Amparo Bertram (spacealien_vamp) wrote,
Amparo Bertram

Historic day

Yesterday I went with two other ALTs to have an "English Salon." Essentially, the three of us would sit around and chat in English for an hour with whomever decided to come to the event.

The English Salon was held in a place called the Suwa Yashiki, which is an estate built about two hundred years or so ago and preserved as a historic site. It has the traditional thatched roof design, which is reportedly very expensive to maintain, particularly because experts with the training to repair a thatched roof are few and far between.

We were inside the guesthouse of the estate, which was very elegant, with intricate woodwork and walls plastered an interesting shade of reddish-brown (to bring good luck and keep evil away). The owner of the estate gave a talk about the purpose of each room. There was one small room near the entrance that was built specifically so that those who accompanied the guests (i.e. bodyguards) could wait there and have a clear view both of the entrance and the room where the guests were being entertained.

There was a garden on the east side called a "dry garden" in which rocks and moss were arranged to give the impression of waterfalls and other geological formations without the use of any actual water. The pictures shown here are from the garden on the east side, which had water drawn in from a nearby river. The river used to have enough water to make an impressive fountain and carp pond, but the water level has apparently since decreased to a trickle.

After the event, on our way home, I snapped a couple of shots of some Japanese vending machines.

Tags: culture, sightseeing
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