I'm living in Kusatsu-shi, Shiga-ken for an undetermined amount of time and teaching English as a second language at a local high school. This journal is to document my experiences, thoughts, and to stay connected with others at home and abroad.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Some natural Rorschach photos

So previously I posted some photos from the trip we took to the mountains. But here I want to follow-up on that, saving the best for last of course, with some of the eyesights that captivated me the most. So we are going to make a game out of it for everyone watching at home. If you have the time and interest, I would like to know what your titles would be for these photos––what do they "represent." However, I hate to deflate your subjective bubbles, but this is nature and not art, and therefore, I will post the "correct answers" at the bottom of this posting. If you have any qualms with the true answers, the only answers that matter because this is my blog and I am the mighty Blogger, please feel free to send them in. I am quite interested in hearing how you are wrong. Bring it on, I encourage arguments, but I reserve the right to moderate and censor you comments as I see fit (look at how American and democratic I have become! Remember, now that we "liberals" have the floor we can take back the power!!!!!)

Here they are in order:
1) A short-step toward hope
2) elect -- Damn you Frued, I can't stop thinking about Democrats!
3) 竜の頭: Head of a Dragon. Also acceptable is Katie's answer: A two-horned triceratops.
4) Last breath of the sun.

Again, please let me know if you have editorial delusions. I honestly hope people see through all of my charactered bullshit and write some of their own opinions.
Thanks, Peace,
Salem 聖礼夢 

Friday, November 10, 2006

Chubu Mountain Range National Park (中部山岳国立公園)and Kamikouchi (上高地)

Hello and happy November! Wherever you are I hope you are able to experience the gradual drift through fall and into winter. Japanese people take watching the seasons change very seriously. In the spring when cherry trees blossom (a phenomenon called sakura=桜)people make it a hobby of visiting peak cherry groves, usually along the banks of rivers, and watching the blossoms falls. There is a strong significance in such ephemeral beauty, for a cherry tree only blossoms for a very short period, about a week or two, once each year. Contrasted with the evergreen cedar, a cherry flower's mortality represents the human life within the larger realm of Nature's continuing...seemingly infinite...existence.
This may seem a bit of topic to be hearing with Spring still half a year away, but Autumn has a counterpart to this sakura phenomenon: the Kouyou (紅葉). Kouyou is the reddening of Momiji leaves (紅葉)as they begin to fall to the ground. This event is equally important in its representation of natural impermencance within the presence of a larger repeating cycle––the seasons.

Anyway, so enough of the thick metaphors, here are some pictures of Chubu Mountain Range National Park where we went this past weekend::::::::::

The trip was really amazing. Katie and I took several long walk/short hikes every morning and evening together, which gave us the opportunity to connect and talk in ways that are unfortunately difficult to maintain during normal "everyday life". It felt so good to sleep well at night and wake up in time for the sunrise every morning. It's pretty easy to do when the sun sets at before 5:30 and and are tired. Plus the place we stayed in was a Japanese style hostel (Ryokan=旅館)which had separate male/female rooms, so the rooms were full of hikers staying in the valley overnight before continuing on the next day.

I only wish it had been snowing. I can't wait from some real heavy blizzards to come pouring in.