Things have been a tad slow at my outpost. It seems like we haven't had a shred of nice weather for more than a week now. At least it has been rainy the past two days instead of just being cloudy. I will always take rainy days over cloudy days. Rain is refreshing and peaceful in many ways. It feels like a friend has come to visit and is tapping ever so softly on my door wanting to talk. This was the perfect opportunity to study for several hours. The time blurs by when I'm at home. It is actually hard for me to find myself too bored. Between studying Japanese and learning guitar. I have heaps to do.
It's quite rewarding to make progress with the guitar. Over a month ago I felt pretty dismal and frustrated with my progress. I'm over it. I can tell I'm improving and figuring things out as I do along. I have some small goals I'm working towards and I'll probably have a couple songs I can play. Playing is completely figurative with guitar because I have a hard time doing anything other than down strums while singing. It is interesting how hard it is to get your mind to convince your mouth to say words and change chords at the same time. Well I'll get there eventually.
On Saturday I went out to Yasui Valley or maybe it is ravine. I didn't bother to look up the pronunciation for the last part of the kanji. It does have the kanji for valley in it but there is an extra which probably means it has a different translation than just valley. Anyway, as I said it was cloudy and overcast. I kind of don't like going out in such weather because I know I'm not going to capture as many good pictures. Especially if you shoot towards the sky. Trees get hazy and the whole scene looks blown out. The valley is actually a pretty neat place. I like the valleys that are filled with large boulders and rocks. There are some rather big ones too. The valley has a few waterfalls off some side trails. The best part will probably be in a few weeks when it gets colder. The valley walls will be filled with fall foliage and colors. I'm sure it gets busier around that time as Japanese people are enamored with leaf viewing season. Maybe it won't be so bad here because its rural but in Kyoto there were hordes of people shuffling around trying to get great pictures with their camera phones, at night.
I hiked up a random path without much discretion. I'll be back so I figured it didn't matter much where I went. I almost didn't even get out and hike but 300 meters is not far enough to really be lazy. It was a short hike up to the falls but I was detoured by what I thought was a path to a waterfall. I should have known better. Whenever hiking in such a place that is visited often, Japanese people make sure the path is well marked and delineated. Usually this is to the point of absurdity. So upon reaching the end of my detour I realized I should have been smarter than to think what looked like a path was not a path. It hasn't rained much lately so the falls were a bit dry. After a heavy rain they would be very beautiful. That isn't to say it was disappointing though. I will definitely be back to check it out. But that is a very tricky game to play because when it rains one place I don't have the slightest clue if another area got rain.
I was actually more interested in a smaller fall that was along the way up to the main falls. That is the picture that is posted below. It felt more memorable than the two others. It has a nice pool at the bottom that drains out through a lower crack in the rock. Because of this it looks like a little bath tub. I wouldn't mind trying to climb up the little valley to get there and swim next summer. Just something to consider but there are plenty of waterfalls to go swimming in.
The rest of the pictures, which aren't many, are still being processed. I will let you know when those are up. There are a handful that are worthwhile. There actually was this odd man made water garden feature that was interesting. I'm sure if it was full and running would be nice. You can see a picture of that soon.
As for other things. My job is my job. I had a good day at an elementary school and then I came back to the middle school. Unfortunately, maybe good, for me all the English classes were in the morning while I was gone so I spent the rest of the day studying Japanese and minding my own business. I really don't mind having several hours to do whatever. I probably should have planned for Thursday lessons at the other middle school but I'll work on that tomorrow. Of course that is what I always say and then I'm still finishing things up the morning before I leave. At least I'm not like the English teacher at my main middle school who shows up on a Monday morning when we always have a school meeting with the students, that can last till class starts. I'm pretty sure she was trying to get ready for her first class with 3 minutes to spare. I'm glad I had to go to the elementary school and wasn't around to watch the kids painfully do more worksheets. But what can you really do when you have 16 cats to take care of every day? Nothing, just like all the hair that gets on your clothes.