Once again, 久しぶり. In the time since my last post I have gotten the flu, booked a trip to Okinawa, and become a marathon finisher! That's right, after running for 4 hours and 38 minutes I can now pat myself on the back and cross off one of my goals for 2017. I had a great support crew of friends waiting to greet me at the finish line and I can honestly say that the experience was not that bad. That's right. It was not as bad as I thought it would be and I would definitely consider doing another one. Maybe not in the next few months, but I think next year I will run this same course again. The marathon course was beautiful and it was a real community event to see everyone come out and cheer. I saw many people stopping along the route to take photos and snap pics-- a nice excuse for a break from running. For now, I'm looking forward to non-running related activities (hello, cycling) but one day in the future I may revisit this feat of craziness again. Maybe.
For now, I will share some photos from my trip to Nagasaki a few weeks (...months) ago. This included the opening weekend of the Nagasaki Lantern Festival and a trip up Mount Inasa!
The Nagasaki Lantern Festival takes place over two weeks to celebrate the Lunar New Year and the entire city is decked out with paper lanterns that are illuminated at night. There are more than 15,000 lanterns throughout the city and parades and processions during the two week period. It is quite the sight to see and takes weeks to set up. This year is the Year of the Rooster. In Japanese, you would say 'Torii' which is bird or chicken. So when I asked my students about what year it was they all shouted 'Year of the Chicken!' I like that better I think. In researching, I have discovered that it is more specifically the year of the 'Fire Rooster' ooOOOooOOo. Those born as a rooster, and especially a fire rooster, are exceptionally punctual and good at managing money... so it's safe to say I am NOT a rooster. Famous Roosters include Britney Spears, Elton John, and Amelia Earhart. As a monkey in the year of a Rooster apparently this will be a good year for me in my career and financially. Score!
While in Nagasaki, I also took a trip up Mount Inasa (Inasayama). This has been on my Nagasaki hit-list since arriving last year and it has lived up to the mounting expectations. The observatory has been named one of the top three night views in Japan. Actually, at the World Night View Summit in 2012 (because that's apparently a thing), Mt. Inasa was named as one of the top night views in the world. I wonder who gets invited to a World Night View Summit. Esteemed world night view experts? Is there a world day view summit? I don't have too many other night views to compare it to, but I would definitely put this into the top three that I've seen. There's a panoramic restaurant and Cedric and I enjoyed a glass of wine and one of the worst cheese plates I've ever had while watching the sun set over Nagasaki. Good night view, bad cheese plate. Can't have it all.
I like that after several trips to Nagasaki and a comfortable familiarity, I can still visit new places like Inasayama and be amazed all over again.
As alluded to at the top of the post, this weekend I am going to Okinawa with a couple of my friends here for the start of spring break! I am supremely looking forward to warm weather and more beaches, because Goto doesn't have enough of those. また ね!