Doggy signs

Being up here in the mountain most of the time, I have not seen that many dogs during my time in Japan. In the urban areas, several different kinds dogs can be found, but definitely not like back home.

 

The dog is prohibited, since poop is left outside the warning sign

More of the same kind:

Does he look like he cares where he “goes”? He’s saying “fun!”

 

 

Dogs run. Nuff said.

 

Some of the signs I have encountered so far are rather self-explanatory, while others require Japanese skills.

This puppy is fast

 

Even businesses have adapted the cute style in their logos.

This puppy needs treatment

 

I wonder why he looks so sad and his friends are maniacs

 

I have seen maybe 4 live dogs in total (besides those poor puppies in the pet store under the railways)! Proof of that:

 

He’s coming to get me!
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Halloween-ish

Halloween is not a big deal in Japan. The stores do have cute Halloween gear on sale, but the culture is not really popular, at least so I’ve heard. International students can make a difference, though!

Japanese Halloween: cute, scary or both?

We had a joined birthday party and Halloween in a rather interesting venue called Hit Parade. The place reminded me of a cruise boat, with the food buffet, all you can drink-offer and live band. This band was 50’s style, played swingin’ dancing music and there was kids running around, shy about the incarnations of their favorite anime characters.

We had our own balcony, which was strictly supervised by the manager the whole evening

The evening was a success, though we got the feeling that we were not really welcome to the place. However, Drinks were served and the night continued to our regular (the only) student bar, where we met up with more dressed up people.

He got at least 5 identical twins – playing in the same band!

Once again, we were asked to pose in many pictures. This time the costumes might have had some effect, though.

Drangonball and Anpanman dancing the night away

The night was a success, and the experience was definitely worth repeating! In Finland it would not be possible to have all you can eat and drink for 30 euros. Ever.

Tenkusai

Happy students and visitors on campus

This weekend APU hosted its’ 10th annual Tenku festival. For two days, the school campus was filled with the extra curricular activities circles’ food stalls, performances in various fields, exhibitions and activities. Open campus brought many visitors from Beppu and maybe other cities to see, what else than studying this mountain beholds.

Traditional Japanese dance

 

There were many activities, such as chemistry lab for kids, movie screenings, calligraphy exhibition and a lot more. Besides the interesting and talented performances, to most people Tenku was all about the food. There was a lot of different kinds of treats, and the students were really persistent on their selling.

Kawaii price tags were usually not in English. All the food was fairly cheap!

 
Since the prices were from 100 yen to no more than 400 or 500yen per portion, people could afford to go from stall to another to taste different foods from around the world.

My personal favorite: hotate clam, sold out on both days
Chinese tea eggs, way tastier than what they look!

 
Even though it rained on Saturday, I think everyone enjoyed the festival and thought it was a success. On Sunday, the outdoor stage was popular and had performances one after another.

 

Visiting high school students dancing to one of the performing bands’ music

Tenku festival was probably something the circles have been waiting for a long time, I can imagine the countless hours of practicing, planning and organizing the selling. I bet most of the people involved are happy that the festival is over – I wish we could have something similar more often! There was so many things I didn’t get to try yet, and so many great things I probably missed. Several people wanted to have pictures with me, it doesn’t stop surprising and amusing me! I wonder, if all the festivals in Japan are similar to ours.

Secret paradises

Some more traditional Japan!

Fields like in the middle of Europe

Rough bare stone terrain, traditional bamboo forest, pine tree forest, fields and various different vegetation was passed during a hike to the secret onsen. After hiking in the sun for almost an hour, the reward was tremendous.

 

Steaming hot mineral water

 

Beppu is known for its’ hot springs, onsen. There are several onsens around the city, most of which are spa-like and run by entrepreneurs. My first onsen experience here was different – these onsens were in the mountains, completely in the natural state, and free of charge.

We decided to pretend we don’t understand the several warning signs

A girl was killed in the onsen where we went a year ago, thus there was several sign warning about going to the onsens a)alone, b)with only women and c)during night time. In addition to that, there was another sign regarding proper code of conduct.

 

Beware of suspicious man and car!

 

After the first two onsens (one pictured above, plus a mud onsen next to it) we continued to a third one even higher up the mountain. The last onsen we went to was apparently rather popular among Japanese men, so as to respect their privacy (and private parts), I don’t have many pictures.

Steaming hot water, next to streaming cold water

The onsens would be perfect during night time, to watch the stars. Also in the winter I can imagine that sitting in the hot bath would be spectacular – getting out would not be so pleasant. The road to the onsens was very poor, so in the winter time it might be tricky to drive there by car. Walking in the dark would definitely not be an option, either. We had a chance to boil some eggs in a hole that had boiling water – next time we were thinking about having a picnic with more food to boil and steam. What a better way to spend a day, than hiking, and then chilling in the hot bath and eating food prepared in the nature.

 

Nature at its’ best

Kimono

Kawaii kimono style

I was lucky to experience some more traditional Japanese culture – Kimono in Kitsuki city!

Picking the perfect style from various choices of kimono and obi-belts

Wearing a kimono is not just a matter of putting on two-toed white socks, wrapping into a robe and finishing it all off with an obi-belt. The kimono consists of white robe that goes under the kimono, few tight fabric belts to make sure the posture is right, then the kimono that is tightly wrapped, plus the belt and some strings to tie it up. I am sure I missed some parts. Altogether, it took about 20 minutes to get the whole deal on.

Partially the beauty of kimonos is in the combination of the obi and the garment style

After taking a picture in the kimono, I had 3 hours to wander around the historical Kitsuki city and see its’ Samurai houses (which I did not go into, because I wasn’t aware of the free admission for kimonos).

Japanese style harmony

The walking was rather painful in the too small shoes, I might confess. Those Geishas probably didn’t run anywhere, but they sure had good posture!

Say chiizu!

It was fun to wear a kimono – I definitely felt like being someone else. Everyone was saying hello, smiling and complementing me, which never feels too shabby. I was also glad to get the dress off. I would really like to wear a kimono again, if it means that I just have to stand while someone is dressing me like a doll!