Yakage, or.. in English..”The town Lauren Lives in”. 

Lauren’s adorable little town will be a home base for three days. We love her town, and we love our inn — although we keep Doing Japan Wrong. 

When we’re not annoying locals with improper slipper protocol —    we’re causing them great amusement with our pathetic japanese/hand signal combos and general bumbling Americanesque–  although neither of us have stooped to the depths of Paul on his prior trip where he shampooed his hair with toothpaste at the local bath, much to the glee/horror of the gentleman who informed him. 

Here are some photos from around Yakage.   

   

This sign says “to Lauren’s House” (probably). 

  
  
  

   

The train station

  
  

   

  

   

      
 Most of the rooves (yes, rooves) look like this:
  
 The bar in our hotel “lobby”

 
What the heck!  Happy logo on this building – who wouldn’t want to work here!     

  

Bike rooves!  (Yes, rooves).  

 

This is the breakfast room at our Inn, where we have butchered many a custom:

        

   
 

these are photos of the area around Yakage
   
    
    
    
  

Kyoto to Yakage

Day 2:  checked out of Granvia,  the main purpose of our visit (Lauren!) arrived,  and we made our way down to her town, Yakage, together–  via progressively smaller trains!

I made up for my 622 photos yesterday, by taking about 7 today. 

Sunnier today, at least to start with:

  
Lauren (our oldest) took the day off work, and trained up to watch us pack up the room.

  

  

Blunch:

   
 
Related to fire putting out:

  
 
Headed to giant electronics store to get my camera looked at/lens cleaned. 

  
This kept blinking at me, and saying what I can only assume were incredibly rude insults.  

  
I also bought my happiest phone case ever!!  I can’t photograph it, because it’s on my phone now, but it’s a lovely silver silhouette of an Alice and wonderland illustration. 

We picked up snacks for the upcoming train travel – but did not purchase what is clearly a Spaghetti Hot Dog, but Lauren  haughtily called a ‘noodle sandwich’:

  
Back to Kyoto station to catch a bullet train to Kobe (train 1).  It was about an hour ride, but I forgot to take any photos.  You’re just going to have to trust me this actually happened. 

Humorous side note:  I recently had to (finally) update my phone iOS to the new version. Apparently, among other new features, it parses ones’ photos and creates a few types of “smart albums”– including one called ‘Selfies’.  (ugh!  A least favorite word- up there with veggies!)

It was on above mentioned bullet train I found said auto-curated album on my phone:

  
 Ha! 

We transferred from the bullet train to a non-bullet train headed to Okiyama.  Again, no photos.  It was super rush hour!  Standing room only, but met a lovely older woman who wanted to practice her conversational English.  She described her visit to America, including the Wonders of Graceland, and Yosemite.  She traveled across the US on (!) Greyhound and some Amtrack.  I can’t imagine the sense of contrast between her transportation experience there and ours here!   The Memphis (or any) Greyhound station alone must make for a fascinating page in her trip album.  

In Okiyama, we transferred to Lauren’s ‘local train’ – one car long.  

  
Pretty countryside!  

 
Dormant rice fields

  
Starting to snow as dusk descends:

   

  

    After Lauren broke the train with her 500 Yen coin in the ‘no 500 Yen Coin’ slot, we disembarked in her town – Yakage!

   
 
Apparently it rarely snows here, and not yet this year – so Lauren was happy!   Being from MA, Paul and I were also super giddy and enthusiastic! (ha)  But it is pretty!

We commenced our wheeling suitcase parade for a ten minute walk through swirling snow and tiny streets to our AWESOME Inn – which I’ll post/take way too many photos of tomorrow.  

Yakage-ya InnOur room is this one:

  
 
After settling in, and familiarizing ourselves with the wide range of footwear (wood slippers, slippers slippers, bathroom slippers), we headed back into the snow to walk to dinner at an amazing Pancake-type food restaurant , which if this were an educational type blog, I would put the actual name of.  

   
   
It was crazy delicious.  Cabbage and batter and pork and mochi all cooked down to a pancake/pie thing, with amazing sauce.  

Tomorrow: while Lauren’s at work, Paul and I will explore Lauren’s little town and go to another nearby town!

 

 

Kyoto day 1

 Here for two nights!

View from room:

imageimage

 Man, it’s tough doing all this from an iPhone.  Annoying keyboard!

Still super tired from Eternal Day of Travel After No Sleep followed by Night of Tiny Sleep In New Place.   Quickly uploaded a sampling of photos from bed  *from the 622* photos I took on my iPhone, jeez —  dropping my iPhone on my face (iPhace) only once.   Writing this now middle of the (my) night during my handy insomnibreak!

So, day 1:  we walked around!  We were together through late lunch.  

Headed down Street With Japanese Name…    Cloudy/Rainy!   Me: “atmospheric!”    Paul “dreary..  but still pretty”.

Walked to nearby Shrine With Name I Forget (sorry, this will not be an educational blog!). 
   
    
   

   

   

  

  
   


   
 This dragon is … guarding?     Providing?  Coming out of?  Supervising? The water for cleansing ones’ hands.   The water has a sign … In English only!… “Not drinking water”.      Stupid Americans!

Here’s Paul looking at me with great adoration.  

img_4740-1 

  

  

Shrine shop (shrop)
  

  
   
    
Walking now to an arboretum/park thing.

  Lots of photos of Interesting colors/lines/building materials. 
  

   
   

Park Thingy/arboretum:

This is a wall:


Even in winter, everything was so gorgeous
  

A little bridge




  

This fish is trying to get me
  
Now he’s sad
  


More neighborhood 

  

  
  

I think these stamps are the Japanese equivalent of “name license plates” in the US. 
  

Creature-like!



Pachinko parlor!