Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Japan Culinary Adventure (31): Chestnuts

Hali Buying Chestnuts (Hakone) - Japan  2016

Chestnut Vendor - Japan  2016

Just as hobbits love mushrooms, Hali loves chestnuts, so that she was in luck during our Fall trip to Japan: chestnut season!

Top photo: Hali buying chestnuts from a street vendor (doing his own roasting) in Hakone.

Bottom photo: chestnut vendor in the Odawara train station. Don't think that that's a religious symbol at the upper right.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mount Fuji

Lake Ashinoko (Hakone) - Japan  2016

Painters (Hakone) - Japan  2016

Walking around Hakone (pronounced hah koh nay): alas, Mount Fuji remained hidden when we visited the Mount Fuji viewpoint (see top photo).

But that didn't stop the artists painting the scene from putting Mount Fuji right in where it belongs (see bottom photo).

I was able to get a photo during our 2014 trip, though.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday Dachsund Blogging

Dachsund (Hakone) - Japan  2016

Dachsund Being Photographed (Hakone) - Japan  2016

Little dog seen at a Lake Ashinoko overlook. Dogs like attention!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hakone Ryokan

Yoshimatsu Pond (Hakone) - Japan  2016

Stone Lantern (Hakone) - Japan  2016

Yoshimatsu. We arrived here by taxi in the rain, which meant everything was especially vibrant and pleasing.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Maui Sightems

Kihei Sunset (Maui) - Hawaii  2016

Man Sitting, Chickens (Maui) - Hawaii  2016

Both photos were taken with a Canon G5X, the top one from the back seat of our rental minivan. 1/800th second, ISO 4000.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Maui Upscale

Mai Tai, Four Seasons (Maui) - Hawaii  2016

Salesperson, Lionesse (Maui) - Hawaii  2016

Mike's mai tai at the Four Seasons on top. Lionesse salesperson seen at "The Shops at Wailea" at the bottom.

The mai tai was OK, but Mike preferred his Kona Ale at the Mauna Lani.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Sugar Mill

Sugar Mill, Bicyclist (Maui) - Hawaii  2016

Sugar Mill, Red Trucks (Maui) - Hawaii 2016

Now closed, alas.

Photos taken with a Canon G5X from the minivan's back seat, Masa driving.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Maui Beach

Canoe (Maui) - Hawaii  2016

Yoga Class (Maui) - Hawaii 2016

We tried to get there in the morning: less crowds and less direct sun.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Haleakala Sightems

Silversword (Maui) - Hawaii  2016

Picnic Tables (Maui) - Hawaii  2016

We were driving our rented minivan, which did better than the Versa on Mauna Kea. It was a long drive!

Leleiwei Outlook (Maui) - Hawaii  2016

Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday Chukar Blogging

Chukar (Maui) - Hawaii  2016

Odd little bird . . . an introduced species. There were quite a few of them scuttling around the lava rocks near the Haleakala parking lot.

"According to Pakistani legend, the chukar is deeply in love with the moon, and stares at it longingly."

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Haleakala Views

Haleakala View #1 - Maui  2016

Haleakala View #2 - Maui  2016

Dramatic views.

So, these photos taken while we were on a family vacation last November in Maui. Hali and I drove up to the viewing area, not at sunrise, but still pretty early in the morning. No problem with parking, but I guess that now there's going to be reservations required if you truly want the sunrise experience.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sonoma County Sightems

Pumpkins - Sonoma County  2017

Mailboxes - Sonoma County  2017

Taken while we were on a Diners' Club excursion for a Sonoma County bruch. Can't quite remember the name of the place, though.

Although the sign says "Pumpkins" those weren't pumpkins. Dan was able to look them up on his phone. Can't quite remember what he found out, though.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Nakatsugawa - Morning Rain

Umbrella, Train Station (Nakatsugawa) - Japan  2016

Train Station Sign (Nakatsugawa) - Japan  2016

When we got up in the morning it was raining pretty hard, although Mike did manage to make it over to Family Mart for morning coffee. Then, breakfast and the taxi over to the train station to begin another long, somewhat tiring journey to our next destination, Hakone.

Photos taken using an Olympus 25mm lens, which I've fitted with a collapsible rubber lens hood. Although fairly cheap it does a nice job of keeping rain drops off the glass.

Family Mart, Rain (Nakatsugawa) - Japan  2016

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Nakatsugawa - Evening Clouds

Cemetery (Nakatsugawa) - Japan  2016

Evening Building (Nakatsugawa) - Japan  2016

That evening Hali and I took a stroll around our hotel. As I said, it was located on the outskirts of town, so there were cultivated fields and a cemetery within walking distance. As it got dark, clouds began to roll in and bats began to flit about, appropriately enough, given the increasingly gloomy aspect.

We ended up at the local Family Mart, buying little snacky things for dinner.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Japan Culinary Adventure (30): Curry Lunch in Nakatsugawa

Hali, Royal Nan House Restaurant (Nakatsugawa) - Japan  2016

Ekimae Dori, Mountains (Nakatsugawa) - Japan  2016

From my journal: "Back to Nakatsugawa for an Indian curry lunch. We sit in a private room at one end of a table meant for a multi-person banquet. Ohhh-kay. But wait, it turns out that the lunch is quite tasty!"

At the other, far end of the table, a middle-aged Japanese lady sat quietly finishing her lunch.

The interesting thing is that I didn't write down the name of the place. But judicious use of Google Street View shows it to be the Royal Nan House restaurant.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Magome Sightems - 2

Autumn Foliage, Mt. Ena (Magome) - Japan  2016

Tree Trunk, Wall (Magome) - Japan  2016

We hiked up for some distance, then looped back down on the side of a road. We couldn't help but notice that, yes, it was starting to get crowded.

Persimmons (Magome) - Japan  2016

Monday, March 6, 2017

Monday Joro Spider Blogging

Joro Spider (Magome) - Japan  2016

We saw these little beauties all over Japan, except in Tokyo. I almost blundered into this one in Magome.

These spiders are renowned for their large size, their vividly beautiful colors, the large and strong webs they weave, and for the cruel destruction they wreak on young men. (Yokai.)

Luckily, I'm not young.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Magome Sightems - 1

Rooftops, Mountains (Magome) - Japan  2016

Storefront (Magome) - Japan  2016

Many photo ops. The reconstruction designers did a good job, but there remains a slight hint of artificiality about the project.

Brooms (Magome) - Japan  2016

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Magome Hike

Country Houses (Magome) - Japan  2016

Hali and Dan (Magome) - Japan  2016

Magome hike: this was why we wanted to stay in nearby Nakatsugawa. I was mightily concerned about the fact that we were going on a Sunday. Magome is a popular tourist destination so I was envisioning Kinkakuji-type crowds there. But not to worry! We made a point of catching the first bus in the morning; the one we were on only had a few people in it. Some of the shops hadn't even opened yet.

The bus dropped us off in a parking area, where there was a pleasant view of some really nice-looking country houses. The route led upwards through reconstructed old-style shops and ryokans. Hali was glad she'd brought her hiking poles!

Hali and Mike (Magome) - Japan  2016

Friday, March 3, 2017


City View (Nakatsugawa) - Japan  2016

Cemetery (Nakatsugawa) - Japan  2016

We wanted to stay in Nakatsugawa 'cause we could then go early Sunday morning to Magome for a highly recommended hike.

Once again, we were staying at a place that was definitely not our first choice: the Hotel Route-Inn. Really a business hotel. Mattresses were incredibly hard, but breakfast was good. Also some interesting views out of our upper-floor windows. These views were from Dan's room, which unaccountably had the best ones.

That night's dinner was at one of the only places within walking distance: KFC. Don't think that I'm going to include that experience in the "Japan Culinary Adventure" series, though.

KFC Interior (Nakatsugawa) - Japan  2016

Thursday, March 2, 2017


Castle, Crane (Matsumoto) - Japan  2008

Swan, Hali & Mike Shadows (Matsumoto) - Japan  2008

We arrived in Matsumoto, trundled our suitcases over to the train station, had a bite to eat, then boarded the train that would take us to our next stop, Nakatsugawa.

So, no real time for photos. But as Hali and I looked around we were able to recognize some familiar landmarks from our 2008 trip. Just for fun, I've posted two Matsumoto photos from that visit.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Bus Ride to Matsumoto

Building (Takayama) - Japan  2016

Hot Springs - Japan  2016

The bus was Dan's idea. Instead of returning to Nagoya, then travelling from there to Nakatsugawa, we could cut directly over the mountains by bus to Matsumoto and catch a train there. No retracing of steps! New scenery! So, the bus: we passed through the outskirts of Takayama, then up into the mountains (one rest stop). At one point we passed by some hot springs where the bus driver obligingly slowed down for hot springs viewing.

And the tunnels! Very long, and, mostly, very narrow. The drivers must be used to it.

Tunnel - Japan  2016