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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Here we go...

Of course, I should have started this a long time ago.

I should have started this earlier.

Of course.

Like everything, always playing catch up. But, really what's blogging, or any kind of journal keeping anyway but a game of catch up (and this first entry is a bit of a doozy, go lot's of catching up to do....)

I thought about trying to set it up before the move, but with so many things pending it just didn't seem feasible. In hindsight, probably could have done it. Lots of dead time when moving house. Scads of "in -between" bits, between this part of life and the next.

So... here we are in Japan.

The first bit of weirdness wasn't in the arrival but rather in the trip itself. Not that anything unexpected happened during the flight. There's only so many ways that can go after all, the worst of course necessarily precluding this entry from happening.

Nothing quite so dramatic as that, JAL is a fine airline and a good one to use when on a 14 hour flight. Hot towels being served in economy class rates highly in my book.

It was just weird being on a one way flight.

But now we're here, been here for a little over a month now. In this charming city, Takayama, in the high mountains of Japan. It's called "Little Kyoto", because of it's preserved historical district and scenic beauty. It's a stunner:

View of Takayama
A view of the city from a park on the hill right behind our house.

street scene

lil' flowers

lanterns at night
A few shots of the Fall festival that was going on when we first arrived.

To view more, click here.

But we've been busy since we got here, we're just starting to get away from living out of boxes. We bought a car, a brand new one thank you very much. Really need one up here, it's country living friends, no car = no transport.


happy driver
It's a Daihatsu Mira, but we call him "Champ" (he's definitely a boy car). This little guy is amazing (and I assure you, it's TINY! you could probably fit one in the backseat of a Ford Explorer), we traveled over 500 miles on 12 gallons of gas. The fuel efficiency of this thing is insane. However, yes, at times, it does feel a little like I'm driving a souped up golf cart.

But then again, lot's of other folks here are driving equally small, if not smaller vehicles. Actually, the "road ecology" here in Japan is much more varied than back in the States. You've got tiny little clown cars like ours cruising alongside behemoth tankers as well as what I used to think of as "normal" sized vehicles. Now when I see something like a Ford Taurus, I think, "my God, that's freakin' huge!" Honestly I don't see how the bigger cars negotiate these narrow tight streets. Imagine having to drive down a bowling alley lane and you'll have some idea of what I'm talking about. Oh yeah, and do it on the left side because it's like British driving rules and the tiny little street you're on is 2 way.

But, now here's a reason to love driving here:

a very polite gas pump
See the little shelf between the 2 pump handles? That's a little cup holder for your gas tank lid. So you don't have to balance it on the roof of your car. How nice is that.

And I bought a cell phone. But to call it merely a cell phone doesn't do this hand-held marvel justice.

It's the W21SA by Sanyo. I took most of these pictures with it. But, oh man, this baby does much more than that. But more on that later.

In fact, more on all this later. I'm pooped.