Peace Marathon, Sandankyo Gorge, and Speech Competition


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Asia » Japan » Hiroshima
November 13th 2005
Published: November 22nd 2005
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Hiroshima Peace MarathonHiroshima Peace MarathonHiroshima Peace Marathon

Me, Jen, Julie, and Matt. We were the fierce JETs who took on the race. We left our cameras in a locker in the city and the race (to our surprise) was located far away, so we got very few photos (if you know me, you know I was sad to have missed my camera!)
It has been a while since I have posted an entry, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been busy doing stuff and seeing things! Right now it is the end of Fall and the leaves in Japan are amazing. In Cali we really don't have an Autumn, so coming to Japan was a special surprise to see all the leaves change into beautiful red, orange, and yellow. I will also add that Japan is getting cold. I am not used to cold weather. Rigth now it is as cold as it gets in San Francisco...a nice crisp 40 degrees. Its going to be a heck of a lot colder in January and February!!! The problem with Japan is they don't have insulation in any of their houses. You would think a country that has some of the best technology in the world would have insulation in their houses. Well, someone forgot to give them the memo about that. Its going to be a cold winter!!! My very first! Soon there might be snow in my photos!
So the past month has been relatively mellow in comparison to October and August. This is my "home." No longer a vacation.
Hiroshima Peace MarathonHiroshima Peace MarathonHiroshima Peace Marathon

Our cool shirts! On the back they read "PEACE time is RUNNING out." Courtesy of poetry boy himself, Jonathan
So, now I do 'normal' things. The first week of this month there was a group of JETs who ran in the Hiroshima Peace Marathon. Use the term 'Marathon' loosely, as the distances were 5 km and 10 km. Hardly a marathon, but far enough for me. This is the closest thing Hiroshima will have to the Bay to Breakers. There weren't any naked runners, but there were people in costume. There were hundreds of people who participated in the 5 km and 10 km race. The week before the race all the runners got their names in the paper. The names are all in Kanji and Hirigana. Then, in the alphabet in big letters that stand out, you read CASEY LARY. What can I say, I am going to be famous in Japan. Sooner or later i will have tiny Japanese ladies driving around the streets screaming my name (gotta see it to think its funny). I trained all of October, and it sure paid off. I finished the 10 km race in 56:25!!! I was aiming for an hour, so I beat my time! Afterward we all rewarded ourselves with big greasy burgers, fried fish, and fries. Sushi
Streets of HiroshimaStreets of HiroshimaStreets of Hiroshima

Jen and I posing with large costumed people. This is a common experience in front of the PARCO department store
just wasn't going to cut it. That weekend I bought a bicycle! I am absolutely in love with my bicycle and love riding it around Kabe. I have already almost hit a person, a car, run into a ditch, run into a rice paddy, and flown over the handlebars. It may not be the safest thing for me, but it will get me to and from the gym! Plus its cream and has a basket! I also went to Hiroshima castle to see more Kagura and drink so Asahi beer.
In the middle of the next week I had the best surprise ever. Jenny and Shinya, Holly Irvine's sister and her husband came to visit me in Hiroshima and I got to see their baby Dakota!!! He is the cutest thing alive. It was nice to have a taste of Chico in my life. Plus they brought me Shubert's chocolate, life doesn't get much better than that....well maybe a top dog.... :-).
Saturday, Nov 12, it was a glorious day in Hiroshima. I took a trip solo up to the mountains in Hiroshima. You see, Hiro is like California. It has the mountains and the ocean close to
Jintensha no KeishiJintensha no KeishiJintensha no Keishi

My new bicycle! It makes me look good :-)
each other so you can enjoy skiing and swiming in one place! Right now the Fall leaves, called 'Koyo' in Japan are absolutely amazing. One of the best places to go see them is the Sandankyo Gorge. Lucky for me Kabe was on the way so I made the trek and it was totally worth it. The hiking trail was relatively busy with Japanese people all over the place enjoying the 12 km gorge and beautiful leaves. Hiking plus the beautiful leaves = lets face it I was in heaven. I turned on my ipod and i was cruising. Throughout the day I met different Japanese people. I did not have anyone else with me so I was forced to speak the best Japanese that I could. I did pretty well for myself. I covered the basics...where I was from, where I live in Japan, how long I will stay there, what I do...you know, what every Japanese person asks me :-). At the top of the gorge (or close to it at least I think) there was a beautiful waterfall. The best part was at the waterfall there were girls up there in full on stiletto heels! The path
Castle KaguraCastle KaguraCastle Kagura

More local dance. It is really cool, but a lot of its the same. Here the dancers are up close
was paved for most of the way, but come on, heels! Then to the otherside of me were hikers in full on hiking gear, looking like they were ready to hike Fuji-san. There is no such thing as 'kinda' doing something in Japan. It's all or nothing :-). It was a beautiful Fall day well spent exploring this incredible place.
Sunday I had a very important role. I was a judge at Kabe Senior High School's speech competition. Coincidentally enough, some of Lisa's students were in the competition! I must admit I was very nervous to judge because I wanted to make sure I did a good job. Some of the students were absolutely terrible, others were fabulous, but overall they were super cute. Duties as an ALT; its tough but someone has to do it ;-).
So with the race, lazy weekends, visitors, hiking, and speech competition, my 2 weeks in early November were well spent. I also still enjoy salsa, running along the river, and am looking into karate, ikebana, and taiko. Life's good!


Additional photos below
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Castle KaguraCastle Kagura
Castle Kagura

Casey, j-dancers, and Lisa
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Castle Kagura

This is just funny...
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Sandankyo Gorge

One of the little waterfalls along the way
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Sandankyo Gorge

Pretty leaves!
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Sandankyo Gorge

Pretty leaves!
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Sandankyo Gorge

Some of my friends along the way
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Sandankyo Gorge

The prettiest waterfall
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Sandankyo Gorge

Big picture of the gorge
Visitors!Visitors!
Visitors!

Me, Jenny, Dakota, and Shinya enjoying Korean Barbecue
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Speech Competition

One of the cute JHS students reciting their speech
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Speech Competition

All the winners!!!
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Speech Competition

Yachiyo JHS participants, Lisa, and all the judges. The tall white guy is Chris. He is not a JET. He teaches at Kabe when I am at my travel schools.


24th November 2005

Whats up
Hey Casey How you doing. Good to see youre still blogging away. Its a good way to see how you are. How have you been...Its been far to long! I know I say this almost everytime. I will be in Hagi te e weekend of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th if youre keen for some small city life...Hope youre well aqnd that you enjoyed the sumo etc... Hope to hear fomr you Pete

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