A few weeks back Jen, Calley, and I went up to Nikko. Nikko is a gorgeous area up in the hills that has a famous set of temples, and there is also lovely hiking and onsens in the area. We just went up for a day trip, and walked around the temple complex and looked at the leaves. We were worried that we were going to be rained out, since us (and the thousands of other people on the train heading up there) were watching it shower on and off all morning. It was a little chilly so we got started with a hot bowl of ramen with the local specialty, “Yuba” which is a kind of really thin tofu rolled up. Then we headed up to the temples. There are a whole bunch of temples, most of which are super ornate, and some famous details, like carved monkeys on the side of an old stable. As much as the temples were impressive, the leaves were more so. We had a fun day wandering around the temples, and I took lots of pictures. I like some of the simpler temples better I think, although the tall cedars standing over the temples and lanterns were also gorgeous.
Overall it was a lovely day, although honestly I think if it hadn’t have been for the gorgeous fall leaves, it wouldn’t have been nearly as beautiful. Kamakura is nicer for mountain temples for my money.
Anyway, more contemporarily, Jen is back in DC this week, and I have a terrible head cold. So the beginning of this week is lost in a fog, but the latter half of the week is looking pretty good. I completely failed to find a ramen restaurant when I was craving hot noodle soup for my head cold, so my coworkers took me out to ramen lunch, which was awesome. And in other awesome coworker news, one of the ladies in my bigger office has offered me her old cello for while I’m in Japan. I found an english-speaking teacher a while back, so I’m all set to learn cello!
I’ve been making some changes in the early alert I write every day — basically I’ve created a list of most of the newspapers anywhere in Asia, with some descriptive information about them. Currently when I summarize an article from one of these publications I don’t provide any context aside from the country it comes from — I think it adds a lot of value to know the bias and distribution of a paper in addition to what they’re saying. Also trying to get a lot of feedback from our readership, so I’m enjoying finding ways to improve my product.
This weekend I’m headed to a Chieftains concert, and then a holiday party. And then Jen will be home! The kittens will be very relieved — they don’t like sitting on me very much. 😉