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This past weekend was a fun once, but we didn’t have much of a plan. On Saturday, Shauna, Keis and I headed over to the local park for some hiking and exploration. We tried to go to the petting zoo, but it had closed at 4pm so that was a no go. Instead, we headed off to a high spot with Keis complaining the entire way (”but it’s so high! do you really wanna go there?” “…you should’ve seen what we climbed last week, keis, stop being a wimp!”)

I pass the park everyday on my way to school (or did, until I changed my route), so it was nice to finally be able to go see some of it. It has a few odd sculpture things here and there that I don’t quite know what to make of…

The weird statue thing. Is it a bit of twisted metal? A whale’s tail? An art student’s project gone horribly wrong? One day I will be able to read the answer to this mystery!

The map of the park, very little of which we’ve actually seen…

So we start walking up the (very slight) hill towards what we figure is the right direction, but we were stopped several times on our way up and had to regroup and find another way with alarming regularity. Why, you ask?

Because of these…

And these…

But most often because of these, whose webs were built eeeverywhere and were BIG to boot!

Shauna and I figured out how to do close-ups on both our cameras, hence the abundance of cool bug pictures. Expect more.

Anyway, so yeah, those things were seriously everywhere. Most of the time, they were smart and built their webs up high, but sometimes it was right at face level and with no way to go around. So we found a few alternate routes. The picture with the two spiders in it, they were the coolest type because from what we could tell it was a male and female pair, but sometimes the male would be shriveled because the female ate him. Shauna and I thought that they were our kinda spiders; Keis was not so amused!

Some random pictures of some of the sights:

A clock tower-thingy

Pretty paths

The sign starts with “Fuji no Saku Oka”, or “Wisteria-blooming Hill” or maybe “The Hill Where Wisteria Bloom” if you want to be poetic.

Keis on the path, bringing up the rear as usual!

Fujioka is famous for these Onigawara, or “demon” roof tiles, so the imagery is everywhere (and I have one!)

Fujioka from the hill

I’m on top of the world… er… Gunma!

And another random bug, this one a cool-looking caterpillar.

That evening, Shauna and I hung out with Kenji, who despite his obvious exhaustion from dealing with wedding stuff for Scott and Naomi, still had enough energy to goof around with us.

I think this picture might need an explanation…

So, in Japan, money is typically given at weddings instead of thoughtfully-picked but often utterly useless gizmos and gadgetry (especially when you receive 3 of them). While some might think that seems cold, I think it is utterly practical. Only thing is, the rules you have to follow (even numbers = bad because you can split it evenly) are kinda difficult when you have no idea about the social conventions, etc. Anyway, one of the other things is that you cannot give creased/folded/crinkled bills, because that’s what you do at funerals. So we ironed Kenji’s money.


Onto Sunday! Scott’s nijikai (second/after party) was around 7:30, so we took the 6:26pm train to Takasaki. I spent ALLL DAAAYYYY Sunday until then cleaning. I was sore from cleaning. Anyway, a bunch of pics from the nijikai:

Shauna and Keis

The Happy Couple!

Kenji and Keis

Taiko Ken

Wedding Bingo!

Fun times.