Woah, I've been slow! Sorry guys. Anyways, here's a post full of lots of awesome pictures.
When I came back from the States from Thanksgiving, Rylan and I went to an Italian restaurant. Somehow Japan gets Italian food right, which I don't understand, because they're really far off from Mexican. But anyways, this was November and apparently the Economic Shrink Ray had hit, because a once bountiful (ok, not really) cheese appetizer was reduced to about a third of its size. Hand shown for scale. We were sad.
In contrast to that, I was out with two other people one night, and we were very very hungry. Midway through eating, I took this picture to show all the food us three had ordered.
So that picturesque beach I went to? Here's a picture. Yay.
Then the fish market from afterwards.
When Richard and I tried to go to the onsen in Akita only to be turned away, we saw this giant Chinese dragon head at the station. Richard is trying to instigate the dragon, I presume. Or clean out its nose.
This is the town where the onsen was. I took this shot when we got off the bus that was supposed to take us to the onsen only they told us we couldn't get in and we were very sad and walking back to the station. Tiny town. Richard was in awe of the mountains. I was used to them, haha.
This was taken on Rylan's birthday/Christmas dinner party. Richard got Rylan's parents who had come to visit little animal magnets, with the head on one side and the butt on the other. There's a panda and a polar bear. I put them on as earrings.
This was the road to the onsen that we were actually able to get to in Hanamaki when Elizabeth was so kind as to drive us. The highway was ok, and we all split money for tolls, and then as soon as we got back onto local roads it was THIS* for half an hour. Then on the way back it was a blizzard. I was glad I wansn't driving. But it was good that it was cold because it makes the bath nicer.
*I really really don't understand Japanese road maintenance in the winter. They only salt steep mountain roads, and everywhere else it's black ice that you can hardly walk on. I asked my teacher about it once and she said it was ok, because when cars drive on the ice they melt it. Ok. Whatever.
Pah mixing banana cake at a party I had at my house after the onsen. We put the cake in the rice cooker and it came out really mushy.
So Kirby, Elizabeth, and I went to a sushi restaraunt for breakfast at 3 in the afternoon one day. (Winter break, whoohoo!) If they didn't have a sushi you wanted on the belt, you could order it with the touch screen. Then it came out on a little toy shinkansen around the track! Can you see it? It's above the regular sushi. Then you press the red button and it sends it back to the cooks' area. It was so cool! Kirby kept on ordering roll after roll just so it would come back around again.
This is Round One, a six (?) story tall entertainment center. Granted, there are mirrors on the back wall you can see, but the place is still pretty big. There's slots and claw machines on the first floor, a regular arcade on the second, bowling on the third, the fourth is the kids floor, and the fifth and sixth are curling, archery, etc. If you buy a beer they take down your name and make you sign a form that says you promise not to drive home.
Yay I went out and made new friends! This guy didn't want to taste alcohol, so he kept on ordering Reggae Punches because they taste like tea. He asked the waiter for 10 at once, and we were so surprised when they were actually brought out! We thought the waiter thought he was joking.
Dan and Rylan were in the naked festival in Morioka. I thought they were crazy. This one was not as crazy as some of the others sound, but very quiet and slow. They also got to wear grass skirts. But it was snowing that day, so I can't imagine how cold they must have been. Especially their feet. I watched the whole thing and then a friend I left before actually talking to them because we were cold. Haha, take that!
They were carrying offerings of food to this temple for the gods.