初の訓練 First Fire Drill

March 13, 2008: 青い目のおもてなし This American’s Omotenashi

訓練の消火器練習

旅館と言うのは、ある意味でお客様の命を扱う。大げさかもしれませんけど、私はお客様の安全を大事にしたいです。その為に、防火管理の資格も取り、今日は消防の方に来てもらって、訓練やりました。初めてだったので良い勉強、良い経験になりました。消防の方、ご親切に色々と教えて頂いて、有難うございました。
As an inn, in some ways we are responsible for the lives of our guests. That may be an exaggeration, but I believe in the importance of providing for the safety for our guests. To that end, I got certified in Fire Prevention, and today we had the fire department come and we ran a fire drill. It was a valuable experience - I learned a lot. I want to thank the fire department for their kindness.
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website





2008 あんず祭 Apricot Blossom Festival

March 12, 2008: 季節 Seasons

正式の地図の問い合わせをどうぞ Official Anzu Map

今年のあんず祭の期間が決定になりました:4月3日から18日まで、満開が4月10日の見込み。戸倉上山田温泉から車で15分です。日本一の杏の里の可愛いらしい薄いピンクの花を是非!詳しくはwww.chikuma-kanko.jp
The dates for this years Anzu (Apricot) Blossom Festival have been set: April 3rd thru 18th, with full bloom expected April 10th. Easy access via Shuttle Bus departing from Yashiro Station (1 stop from ours, Togura Station).
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website





戸倉温泉は何も無い?このお店なら何でも有り! Stationery-plus!

March 12, 2008: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada

何でも有り光文堂さん Everything and More - Koubundou

この間、雨の日でお客さんが早く着いて、時間はどうやって潰すかと考えていて、「この温泉は何も無いナ」と言われました。探している方に問題があるかと思う。ちょうどその夜、我が娘の誕生日プレセントの為に、温泉街の文房具屋さんに行ってみた。と言うのは、お店の半分以上がおもちゃとか日本の昔からの遊び:折り紙とかメンコ等。消しゴムくじもあったり、「これ何?それ何?」聞きっぱなし状態になりました。本当に何でも有った!何が「何も無い」?!?!
The other night, we went shopping for our daughter's birthday present at the town's stationery store. Over half of the store happens to be toys and classic games and such. There are origami sets with lots of colorful designs, and traditional games from the past. I found myself asking "What's that? How does this work?" every time I turned around. There were sets of little round discs made out of thick paper, with classic drawings on them. Apparently they're a game where you thwap your card down trying to flip your oponent's card over. Then there was a board with dozens of erasers, of all shapes and sizes (a dollar bill eraser, anyone?). You pay 20 yen and you draw a raffle with a random number. An eraser lottery? So much fun and amazement packed into such a tiny store!



1-year old today! Misaki eating her birthday card


First Day of Gardening Season

March 11, 2008: 亀清旅館 Kamesei Ryokan

'After' Garden Improvement pic

カレンダーは何って書いてあるか分からないけど、今日はガーデニング時期の始まりでした。亀清のガーデナー岡田さんは亀清の庭改善を始めてくれました。取り敢えず、離れ風の部屋と部屋の間の坪庭の下準備をやってくれました。
I don't care what the calendar says, today is the first day of Gardening Season. Our gardener, Okada-san, came to start the improvements on our inn's gardens. He started with one of the pocket gardens inbetween guest rooms.
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website.



Before


雨の降ったあとの露天風呂 Outdoor Bath After the Rainfall

March 10, 2008: 亀清旅館 Kamesei Ryokan

亀清の手作りの露天風呂Kamesei's handbuilt outdoor bath

湯気が多いせいか、雨が降ったあとの露天風呂はなんとなくいつもより「温泉らしい」様な雰囲気です。

Maybe it's because of the extra steam coming off of the bath, but our outdoor bath has an extra special feel after the rain falls.

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





Snow Monkey Trip

March 9, 2008: その他 Miscellaneous

The Snow Monkeys taking their onsen bath

Most of the guests from overseas that stay at Kamesei come to Nagano to see the snow monkeys (www.jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp). We couldn't let the guests have all the fun, so today, our family made the trek. The monkeys were so entertaining! I took loads of pictures, some of which are here, as a companion to my article in Naga-Know (http://www.nagaknow.com/snowmonkeys.shtml). We also got to meet Hagiwara-san, the park manager, and bought his new book, 'Monkey Kingdom', which features his award winning photos.
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website



Trailhead from Kanbayashi Onsen


On the trail through the cedar forest


Why it's called Hell Valley


Park Entrance


The 'rustic' inn across the river from the park


Enjoying 'chimaki' at the inn


Half poofy, and half slicked-back


姨捨ツアーのポスター Obasute Tour Poster

March 8, 2008: その他 Miscellaneous

夜景ツアーポスター

以前に報告した様に、私が個人でお客さんに提供していた姨捨夜景・伝説ツアーが千曲市観光協会に取り上がれて、毎週土曜日にちゃんとした(有料)のツアーになりました。今日はせっかくポスターも作ったし、お客さんをリクルートしたのに、申し込んだら「人数が集まらなかった為に中止だ」と言われてしまいました。仕方が無い、私の無料ツアーが行いますので宜しくお願いします!
As previously mentioned, the Obasute Night View Tour that I often give as service to our guests has been taken over by the town's Tourism Bureau and has been turned into an official (for-pay) tour every Saturday night. Today, I went through all the effort of making a poster and recruiting a couple of guests, but when I called to make the reservation I was told tonight's tour has been canceled due to lack of guests. So, I will just have to do my regular (free) tour instead!
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website.





シルビーさんと戸隠で講演

March 6, 2008: 青い目のおもてなし This American’s Omotenashi

シルビーさんと講演 Speaking Engagement together with Sylvie

戸隠の観光協会に呼ばれて、「欧米人はどのおもてなしを認めているか」と言う講演を致しました。一緒にお話したのはシルビー・ジャコさんでした。シルビーさんの本も読んでいるし、彼女の事は良く聞いていましたが、実際に会うのは初めてでした。そうすると、お話がすごく合って、とっても良かったです。講演も「為になった」と言われましたし、私がさらに戸隠ファンになりました。
The Togakushi Tourism Bureau invited me to give a talk on what Westerners are looking for when they come to Japan. The co-speaker was Sylvie Jacquot, a 'long-termer' from France living in Togakushi. I had heard so much about Sylvie, and am reading her book, so I was excited to get the opportunity to meet her. It turns out we have a lot in common, especially our love of Nagano and desire to share the beauty of Nagano with people overseas.
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website.





信州のお互いさん Symbiotic Relationship in Nagano

March 5, 2008: 青い目のおもてなし This American’s Omotenashi

来年の冬の薪ストーブ用

来冬の為の薪集まりが続いています。今度は上山田の宮下農園さんからりんごの剪定物を頂き。(息子がヘルプしてくれました。)りんご屋さんは剪定物が沢山出て困るし、亀清みたいな薪ストーブのあるところは薪が欲しくて困るから、ちょうどお互いさんです。
The wood collecting for next winter continues. Today it was apple tree trimmings. (Our son Andy assisting.) The orchardists always end up with way more trimmings than they can possibly burn, and wood stove owners like Kamesei need as much wood as possible, so it's a perfect symbiotic relationship.
亀清旅館のHPはこちらclick here for Kamesei Ryokan website.





初亀 'Hatsu' (First) Turtle

March 4, 2008: 亀清旅館 Kamesei Ryokan

初春(?)の亀

毎日雪が続いている中で冬がまだ終わりそうでもない。。。と思ったら亀清の中庭の池を見たら、亀清の看板動物の亀が太陽を浴びに上がっていました。この写真じゃ見えないと思いますが、許して下さい。もっと近く撮りに行ったら亀が逃げちゃうから。自分自身でどうぞ、見に来てください。:)
With snow still falling every day, the end of winter is nowhere in sight... Until now! This morning, the turtles in our Nakaniwa garden's pond were coming out of their winter sleep to poke their heads up and catch some sun rays. You can't really see them in this picture, but I couldn't get a closer one because the turtles swim away if you approach them. So if you want a closer look, you'll have to come and see them in person! 🙂
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website.