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Sunday dawned bright and early… and I woke up at noon, haha. Called Keisuke, since we had decided to go to this… thing Sunday. I say “thing” because I’m not entirely sure what it was… apparently, there is some sort of High School Culture Contest held for all the schools throughout the country. It is held at each prefecture over 47 years… and this year it just happened to be at Gunma, so we decided to go.

Unfortunately, neither of us had done our research, so we went and caught the tail end of the last of the Taiko performances, and that was the end of the festival. Alright, no worries, I proposed to find my new school, Nishi Chuugakkou, since I hadn’t been there.

Of course we got lost. Several times. But we finally found it! Its pretty far! Its going to suck riding my bike in winter! I’m seriously considering a car now… but I’ll deal with that later. Anyway, it is out in the inaka, about a 20 minute bike ride if I can figure out the back ways. As a side note, on Monday I tried to bike there, and factoring out getting lost again… twice… I think about 25 minutes taking the main road was my best time. So goal: find the fastest way to get there, and see who I could bribe to take me to school when winter hits.


inaka

Anyway, once we did that, I pestered Keisuke to take me to his farthest high school up in the mountains. So off we went to Kanna-machi, waaaaayyy up in the mountains about an hour from Fujioka. The drive was gorgeous! I finally convinced Keis to stop and let me take pictures, so here’s one of me at a nice little lookout place:

After that, I again convinced him to stop, this time at a little turn off point almost to the school where there were a few waterfalls. We ended up spending over an hour playing in the water, exploring, collecting rocks and eggplants (Keis found a random eggplant). We’ve decided that when all the new JETs get here/back, we should go on a trip and bring food and drinks and stuff and just enjoy a day out there. The water is nice and cool and its pretty and I can’t wait to go back!


Keis heading down to find his eggplant


Some of the pretty rocks that you get out there… all colors, I took a few home!


A view towards where we came from


And a rare moment when the sun came out across the falls


I took another picture of the view from Keis’s high school:

Then, we figured we might as well drive a little farther, to Ueno (different from the Tokyo Ueno) since we weren’t quite ready to drive home. We found the newly built Ueno Sky Bridge, but couldn’t figure out how to actually get up there. That was filed under “next time,” and we drove on.


The sky bridge from below

One thing I really liked about Ueno was that they had flowers eeeeverywhere on the side of the road! We also saw a lot of cool little places that we decided to check out in more detail the next trip, like a hanging rock and the mini shrine next to it:

Finally, we drove home and went to a yakiniku place that ended up being really yummy, but really expensive, and then the bar of Keis’s friend Hiro after that, which I was frankly surprised was open on a Sunday… good food though!


Yakiniku!


Hiro’s!

And a few random pictures:


Amy and I at the local Izakaya before she left


Playing Taiko at the game center with Scott, Brandt, and Mayu. This game is FUN!


Weird Engrish for Tanya… an entire store for Freak’s!

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