Here's a shot of my neighborhood and some of my schools on a very clear evening in May. It doesn't look nearly as dreary as that other photo described.

Kendo Tournaments

The beginning of July marked a series of tournaments all over Japan. All the cities of Japan have their tournaments, then the winners advance to regionals, then to the prefectural level, and so on until they reach the All-Japan tournament. This is from the Takayama City tournament, and this is one of my students (on the right) dodging and deflecting an oncoming attack, and readying his counter attack.

Foot Onsen in Tochio

On the way back from Shinhotaka, there's a foot onsen on the side of the road that is very relaxing. 100? for 30 minutes, and your feet will feel amazing!

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