I’m still alive

Hey guys! Just a quick post to let you know that even though it’s been a while since my last post, I am still walking on this earth (somehow I have managed to avoid falling off a cliff and/or being arrested so far).

As I mentioned before, I ruined my camera when I went to Koya-san, and being as disorganized as I was, I couldn’t get it fixed in time for my next field trip to Mie Prefecture (see below).

Therefore, I bought invested in a brand new camera. Introducing, my new love:

A Panasonic Lumix GF1, red. After extensive research, I had decided on a compact DSLR since they’re a bit more established in the market than when I bought my previous camera. With it’s detachable lens capability, I can carry a DSLR quality camera with me in a small package. You can read the specs and the cnet review here.

The pictures I have already taken with this camera are absolutely beautiful. Finally, I can get this blog back on track to a couple of posts a week, so stay tuned as I go back on schedule with completing The List!

Meanwhile, I took a two day trip to Mie and got up to a lot of mischief.

This is the view from the bottom of the Gaizoshou Ropeway – a cable car ride that goes a couple thousand meters up and is known for it’s changing beauty during each of the four seasons. I caught it at a good time in fall when the leaves were an array of colours. I would love to go back when it is winter and hills are covered in snow.


Meoto Iwa are two rocks that represent Izanagi and Izanami, said to be the creators of the Japanese kami (gods). They are  joined by a straw rope that weighs over a tonne. Despite this, the rope is ritually changed several times a year.


Unomori Jinja is a relatively small and unknown shrine that was near the hotel that I stayed at. I visited it early in the morning, which gave it a tranquil atmosphere – a refreshing change to all the very touristy shrines I’ve been to lately.


I ate this feast at Moku-Moku farm, where you got to look at the cute animals before being lead to the adjourning restaurant to eat them. The guilt was a little bit much for me, so I ate very little meat and just stuck to the vegetables and sweet potato. (This table was laid out for 8-10 people by the way, my stomach hasn’t grown that big….yet).


These are the disks/spools used to make braids at the Iga Kumihimo Center. Kumihimo is a traditional art that involves many levels of skill. I managed to make quite a pretty bracelet after a lot of trial and error and constant bugging of the kumihimo lady who had to keep undoing the last five minutes of my work to take out kinks in my braid. It was a great experience, and at only ¥1000 I highly recommend it.

Okage Yokocho is an old Japanese style shopping street that mainly sells food. It looks and smells great to walk along it! It’s a little overpriced, but the food is great and I bought most of my omiyage from here because the foods tended to represent Mie’s specialities.


And finally, this is the river by the Ise Grand Shrine (of which I was not allowed to take pictures of). Also known as Ise Jingu, this shrine is one of the holiest Shinto Shrines in Japan. Apparently, the highest priest or priestess must be from the Imperial family. There wasn’t too much to see, since most of the buildings were blocked off from the public, but I could definitely feel the majesty of it in the atmosphere, especially when I looked up to see the Japanese flag waving at fall mast between the autumn painted trees.