Monday, July 16, 2007

Earthquakes, Weddings and Monkeys

Wow, so much has happened since I was able to post last. Of course the biggest event was on Saturday when Kirk and Hitomi were married. Their wedding was beautiful. Hitomi wore a traditional kimono. The ceremony started with a Buddist chant--very moving. After the wedding, the reception and an after party. This is the first time that I've been at a wedding where the guests were served steak and lobster. Definitely a treat. The Japenese also believe in serving more food than anyone can possibly eat. There was yet more food at the after party.

Yesterday, Beth wanted to leave Kirk and Hitomi alone (go figure), so we wandered downtown. The temple here is celebrating an anniversary, so their was a parade, Geisha girls, and dragon dancing. At the temple gate, one Geisha turned just as I took a picture. Wow, was that a smile?

Today is our last day here. We enjoyed a very full day today starting with a traditional Japanese garden. We had just entered, when the whole room shook--a 5 point earthquake. This is one of the most beautiful gardens I've seen. Ah, to post pictures... From there, we went to an art gallery featuring one of the most famous artists in Japan and then visited some monkey baths. The monkey baths are set in the hills above Nagano. You drive up a long winding road only big enough for 1/2 a car (no wonder their vehicles are so small!) The hills are interesting. Some of the forest seems more like it has been planted than just grown as the trees are so uniform in spacing.

Right now, Beth, Hitomi and her friend Sarah from Denmark are enjoying a traditional Japanese bath. I wasn't too interested (public nakedness and all), so came to use the computer instead. It will be good to get home. This has been an interesting trip, but travelling with someone else has unique challenges and I'm ready for a rest. Oh right, I have to go back to work right after I get home. Oh well, maybe next week!