鶴亀完成 Crane-Turtle Completed

2007.11.28: その他 Miscellaneous

Kamesei's handmade outdoor bath's Crane-Turtle is now completed. Our gardener, Okada-san, just planted the Japanese maple, giving shape to the crane. The turtle's head, hands, feet and tail are made out of large, round river rocks, and the crane is made up of the two vertical rocks and the maple. So now you can enjoy the Crane-Turtle while soaking in our bath!
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan's website.

亀清の木の温もり Kamesei's warm wood construction

2007.11.27: 亀清旅館 Kamesei Ryokan

温もりのあるロビー 'nukumori'

Last night, Watanabe-san was our guest. He taught me a new Japanese word: 'nukumori', meaning 'warmth'. He used it in reference to the wood construction of our lobby, something I had always been enamored of. 'Nukumori'. Good word.
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan's website.

跡継ぎで来て、2年間 2 Years Have Passed

2007.11.26: 亀清旅館 Kamesei Ryokan

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to take a moment to reflect on all I have been given since moving to Nagano to help continue this inn. Two years have passed since coming to Kamesei Ryokan. People ask, 'Are you used to it yet?' I think one could spend an entire lifetime and never totally get used to it, but compared with 2 years ago, I feel more comfortable. And I have everyone to thank for that.
As for the inn, I have added a few touches of American hospitality, such as the wood burning stove in the lobby and my Mom's recipe cookies for the guests. I have started guiding tours to Obasute for the night view, something that's even been featured on local tv. And my biggest accomplishment has been making the outdoor bath by hand. All of this is thanks to everyone's help.
As for the town, the summer festival has been monumental in getting me accepted as an 'insider'. The Junior Innkeepers Assoc. has been a major support network for me. The Int'l Exchange Assoc. has been instrumental in allowing me to share my American culture with everyone. And the Okagura shishi dance guys have become some of my best friends. Thank you, everyone.
As for my family, I feel bad about leaving my parents back home, but my wife and sons and I have become a great team here. Plus this year we have been blessed with the birth of our daughter. And the family and friends here have been so supportive -- I couldn't have done what I have without them.
Thanks, too, to the Big Guy upstairs for making this all happen.

旬の味:野沢菜 Seasonal Specialty: Nozawana

2007.11.26: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada

On the way back from taking our son to his meeting place for the walk to school, I saw our neighbor doing her annual preparations for 'nozawana', our local pickled vegetable specialty. It reminded me of my mom pickling cucumbers. Ota-san, keep up the good work!
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website

イチョウ風呂 Ginkgo Bath

2007.11.24: その他 Miscellaneous

Right next to our new outdoor bath is a ginkgo tree. It's leaves have turned a brilliant shade of yellow. The falling leaves add a nice touch to the natural feel of the bath.
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website

戸倉上山田温泉の遺産 Our onsen's cultural heritage

2007.11.22: その他 Miscellaneous

From one of the more secluded rooms came the soft sound of a shamisen. I went to go take a peek, and found one of our onsen's cultural heritages, Harugoma-san, playing the shamisen for a guest. I got to sit for a bit, sipping sake, and listening to the beautiful melody, taking in the mood, and I thought to myself, This is why I came to Japan.
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website.

採れたってのふじりんごだ!Fresh Picked Fuji Apples

2007.11.22: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada

In the areas around our onsen, there are many apple orchards. Some offer u-pick. This morning, I took some guests to one of the orchards, and their daughter, Nami, enjoyed tasting the fresh-picked fuji apples.
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website.

紅葉のピーク Fall Colors at their Peak

2007.11.21: 亀清旅館 Kamesei Ryokan

亀清の中庭 Our 'naka-niwa'


Our 'naka-niwa' garden as well as the surrounding hills are ablaze with the colors of Fall. This is one of those magical times of the year, like cherry and apricot blossom time in the Spring.

亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website


銀座通りイルミネーション Ginza Lights

2007.11.20: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada


The street that connects Togura Onsen with Kamiyamada Onsen is our Ginza. This Ginza has been attracting a lot of press lately with everyone's efforts to bring more life to the neighborhood. Today we put up lights to illuminate the cold winter.
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website.