The picture below is a panoramic view from a roadside in Japan. It was taken as my transportation specialist was on another of his school sponsored trips with Aoyama Gakuin University. This time it was up into the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture for cherry picking and other local amusements. Between both campuses of Aoyama Gakuin, there were enough students and support staff to fill two chartered buses. As you can see my transportation specialist is learning how to use some of the fancier settings on his camera. Now he just needs a selfie stick.
Some of my more faithful fans might be wondering why I’m not in this picture. Quite simply, this is because I was not along for this trip. However, this answer only raises more questions, as normally I get rather put out, if not irate when I do not get to join in on my transportation specialist’s excursions. After all, what good is a transportation specialist who doesn’t do any transporting?
There is a very simple explanation for all of this. As they say locally, 見いてください。
In order to get a shower so they would let him board the train to catch the bus that would take him up into the mountains of Japan, my transportation specialist had to get up at 0400. The “0” stands for O my it’s early! Since Hippos need up to 16 hours a day of sleep, you can guess how enthusiastic I was about the prospect of getting up that early. So I slept in and had a leisurely breakfast of green tea chocolate bars and おにぎり(or rice ball) once a decent hour to awaken had passed. Like a little after noon.
The first leg of my transportation specialist’s trip visited Saiko Iyashi-no-sato Nenba, a traditional village preserved as a tourist attraction. The village contains many buildings that are representative in appearance to traditional Japanese village construction, including very thick thatch roofs.
The mill in the picture still functions, diverting water from the stream to grind rice and other materials for the tourists. During the school visit to Nenba, the students were able to participate in a Japanese craft called Kami-ya Sakate Sanbo, which is a form of paper craft that involves gluing scrap paper onto a card stock backing to create a picture or scene. There were also samurai armor and kimonos that could be rented to enhance the experience. There were also demonstrations of stilts and other pastimes commonly enjoyed in traditional villages. Many of the cottages had been converted into display stands for wares ranging from bookmarks made from mizuhiki and other paper craft to pottery ranging from small tea bowls to full tea sets.
Next time I’ll go into the explorations of Lake Kawaguchiko and lunchtime on the lake.
Until then, Hippo, Hippo.