Thursday, June 29, 2006

Nagoya Weather Report

A beautiful day today! But getting a little bit warm. We turned on the air-conditioning in the house (other than for sleeping) for the first time last night after Mike got home. Since I recently got a new outside thermometer that gives both the temperature (in Celsius, so I've used an on-line calculator for the Fahrenheit values below) and the percent humidity, I'm going to try to start giving some occasional weather reports. Pretty cool! Or hot, actually. I didn't realize it was this warm. There are advantages to not fully grasping the metric system... :) Current weather conditions are as follows: Time: 4:30 p.m. Temperature: 31C/87F Humidity: 45% (it's low today!) Ambiance: Sunny! Beautiful! (what should I call this category??)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Health Education: Inflammatory Breast Cancer

I got an email today with a link to a video of a news report about inflammatory breast cancer (Thanks, Sam!). Since it's extremely aggressive, frequently misdiagnosed, and doesn't present itself with the symptoms we typically associate with breast cancer (there's no lump!), I thought it was worth a link. Click here for the transcript. The link for the video is on the right-hand side of the page.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Float Dancers

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Here it comes...

The float. Someone told me that just this year, women were for the first time allowed to participate in this type of festivity by being on or in procession with the float. Unfortunately, I don't remember who... Posted by Picasa

Clear the Streets...

That evening on our way back to the guesthouse, we encountered some wooden floats being pushed through the streets accompanied by much rhythmic clanging, banging, and shouting. We think it was connected to some sort of religious celebration, but aren't really sure. These guys are stationed to stop traffic when the float arrives at this corner. Posted by Picasa

Bamboo Grove

I love bamboo. I wonder if there are any varieties that can be grown in Michigan. One thing I've learned in Japan is how many different types of bamboo there are. You can see the tall bamboo in this picture clearly, but near the feet of the taller bamboo you can also see two smaller varieties - one a true green, and one with creamy variegated leaves. Posted by Picasa

Yellow Azaleas

This was the only place where I saw yellow azaleas - very pretty! I haven't been able to figure out what variety they might be yet... Posted by Picasa

Stone Lantern

Continuing on the tour of the garden beside Himeji Castle... Lantern, rock, tree, moss... and of course there is a water feature in the background. A quintessential Japanese scene, desu ne? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Wisterian Friend

Look very closely, right in the middle of this picture (you may need to click on it to enlarge it), and you will notice that you are being closely observed... eeek! Posted by Picasa

Mike under Wisteria

Mike doing some deep contemplation (or cleaning his fingernails :) under blooming wisteria. I was going to join him, until I saw what was also enjoying the wisteria... Posted by Picasa

Stream Scene

A pretty stream scene... Posted by Picasa

Meika over the Water

And here I am reflecting in a reflecting pool. Posted by Picasa

Meika and Waterfall

Here I am next to a pretty waterfall... Posted by Picasa

Entering the Garden

After we visited the castle, we moved on to the garden next door. Very pretty! Chris, Mike, and Patricia approaching the garden gate. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Time for Bed Already!

Mike's in Michigan on a last-minute business trip. Stinkpot. I wasn't able to go. Double stinkpot. I'm sleep-deprived. The two are, in fact, related. See, something strange has happened within the last year: I absolutely despise sleeping alone. Despite that I slept alone and quite enjoyed having the covers all to myself and the ability to stick my feet out both sides of the bed, thank you very much for a good twenty-eight years, I don't like sleeping alone anymore. As a result, I stay up until ridiculous hours doing ridiculous things like reading most of a 700-page cheapo novel or reading two years of someone's blog. I've gotten into this habit when Mike's gone on overnight trips, but I don't think it'd better last a week. :) Also, I want a cheeseburger.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


 Last Castle shot - here of azaleas, mini-white-irises, and an old stone castle wall. Posted by Picasa

Ancient Geometry

  Okay, probably not quite ancient - but old! These are the shoot-through holes (there's probably a technical name for these) in an interesting array of geometric shapes. Quite picturesque. Posted by Picasa

Castle Structure

 I thought this was pretty amazing. This is a model of the wooden frame of this castle. So many beams! Posted by Picasa

Me 'n' Shachi

 No, not "Cha-Chi," shachi! This is from the very top of the castle. Posted by Picasa


We're in the main tower now... This is a photo of a shachi, or mythological killer-whale-type-creature on the castle. (Those of you who have already visited may remember that Nagoya Castle has some famous gold shachi on its roof.) More than decoration, these were apparently intended to help protect the castle from fire. Posted by Picasa


Chris taking a picture of Patricia with the castle in the background. Posted by Picasa

Nice view!

The castle itself kind of went up a hill, so there's quite a view by the time you enter the main tower. What a pretty place! I'd live there. :) Posted by Picasa


Mike, already sick of me taking his picture, is making his distinctive "quit-taking-my-picture" face. He may be regretting buying me a camera for my birthday. Well, now who did he think I'd be taking pictures of??? It's not like we have kids... :) To the left of Mike and behind the tree you can see Patricia, one of the friends we traveled with, taking a picture of the castle with her phone. Posted by Picasa

Seal Collection

Here are representatives of all the family seals found in Himeji-jo. Posted by Picasa


Pretty. Posted by Picasa

Daimyo Seals

Each of the daimyos (feudal lords) who helped with the castle put their seals on these little roof-caps. At Nagoya Castle, there is only one seal, that of the Tokugawa family. Himeji-jo has quite a collection. Posted by Picasa

Big Smile!

Mikey likes the castle. :) Posted by Picasa

Himeji-jo: Tower

Another beautiful shot of Himeji-jo, this one of the main tower as you enter the gate. Posted by Picasa