Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The End.

Well, it's all over.

And it's perfect.
Thank you, Lost, for 6 years of powerful storytelling. Job well done.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wild Horses of Cape Shiriya

You know those days that sneak up on you by surprise and end up being so completely perfect and happy that you know you'll always remember them, even if you didn't do anything all that remarkable? This was one of those days.
Corey and I decided it was time to take ourselves out on another little driving adventure this weekend, so we made our way up the Shimokita peninsula (the northeastern tip of Honshu, about 3 hours-ish from Misawa). Our aim was to see the "wild" Kandachime horses that live on Cape Shiriya and to generally just enjoy the Spring weather since the weekend was remarkably rain-free (a rare occurrence up here).
The drive up and back was so much fun. Corey had a grand ol' time cruising along the curvy, coastal roads while I snapped pictures left and right. We managed to dead-end ourselves into a couple of tiny, hodge-podge little crooked villages along the way, and drove through giant windmill farms, newly green forests, and rocky shorelines. Total beauty.
The horses were sort of neat to see. I don't really think they qualify as "wild" though. Supposedly they're left over from the days when they used to be bred for the emperor. They're fenced off in a large open preserve on the coast, and apparently local farmers feed them hay in the winter. (Kandachime literally means "to stand in the cold." These horses handle the harsh frozen winters well and are, I hear, quite majestic to see standing stoicly in the snow during the winter.) Plus they're pretty darned acclimated to people- crowds walk into the fields where they roam to pet, photograph, and otherwise pester them. Definitely the tamest "wild" animals I've ever seen.
Even though it was a bit cold by the ocean, we spent a good long time aimlessly walking around the beach exploring and enjoying ourselves. We were two happy day-trippers when we arrived back to Misawa in the evening, and even happier after we topped ourselves off with some sushi and ice cream.
I have a few more pics from the day posted HERE if you'd like to see them.
Awesome day!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

More Cherry Blossoms

Maybe this is cherry blossom overkill, but I'm not sure such a thing exists. They'll be gone in no time, so I'm getting my pictures while the gettin's good.

Now that the sun rises at like 4:30am, it's hard to sleep in. By 5:30am I was parking my car at the swan park to take some pics in the cool morning light. I figured I'd have the park to myself at that early hour, but not only were there half a dozen cars in the parking lot, there were parents and kids hitting balls in the baseball field and a fancy-pants photographer staking out his tripod-ed vantage point at the lake. Really? Guess I'm not the only one getting up with the sun. Oh well.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Festival Food

Mmmm, treats! As far as festival food goes, Japan has many interesting typical choices. Most are fried, and most are served on sticks. Corey's favorite is always tentacle on a stick:

Other options include fresh pineapple quarters, corn on the cob, or fried plums and strawberries:

And of course the sweets... Hirosaki is famous for apples, and we had delicious "apple ice" while there this weekend:

It's not exactly healthy food obviously (and I haven't pictures the dripping-with-oil yakisoba we chose in lieu of the corn), but it's a step up from fried Snickers bars and funnel cakes, right? It's nice to enjoy festival food without going into a diabetic coma afterwards.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival

We picked a great day to go to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Hirosaki (about a 2 hour drive from Misawa to the east). The blooms weren't quite fully blossomed, but the weather couldn't possibly have been any more beautiful. Bright blue skies and sunshine were unstoppable forces- Spring at its finest.

We left our house around 6am thinking we'd get there nice and early before all the crowds showed up. But this is Japan during Golden Week (when basically the entire population is on vacation and traveling)- who were we kidding. It was already a stifling madhouse by 8am. Oh well.

We walked around, took pictures, ate treats (a lot of them), enjoyed the scenery, and had had our fill by 11am. Short and sweet, and out of there before it got truly insane with picnicking crowds.

If you'd like to see some more pictures, I have them posted HERE.
I love Spring in Japan!