The Local

I couldn’t tear myself out from under the kotatsu last night when 12 o’clock eventually rolled around, so we swung by the shrine this afternoon so Chieko could pay her respects to the new year. I mostly just took a bunch of pictures.

There was nobody manning the shrine, as is normal pretty much all the time except for New Year’s eve, but the sliding doors weren’t locked. I’ve always wanted to take pictures of this shrine, especially on a cold, snowy New Year’s eve when it particularly picturesque with soft light emanating from the front door and filling the inside along with candle light. Oh well — maybe next year.

The shrine sits atop a small hill, and the stairway leading up to it is always an icy, treacherous mess this time of year — great for carrying small children. The old dude in this picture was filling up a water bottle from the spring at the bottom of the shrine, which is usually reserved for cleansing one’s hands before entering the sacred ground.

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There’s quite a bit of clutter inside the shrine, all of which has some relevance to the town and it’s people. The most eye catching thing are the threads of paper cranes hanging from the ceiling.

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I will catch hell for posting this picture of Chieko but I told her I was going to do it, and I think it is a lovely picture of her and Ray.

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Finally getting some pictures of the shrine was the highlight of the day for. I don’t generally take much interest in religious buildings/sites in Japan or anywhere else, but this particular shrine holds some intrigue with me for some reason.

We also went to visit a friend of Chieko’s, and also her aunt and uncle. That was all after I slept until 11 this morning and spent a sold 3 hours sipping coffee and perusing the internet while the snow continued to pile up outside.

I’m heading for Tokyo bright and early tomorrow morning, which means I will have to wake up before 8 for the first time in days. I’m very much looking forward catching up with some old, good friends there. Back to Niigata on Monday and we’ll drive back to Kanazawa the next day, giving us a good week at home to chill out before reality intrudes back upon our currently blissful lives.

Before I go, on a completely unrelated note, I bought a great iPhone application today called Baby Monitor. As you can surmise, it monitors your baby. You leave the phone in the room and if the baby makes any noise, it calls whatever phone number you choose to alert you that the baby is awake. I bought it because this house is huge and our bedroom is up on the second floor, far far away from where everyone hangs out in the living room. There’s no way to hear Ray crying if he wakes up after we put him to bed, as he did last night. So even if you have a baby monitor in your house or apartment, this thing is great to take on the road with you. Admittedly it’s useful lifespan is limited unless we keep popping out babies and forgetting our monitor when we go places, but tonight I am thankful that we have this nifty app.

OK, not sure when the next blog post is coming, so until then stay well whoever you are.

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12 thoughts on “The Local

  1. the cranes are super cool. I’ve used the free Skype app as a baby monitor a couple times. As long as you’re on wi-fi of course. Just call your phone from a PC and leave the volume up and boom, there ya go.

  2. What a fabulous phone option. Is almost worth having another baby so I can have an excuse to buy a new phone šŸ™‚ Love the pics of the Shrine and the paper cranes – something I have been threading a lot of over the last month. Our local Shrine is very similar – in the on a small hill with loads of slippery stairs. That photo with the man on the bicycle could have been taken from 100 meters from our house down here in Oita. Large snowfall the last two days but beautiful blue skies today.
    Happy New Year and best wishes for 2011.

    1. thanks for commenting gaijinwife…i actually thought of you and your mom when i saw the cranes, and nearly linked to your explanation of them when i wrote this post…happy new year to you and your family as well

  3. Love the pics of inside the shrine, almost looks like something you’d see in a movie or something. Happy New Year to all of you!

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