Blog Update for August: Starting on a Family Bath, Matsutake Mushrooms and More!

2011.09.06: メディア Media

Woring on making a family bath

Howdy Everybody! I would like to take time to thank everyone for reading Kamesei Ryokan's "American Innkeeper in Japan" blog. There are approximately 1500 of you a day! I hope to keep on writing about all the interesting things I see here in Nagano as well as our onsen town, Togura-Kamiyamada, and especially about Kamesei Ryokan. All through my blue-eyed perspective.

In the hopes of making the blog easier to follow, occasionally I will post a summary of recent entries. Here's my first stab at it -- a summary for August, 2011.

*Starting Work on a Family Bath
When we moved to start helping out at Kamesei almost 6 years ago, there were only the 2 indoor onsen baths. Guests often commented that they wanted to bathe in the starlight as they soak in the onsen. In 2007, I built our "100-Year Bath" open-air onsen bath outside the men's bath. Then in 2009, I installed another outdoor bath next to the women's bath, this one made of yellow-cedar.
Lately, we have seen more and more of a need for a family bath that guests can use privately. So this summer, I broke ground on a family bath. You can follow the progress on our blog.
The 'Before' picture
First comes the demolition
Getting rid of the plastic bamboo
Building a wood fence
Our poor K-truck
The log that will be the main pillar
Prepping the post
Craning the post in to place
The beams
Target completion date is the end of October. Wish us luck!

*New Autumn Plan -- Matsutake Mushrooms
We here at Kamesei love the elegant aroma of matsutake mushrooms, so we created this new plan for our guests to enjoy.

*Fall Farming Action
'My Miso Making' and 'My Onion Planting' activities as well as grape picking.

*August Events: Fireworks, Bon Odori Dance and -- Shateki Shooting
August means summer festivals, and our town's biggest one is the Chikuma River Fireworks Display, held every year on the 7th of August. This year's was particularly memorable.
Then there was the Bon Odori dance, where Yours Truly did the popcorn popping for the first time.
And we had a new event, a Shateki Shooting Tourney that I instigated. We got some pretty good coverage from the local media.

*Around Town
Bicycling to Bingushi Park as well as along the Chikuma River.
Ueda City's European-style bread shops, Sugadaira's 'highland lettuce'、and a night hike atKamuriki Mtn.

*'Tis the Season
If you blinked, you'd miss the area rice fields turning from deep green to golden yellow. Some interesting events were the Chikuma City Okagura (Lion Dance) Summit and a Nagano sake 10,000 person toast. A bit of good news was our town's neon came back. And something everyone is worried about post-3.11: radiation.

Went to 5am zazen meditation for the first time in a while, and came to appreciate even more Nagano's peaceful quietness.
My take on Japan's 'Sunflower Tourism'.
My second meeting with a silkworm 'kanbetsu-shi'. I never would have had this opportunity had I not become a ryokan proprietor.
First time at a Nagano Ryokan Association parent committee (and a rant about the prefecture's Tourism Department).

And the finale,

Pictures of Kamesei by our 4-y.o. daughter Misaki.

Thank you for reading!

Aromatic Matsutake Mushrooms


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