Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Heaven and Jigoku
For the record, right now I feel like I'm in a really weird time warp - well, maybe ripple. I worked here till late on Friday and stayed up too late watching a movie with some other ALTs. Early Saturday morning the apt peeps had a clean up day around the apt (apparently we don't have a groundskeeper - though there isn't much "gound" to keep!), and then I helped some of the ALTs move to a new apt. That night the weather was bad so I stayed in, and worked all day Sunday (the students had exams and then there was a big parent meeting). Yeah, another Sunday and holiday when it was business as usual. I had Monday off, and went for a hike since the weather was so nice. Hit south Nag and picked up some necessary bike stuff from Taniguchi san, and then hopped on a ferry and headed over to Ioujima (not IWoJima) where there's a really nice onsen. Now I'm back work again, and I think it's Tuesday. Not sure why I should be confused, but I guess I just can't get used to having to work on weekends and holidays. The Japanese around me don't seem to be affected. How do they do that?
Anyway, the above is a photo from across the lake looking back at the little town of Unzen. Too be honest, it looks much better from a distance; sadly, most of the lakeside buildings and residences are quite vacant and/or dilapidated - mottainai, yo. If you had real estate like that - on a lake, in the mountains- in the US - I daresay it would be stunning and lively. I don't understand why the Japanese don't take advantage of some of their beautiful resources. The natural areas around Unzen are amazing, though. The other photo is of a "jigoku" - "hell" - the birthplace of the hotsprings and where the onsens get their hot water. Very surreal walking around. I'll be honest, though - it kind of reminded me of Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disney World!
OK - back to work now...