Friday, June 01, 2007

Day 14 - We see unique architecture and Rob gets his words mixed up

This is my last post while we're still in Japan. Hopefully, I'll get the other ones up in the next few days. I put up four posts one after the other, so scroll down if you've missed any. But the Japan posts won't end with the end of our trip - I've bought lots of stuff and I'll be posting my purchases and store recommendations throughout the month of June. Enjoy!

The weather in Japan can be unpredictable, so Kanchan recommended that we go to the sights we really wanted to see first while the forecast was good. We all wanted to go to Shirakawago, a town famous for its gasshozukuri architecture, or peak roofed houses. It was a two hour drive, and beautiful the entire time.

There was a concrete bridge leading from the tourist center to the main part of the town, which was along a picturesque river.

Like our headgear? Kanchan said the sun was so bright up in the mountains that we’d need protection. She gave us some towels she had in the trunk of her car.

Shirakawago is an unique place because people still live in the houses. Even though there are many tourists and lots of souvenirs to buy, it’s interesting to see laundry hanging outside the houses or people tending their gardens. You have to ask the owner’s permission to enter a house, so we contented ourselves with looking from the outside.

Rob has been trying his hardest to conquer a few Japanese words, but today he mangled them up so much it provided much humor for my family. The main word Rob was having trouble with was “kirei” or pretty. He came up to me at one point and said to me sweetly, “Kirai”. Well, kirai means hate! You bet I told everyone about that for days.

As we took these photos of the three girls, Rob said “kyodai” which means siblings.

My aunt told me I should be insulted until Rob explained he meant to say “pretty”. Argh!

The entire town was one picture postcard photo after another.

Rob became the expert at setting the timer for group photos.

We drove up a mountain to an amazing view of the town. As we looked at the view, Rob sighed, “Karai”. Rob, that means spicy!

We headed back into town for lunch, where I tried to decipher the menu for Huay.

Once again, we had a delicious meal that featured sansai, or mountain vegetables. Huay and I ate our meal slowly to savour all of the new flavors.

Afterwards, we walked, literally next door, to an onsen with a rotemburo, or outdoor bath. It was very new, clean, and empty. We had a wonderful time soaking and seeing the view. Afterwards, Huay and I tried the massage chairs, which really just made Huay tickle.

We drove home relaxed and drowsy. We got home to Kanchan and Kouichisan’s loveable dog, Riki. She was always so excited to see us!

Mama had requested tempura, which Kanchan said she couldn’t make very good, so we walked into the heart of Takayama for another amazing meal.

The first dish they brought out? Bees! We all tried it, but Rob was the one who really liked it.

The meal featured Takayama specialties, such as sansai tempura, Hida beef with miso (which Huay and I talked about for days), and a freshwater eel bowl for Rob.

Rob was able to take a photo of all of us outside the restaurant using his patented “set the timer and run” technique.

Such a lovely day filled with laughter (albeit at mostly Rob’s expense) and family bonding. All of us enjoyed seeing Shirakawago and the beauty of the Japan Alps.

Next – we get a wonderful tour of Takayama from a proud native, Kouichisan.


yumi said...

What great pictures of the family and sights!!! Have a safe trip home and can't wait to see all the pictures and things you got. I hope Rob & Huay had a fun time in Japan.

yumi said...

Forgot to mention. I like bees. I tried it in Takayama but they were sweet with soy sauce & sugar. All the food looks so good. And Happy Birthday, Rob!!!

Pig wot flies said...

Bees, really? wow!
I'm loving seeing all your photos. it looks like a fantastic trip.