Tag Archives: 12on12

12 on the 12th, 9 Days Old

So I’ve done some reasearch (hah!) on 12 on the 12th and apparently, I’m doing it wrong. Luckily, I’m far enough removed, internet-wise, that I think I’ll stick with the way I’ve been doing it.

Anyways, that makes this November’s 12 on the 12th, 12 pictures that I took during that Wednesday.

First up was a return to the cat cafe, this time with my dad in tow.

This was one of the first going-ons that we saw coming in the door. They have these stairs blocked off, but this chick was determined to make her way up there, even if it meant climbing around the outside of the banister. She had a few other escape artist tendencies – the next customers to come in the door found themselves being charged by about seven pounds of cat flesh, only to be saved by a quick-acting cafe employee.

The adult cats were being rather snobbish that afternoon, deigning only to snuggle with people who had forked over yen for the cafe-approved cat treats. The black and white cat in this picture, if you look close enough, has something interesting going on – he seemed to have extremely shortened leg joints. I tried to look up the condition on line, but was hampered by the fact that I hadn’t even heard of cats with dwarf-like characteristics. Also, Wikipedia couldn’t help me when I typed in ‘Corgi cat.’

The kittens, on the other hand, stuck in their cage, were almost needy. The black and white one here would almost throw itself at the bars when someone came close enough. The tabby, I believe, is a hold over from the litter that was there the last time I visited.

Darn cute and probably a good deal cheaper than their fellows at the pet store.

Our next stop was Sakae, to get myself a new electronic dictionary and to see Nagoya Tower, pictured here.

The story of my electronic dictionary is a long and somewhat expensive one. I purchased a red and black Nintendo DS at the beginning of the summer, along with the “game” Kanji Sono Mama, which allowed you to search for kanji (Chinese Characters) by writing them on the screen with a stylus. I happened to be trying out a different game one day and the dictionary cartridge was batted off of my desk by one of the cats. I searched for it all summer, but gave up late in August and bought a replacement. That cartridge was, of course, found under the couch by by my mom last week. Go figure.

Then, more than a month ago, I got home one Monday evening to discover that my DS was no longer in my backpack. After backtracking and leaving notice with what felt like every lost-and-found agency in the city for weeks, but finally gave up because translation homework was starting to loom. I went out to get a new one…only to discover that due to the impending holiday season and the release of the Nintendo DSi, every electronics store in Nagoya was out of that game system.

Unless I wanted I pink one, of course. *sigh*

I’ll admit, the color is starting to grow on me.

After that purchase and lunch at McDonalds, we bought tickets to head up to the Sky Balcony, about 100 meters off the ground. This is the shadow of Nagoya Tower projected onto one of the nearby buildings.

This is the Oasis 21 building. I’m actually not sure which part of it is the actual “building,” mostly because when friends say to “meet at Oasis 21” they mean where the subway system empties onto that open area you can see under the raised piece of glass.

This is pretty neat – a Shinto shrine on top of one of the skyscrapers. Also neat – this picture was taken at maximum zoom on my camera and I then went into settings and magnified again by 3.2. Another reason for why they’ll be prying this camera out of my cold dead fingers.

Proof that my dad was in Japan. Unfortunately, most of my other pictures of him came out looking photoshopped.

I almost fell over taking this, an “up-the-kilt” shot, to quote David Weber, of the tower from the balcony. Even the picture makes me a little queasy. Luckily, the balcony was sufficiently fenced in that we felt comfortable getting close to the edge.

Finally, to close things up – the remains of dinner at the same conveyor-belt sushi place as before. I didn’t manage to get Daddy to eat anything raw, but he put away a fair amount of cooked shrimp and salmon.


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October’s Twelve on the Twelfth

Because even though it’s noon on the thirteenth here, it’s the twelfth…somewhere.

The day started in Takayama, where we had parked ourselves last night after traveling through parts north of Nagoya. I forgot to take a picture of breakfast, so this first picture is of Joanna and Lisa standing in front of our enormous yellow tour bus. This was taken about a minute before we moved off to the side and almost got flattened by a second bus pulling into its spot.

This is the garden at the first place we stopped that morning, the former Takayama city hall. It was a fairly traditional Japanese style building built in the 1600s and used up until 1969 and came complete with gardens, living quarters, and, of course…

Instruments of torture. This is in fact a basket that they used to transport ‘suspects,’ which, according to our tour guide, seemed to indicate ‘criminals who have not yet confessed.’

From there, we checked out the farmer’s market that was going on outside and sampled bits of apple. Amy actually bought one, but it was so huge she had trouble getting her teeth into it.

Afterwards, we headed over to a shopping arcade that offered a lot of local products and food. These kids are doing what I would have been if I were about ten years younger – checking out the water running through all these little canals in front of the houses and shops and down to the water.

Dude cooking up some enormous rice crackers in the same area.

We had lunch at a noodle place and I noticed these red shoes in the pile as we were leaving. They’re One Piece shoes and I would love to know where I could find a pair in my size.

After lunch, we decided to head to a park that the map indicated was close to where we had to meet the bus. Unfortunately, the map neglected to mention the giant hill the park was perched on. We got about halfway up before giving up, though the view was excellent.

That afternoon, we headed out to a craft center that was situated in a little ‘village’ of old houses that had been moved to the area to preserve them. In most of the houses, somone was demonstrating a traditional craft that you could usually try your hand at.

IES had already arranged for us to paint designs onto plates (that will be delivered to us later) so must of us finished up quickly and took off to explore the area.

I decided to see if I could find a convenience store for snacks and started wandering down the hill. In one of those ‘I’ll just go one block further…or maybe around this corner…?’ situations, I found myself a bit lost.

Okay, really lost.

No, just kidding, this is a park commemorating the relationship between the city of Denver and Takayama-shi. I called our tour director and he has the bus pick me up at the bottom of the hill.

That was the end of our tour and we drove home to Nagoya that evening. I took this as we were driving out of Takayama.

Finally, a bonus picture from Saturday, because I totally would have used it if it had been taken on the right day. This is an example of the canals I mentioned earlier and why I would have been out with popsicle sticks and wood glue every weekend if I lived around here as a kid.


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12 on the…er, 17th?

The idea behind twelve on the twelfth is to take 12 pictures on the twelfth of the month. Unfortunately, this month, the twelfth fell on Friday. So besides the fact that it can be hard for me to get a hold of a computer after 5PM, I definitely wasn’t going to be able to upload pictures over the weekend.

Also, the kid broke my camera and there was a mild amount of panic before the host family loaned me their old one. I loaded my card into it and was off.

First, a tribute to the dead camera. If you look closely, you can see that the outermost lens piece is dented in such a way that the camera won’t turn off. It’s appreantly irreparable in Japan, but a replacement is forthcoming.

Breakfast! About half the time, breakfast is Western style – some form of bread (toast or raisin roll), egg (fried or boiled), a little bit of lettuce and some ham. Otherwise it’s rice, miso soup, and some veggies. I always drink mugi-cha or barley tea in the morning, since the only milk they have is whole milk and I’d rather not puke on the way to school.

*sigh* I really wonder what the camera thouht I was focusing on. In most parts of Japan, people can park their bikes almost anywhere around the subway station, for free. Most of the time, they don’t even lock them up. However, near my station, you have to hook your bike up to this little doo-dad and pay a 100 yen to get it back at the end of the day. The cause of much griping on my host father’s part.

Side note – it feels really strange to refer to my host-parents as “parents.” There’s no physically possible way for them to have a daughter my age. At all.

After a twenty-minute bike ride (parking space finding time included), a fifteen minute subway ride and a ten minute walk, I arrive at Nanzan University.

Typically, everyone gathers around the building that holds the Center for Japanese Studies office until it opens at 9AM. There’s usually stuff about moved or cancelled classes, corrected quizzes, and ‘you lost something, please come pick it up’ notifications in our student boxes, so it’s a good place to start the day.

You’ll just have to imagine me sitting in Japanese class for the next three hours, as I didn’t think they’d take kindly to pictures being taken.

Instead, have a picture of one of the classroom buildings. Most of us had forgotten that Nanzan was a Christian unversity (though, a rather lax one) until we saw this.

Japanese class ends around lunchtime everyday and most of us tromp down the hill to eat at one of the school cafeterias. The food is okay and it’s cheaper than a hot meal might cost elsewhere.

Lunch for me is usually tonkotsu ramen at the cheapest cafteria…

…and something to drink from the vending machine. While you can find almost anything to drink in one of these things, including beer and hot tea, Japan is sadly lacking in the food vending department. I’ve yet to see anything besides ice cream offered.

Lunch is usually followed by more classes or, on this particular day, a trip to the computer lab with Joanna to check our e-mail and Facebook. Technically, we shouldn’t be doing this, but many of us don’t have access at home and bend the rules a little.

The way home can be…daunting. This is a hill I climb in the morning and skid down in the afternoon on the way to the subway station from school.

Finally, I leave you with an image that represents a lot of my time here – waiting for the darn train to show up.

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