紅葉のピーク Fall Colors at their Peak

November 21, 2007: 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.

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銀座通りイルミネーション Ginza Lights

November 20, 2007: 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.
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露天風呂:正式的にオープンOfficial Opening of our Outdoor Bath

November 17, 2007: その他 Miscellaneous

We got the approval from the Prefecture for our outdoor bath today! Come and experience the relaxing mineral waters of Kamiyamada Hot Springs, while also bathing in the glow of the starlight.
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アンチ外人New Laws against Foreigners

November 14, 2007: 日米関係Culture Shock

Yesterday's Japan Times had an article on something I've touched on before with this blog: strict laws against foreigners. (Click on the title for a link to the article.) Just the day before, the local police paid us another visit and again requested we take foreign guests' passports. I asked them for a copy of the law that says that, and they declined saying it was a different Ministry's policy. What, is it a secret law?!?! Most foreign tourists coming to Nagano are searching for Japan's heart -- is this prejudiced heart what we want to show them? Why don't the police do something about the prostitution problem in this town instead?
Anyways, I found the law thru other means. MHLW requires nationality and passport #'s for non-resident foreigners. Sounds simple enough -- we'll be glad to abide.
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露天風呂 温泉の管 Onsen pipe for the Outdoor Bath

November 13, 2007: その他 Miscellaneous

For the outdoor bath project, the Prefecture's Health office instructed me to add onsen water directly from the main. I had intended to just use the overflow from the inside bath, but as the picture shows, today I connected a pipe from the main. My first plumbing experience! Tonight I'm going to drink a 'Good Job!' beer.
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瓦付け直しNew Roof Tiles

November 12, 2007: 亀清旅館 Kamesei Ryokan

First the tear-off 古い瓦を外して

The re-roofing of our two back guest rooms started today. I'd rather use the money for other improvements, but we need a good roof over the guests' heads. When I took a look at the roof and attic, I was surprised to see no insulation. Ceiling insulation is about as basic as you can get back in the States, but apparently older Japanese construction didn't use it. So I ran to the Home Center and bought a bunch of insulation, and had the roofers install it for us.
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website

Pink Shock ピンクショック

November 10, 2007: 日米関係Culture Shock

Yesterday we received a bizarre phone call asking if we provide 'pink service'. I said we offer the service of guiding guests to see the night view from Obasute Station after dinner, but no, we don't offer prostitution. I was shocked that in Japan it's acceptable to be so open about looking for prostitutes. Our onsen town, Togura-Kamiyamada, does have its share of bars and bar girls, but Kamesei Ryokan caters to families with kids and couples. We are a family-run inn, and I myself am Christian, so we don't permit prostitution. Nothing good comes out of it!

露天風呂の塀を伸ばした Outdoor Bath Fence Extended

November 9, 2007: その他 Miscellaneous

櫓の裏の塀が伸ばされてThe new fence behind the 'yagura' tower

Our Outdoor Bath project is about 98% complete. Last week we planted the garden, but it didn't create as much privacy as I expected. So I extended the fence. Next I have to rearrange the mineral water pipes according to the Prefecture's instructions. Only a couple more days before we can officially 'open' the bath!
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夜景ツアー仲間 Night View Tour companions

November 8, 2007: 亀清旅館 Kamesei Ryokan

Last night I escorted the Endo's from Kanazawa and the Kanno's from Niigata on a tour to Obasute to see the night view. We ended up getting taped by a local tv station and will be on tomorrow night's 6pm news on NBS!
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan website