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Gishi no Mokusou

Alex Forencich's contemplations on Life, Engineering, and Japan

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Category: Sendai

As I said in my previous post, I would wait for the next bout of snow and then get up early and take some pictures. Well, that’s what I did yesterday. There was another snow storm night before last that left a very nice powdering of snow on everything, so I grabbed my camera and went for a nice long walk.

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Yesterday I went on another field trip with the Japanese Culture A class. We left from the International House at 7:30 in the morning and drove to Shiroishi (白石, literally “white rock”). The plan for the day was to first visit a small community Noh theater and tea house in Shiroishi and then go on to see a traditional Samurai house followed by Shiroishi Castle (白石城 shiroishi-jou).

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After the new year, it’s traditional to eat fresh mochi (餅), a type of rice cake that is pounded into a very sticky paste. It is made in a process called 餅搗き (mochitsuki), literally “mochi-pounding.” There was a mochitsuki at lunch today, so I bought some mochi with Richard and Lyra. The stuff is incredibly sticky; it took all three of us (using only chopsticks and no fingers) to tear it apart.

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Sendai holds an annual festival called the Pageant of Starlight or 光のページェント hikari no pejento. This year 550,000 LED lights were used to illuminate the trees down Jozenji dori (定禅寺通り). The lights are lit every night from December 12 through December 31st.

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We decided to attempt a Christmas dinner in the American style. However, seeing as we’re in Japan, it didn’t go quite as planned. The original idea was a nice large roast ham. We could do the ham. We could do the roast. The large part, though, evaded us. The largest hams we could find were only about fist sized. Mashed potatoes, easy peasy. But gravy? Fail. We ended up eating curry (with meat so it wasn’t that bad), baked potatoes (well, we had already bought them before realizing gravy doesn’t exist in Japan), two itty-bitty roast hams (cooked in a microwave for ovens are also scarce), and some canned pineapple and peach (hey, we’re college students–it’s less work!). Unfortunately, due to a scheduling miscommunication, I did not end up with any pictures of our miserable failure before it was eaten.

After eating, we put on a couple of movies–The History of the World, Part 1 and Rush Hour 3–and played several rounds of Jenga with an exceedingly annoying plastic Jenga set. I did manage to at least partially document the succession of failures and triumphs, so it wasn’t a total loss. After that we played a couple of rounds of twister with slightly confused rules and then went outside for a snowball fight. All in all it was an…interesting…evening.

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仙台からメリークリスマス!(sendai kara merii kurisumasu Merry Christmas from Sendai)

It snowed all night Christmas Eve, so we had a pleasantly white (albeit somewhat cold) christmas here in Sendai. Also, it’s time to give the new 7D a workout! 7Dの初雪だな (sebun dii no hatsu yuki da na it’s the 7D’s first snow, isn’t it)

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It rained today. Very hard. So much so, in fact, that one needed a boat in order to get to the cafeteria.

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I bought a new Canon EOS 7D camera and an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens from Yodobashi Camera (ヨドバシカメラ) today. I actually would have bought them yesterday had Schwab’s fraud protection been more forgiving.

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Snow is here! Unforunately, it did not stick around all day long and melted quite quickly in the morning. It actually snowed for a while yesterday, but the ground did not get cold enough for the snow to stick until after nightfall. The end result was a beautiful yet beastly cold morning.

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On the way to campus this morning, I decided to take a small detour and explore the Hirose river. The Hirose river runs around downtown Sendai and circles around Tohoku University’s Kawauchi Campus. The name of the river in Japanese is 広瀬川 hirose gawa. All of the pictures are HDR.

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