The Japanese Culture A class that I’m taking at Tohoku University went on a field trip to Nenoshiroishi (根白石) yesterday. Unfortunately, the somewhat poor decision was made to motivate a bunch of college students to get on a bus at 7:15 in the morning on a Sunday, so naturally a few people caught up on some sleep on the way over. After a bit of a bus ride, we arrived at Mr. Fukuda’s apple orchard in Nenoshiroishi, to the west of Sendai.

The Japanese way of growing apples is quite unique. Each apple is cared for and rotated in such a way that the sun strikes the sides of the apple evenly and produces a homogeneous red color all the way around. All through manual labor as well; Mr. Fukuda does not employ any specialized machinery on his orchard. We got to pick a few of his apples for a very good deal. Unfortunately, it was a bit early in the season so they were not yet in their prime. Even so, they were still some of the best apples I’ve tasted.

After departing the farm, we took the bus to the Nenoshiroishi Civic Center where a bunch of students from the Nenoshiroishi Junior High School performed the traditional deer dance (鹿踊 shishi odori) and sword dance (剣舞 ken bai). The two dances were traditional dances in Sendai starting in the 1600s.

After watching the traditional dances and getting a few pictures with the kids, we got on the bus yet again and headed out to Mt. Izumigatake (泉ヶ岳). We ate lunch at the lodge at the foot of the mountain.

After lunch, we visited an old Japanese farm house at the foot of the mountain. It’s still in quite good shape considering its age.

Then we hopped on the ski lift and took it to the top of the mountain. The ski slope is still quite active in the off season; there were a number of paragliders taking off from the top and flying around. There was also a good number of people practicing ski and snowboard jumps into a pool. No joke. It was pretty entertaining, but unfortunately I wasn’t in a good position to get a picture. The view from the top of the mountain was quite nice, though.

After visiting a couple of nice vantage points, we started working our way back down again. After a fair bit of bushwhacking through some rather thick foliage on the top of the mountain, we started working our way down the steep, muddy descent. Fortunately everyone managed to get down in one piece and not covered in mud. Once safely at the foot of the mountain, we boarded the bus one last time and departed for the International House. And so ends yet another long, eventful day.