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  • Writer's pictureNigel

☃️ Nagano 長野県

Updated: Apr 12


2024 年 4 月 12 日



Hi! from Nagano......Is my remit to report on a sunny, cherry blossom-drenched paradise on the other side of the world?. Well........errr...........


Photo 友子さん


Hang on a minute...... I thought it was spring. Ha! not in the mountains! Ever arrived at a hotel in the dark, and then getting a surprise the next morning when you actually see where you are?

今はいつですか? 春だと思いました。 長野の山のには春がありません。



It's a bus sightseeing tour, which means you let somebody else do all the organizing.....

バス観光ツアーなら、自分で何も手配する必要はありません……



Not my usual style, but it has its advantages.....like a super hotel breakfast in an out-of-season ski resort (except that it could have been a bit further out-of-the-ski season, if you see what I mean...😄)

スキー場のホテルに宿泊するなどの特典あり


Photo 友子さん


And you get to see loads of places in quite a short period of time....blossoms in Ueda town....上田



....which has a strange castle with drawing plans....and old family flags......城の中で



with a view of the mountains over the moat.......



Despite the noticeable lack of cherry blossoms en route our guide did her best to encourage us.....(the season is very late this year....climate change?...)

桜には早すぎた



Takada......高田...this community centre reminded me of the bath house in the film "Spirited Away" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirited_Away



I spied a bank of bamboo....ささ 笹



....and some plum blossom - the often forgotten forerunner to the cherry....

梅の花



Now as for pigeons, I never knew that that they had this colour blending technique.....on the castle roof in Matsumoto.....

同じ色



A castle full of ominous lead shot and ancient guns....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firearms_of_Japan



not a pane of glass anywhere.....

ガラスはありません



Japan is a long narrow country, almost reaching Taiwan in the south, and the Sakhalin peninsular of Russia in the north. So there are huge differences in climate. However, altitude is as important as latitude. Here, high up in the hills of Nagano....there is hardly a blossom to be seen....

日本は細長い国で、南は台湾、北はロシアのサハリン半島にほぼ達します。 したがって、気候には大きな違いがあります。 ただし、高度は緯度と同じくらい重要です。 ここ、長野の丘の上……花はほとんど見られない……。





But then when you arrive back down in Tokyo....



Sakura, cherry blossom, is exploding on every street corner......




 

Indeed, there are Sakura festivals everywhere. Also in the Roppongi district. And it was here last week that the Suntory Hall 🎵 joined the general celebrations with an open day. And what an open day! despite the long queues to get in, the concert hall complex seem to absorb everybody. Imagine the Royal Festival Hall filling up in 10 mins and you get an idea of the scene. Entry was free, and there was a continuous programme of music, either in the small hall - like this one......(solo piano/string quartet/vocal recitals).....

サントリーホールオープンデー



Or in the main Hall.....



......where the organist launched into Bach's iconic Toccata and Fuge in D minor バッハの代表的なトッカータとフーガ ニ短調 (to rapturous applause) 👏👏. The Yokohama Sinfonietta then played a movement from Grieg's Holberg Suite for string orchestra, followed by Mozart's 12th piano concerto 🎹 - played by some ridiculously young boy. You could come and go as you pleased, so there was a very relaxed atmosphere.....

とてもリラックスする雰囲気



I can't quite imagine this working in the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, or in the South Bank Centre in London, but maybe it would (?). I know that opera houses like Darmstadt have open days. The thing is, everybody here is so well-behaved and polite here, listening to the music and being careful not to disturb others. No talking on mobile phones and just the odd dicreet photo (like these ones!) Outside, the festival was in full swing....time for a coffee and a blueberry bagel......コーヒーとブルーベリーベーグル





A Balinese Dance group was in action, and everybody was ooh and aaahing over the cherry blossoms and flowers. It wasn't ideal weather, but that didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits.......





六本木





The next day the sun came out and the mercury shot up to a nice 22°c. Time to really enjoy being outside. But today's rendezvous was not Ueno Park, or one of the other hot spots in Tokyo, but a campus at the Ookayama district. The Tokyo Institute of Technology......https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyo_Institute_of_Technology

Here they had there own Sakura to show off.......

東京工業大学のキャンパス



...although you can't see the angle of this building in the photo below, it's dubbed the "cheesecake" because it looks like a slice of....チーズケーキ........now repeat after me "....Chīzukēki...". Now you can speak Japanese 😊!





The nearby Tokyu Toyoko line trains plough through the blossoms.....



However the camelias, who seem to refuse to give up, vie for attention on the pavement ......

椿の花びら




 

Do I need an air conditioner? Well, I wouldn't mind one of these in The Towers in Langen. (The German summers are getting pretty hot). But I fear I might exceed my baggage limit....

エアコンは必要ですか?



But with my small kitchen I'm sure I could squeeze in one of these little ovens.....you see them in every hotel/home. You can heat up your mini croissants in them or make toast....

電気レンジが好きです



In fact, if I'm not mistaken tashika たしかに。。。。I have never seen a big oven in a Japanese kitchen. However, these are a common sight......and no, it is not a cd player....




 

There is always a danger that if you take a short video clip of some religious event, it will appear banal and incomprehensible. My mother used to love watching Songs of Praise on BBC TV, which had a sort of veneer of religion to it. However I always found it a bit strange to see people opening and closing their mouths like goldfish. Well, I'm afraid I can't explain what is going on here but maybe one of my Buddhist friends can. I have wandered into the Zōjō-ji temple (増上寺) near Tokyo Tower.....





Outside the air is adrift with the smell of grilled pork and sweet delicacies, as the stall holders are doing a brisk trade. It must be an important celebration, for every priest under the sun seem to be in attendance........I even bumped into some going home afterwards.......

屋台からおいしいにおい



Turning a corner, I met these little fellows.......Jizos....a very common sight in Japan. They can usually be found in cemeteries, because they protect the children who have passed away before their parents. These children are believed not to have had enough time to collect good karma on earth to reach heaven, so are smuggled there by Jizo in their robes........

お地蔵さん




A view of the temple complex with the Tokyo Tower in the background......(no, I didn't go up it...the skies were not clear enough)



Nearby there is an open space where people were enjoying the warm weather......

人々は暖かい天気を楽しんでいます



Time to return home. On my way to the Shibakoen Metro station I passed under this.....the former Daitokuin Reibyo Somon gate.....

旧台徳院霊廟惣門



Watch out for this guy! 危険な男




 

When I was leaving for Japan last month I proudly said to my son "I am only bringing one suitcase you know". He was sceptical, and said something like "I bet you will come back with more stuff". Well. He was right. I had to go into my local Aeon store in Hoshikawa today and buy a small carry-on suitcase. I think the cat wants to come too.....(this a yawn and a stretch by the way....)

先月日本に出発するとき、私は誇らしげに息子に「スーツケースは一つしか持っていかないよ」と言いました。彼は半信半疑で、「きっともっと何かを持って戻ってくるでしょう」みたいなことを言いました。彼は正しかったです。今日は星川にある地元のイオンに行って、機内持ち込み用の小さなスーツケースを買わなければなりませんでした。 猫も行きたいようです....(ちなみにこれはあくびとストレッチです....)



I am now dreading returning to a country where people shout on their mobile phones and chew greasy hamburger 🍔 abominations whilst sitting opposite to you on the train. I will survive 😅.



Thank you for reading "..Nagano.."

☃️ "..長野県..."を読んでくれてありがとう



  Feel free to share the blog with friends.

 ☃️ よろしければ、リンクを友達と共有してください



 ☃️ And and I enjoy hearing from you...!

コメントすると楽しいです!




"In a Japanese garden....."




THE END

🌸

終わり



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