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Amparo Bertram

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07:25 pm: Filling time with this and that
First, I'll start off with one thing I forgot to post last time. After we left Himeji castle, we came upon a store selling soft serve ice cream in many flavors. I bought a rose-flavored one, and it was pretty good. I can't imagine the miso-flavored one... >_<

Since I was unable to find Harry Potter available anywhere, I wound up ordering it from Amazon. Even they estimate they can't ship one until August 4th at the earliest.

On Thursday we hung out in Moriyama. We had lunch at the Olive Kitchen, the best restaurant in town for vegetarians. Then I took my parents on a tour of my school. We just happened to be there at the same time as the delegation from the Michigan sister city, so I was called upon to give a quick little introduction and speech.

Friday we mainly stayed in my apartment, cooking and playing on the computers. My dad began cleaning every nook and cranny he could find, scrubbing my stove, toaster, walls...you name it, he went at it with rags and bleach. The place is the cleanest it has ever been. (Well, except for the hobby room, which is still off limits.)

Saturday we took a trip to Shigaraki, which is a town in my prefecture famous for its pottery. First we had to take a JR train to Kusatsu, where I noted this sign announcing that JR has finally begun stocking its restrooms with toilet paper. (No soap yet, but one can always hope...)

In Kusatsu, we transferred to the Shigaraki Line. The interior of the train was decorated with ninja, for which a nearby town is famous. (Unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit Ninja Village. Perhaps I'll go there some other day.) The exterior was painted with tanuki, also called "racoon dog," which is practically the symbol of Shigaraki. It is a common sight for many shops and buildings in Japan to have a pottery tanuki statue next to the front door, and Shigaraki is where those statues are made. In fact, the first thing you see when you step out of Shigaraki Station is a giant tanuki statue. In addition to the tanuki, the shops in Shigaraki offer dishware as well as many other kinds of items of all different sizes.

While we strolled down the main street in Shigaraki, I happened upon this sign at a barber shop. When you take your baby there for its first haircut, the shop will make the baby's hair into a commemorative calligraphy brush. That seemed like an unusual and interesting service.

It just so happened that there was going to be a fire festival in Shigaraki that day at a small temple. We decided not to stick around for it, though, choosing instead to return to Moriyama for its summer festival.

Today we took it easy again, playing Warcraft and doing other things around the house.

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[User Picture]
From:devimustang0929
Date:August 5th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)
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The ice cream looks absolutely delicious.

Maybe other countries don't place the same emphasis we do on hygiene and sanitation? *shrugs* The place I just got back from routinely didn't have soap to wash hands, particularly within eating establishments. Who knows....

I've never heard the Tanuki referred to as a "raccoon dog." I noticed that megory also called it that. Maybe just as a matter of personal preference I just see them as human-like raccoons. Of course, the first time I ever heard the term was in a popular Nintendo game....
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:August 8th, 2007 01:27 am (UTC)
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Maybe other countries don't place the same emphasis we do on hygiene and sanitation?

The thing is, in all other respects the Japanese are obsessed with being clean. They just don't put soap in bathrooms. It's very bizarre.

I've never heard the Tanuki referred to as a "raccoon dog."

It's a common term. What you have to keep in mind is that the statues only look humanoid because of artistic license. The real animals that the statues are based on don't look humanoid at all.

Here is a page that explains all about them and has a picture of what they look like.
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