やっと雪景色 Finally, snow!

2007.12.21: その他 Miscellaneous

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas... We got a dusting of snow this morning. Last night, the kids and I took a bath in our outdoor bath, enjoying the beautiful stars. This morning, we woke up to everything covered in a beautiful white blanket of snow. Our outdoor bath takes on a new look with the snow.
Click here for Kamesei Ryokan website.亀清旅館のHPはこちら

English Lessons at the local grade school 上山田小学校の英語のヘルプ

2007.12.19: 青い目のおもてなし This American’s Omotenashi

上小の1年2組 1st Graders

2 or 3 times a year, I get to help out at the local Kamiyamada Elementary School with their English program. I enjoy the chance to volunteer at the school, and it is an opportunity to recognize the kids in the town. Most of them call me Tyler-Sensei, even though I'm not even close to being an official teacher.

インドからの留学生 Exchange Students from India

2007.12.18: 日米関係Culture Shock

Our Town, Chikuma, hosted a group of exchange students from India. The Int'l Exchange Assoc., of which I'm an active member, hosted a banquet for them. We were entertained by both our local geisha and a traditional Indian dance! International exchange at it's finest.
In order to let the students experience an onsen ryokan, they all spent the night here at Kamesei. They seemed to enjoy the mineral bath, but the traditional food was a little challenging. Pictured is one student with yogurt over her breakfast rice.


新しい椅子と桶 New bath seats and buckets

2007.12.15: 亀清旅館 Kamesei Ryokan

We recently had some customer feedback to the effect that the chairs in our mineral baths were too old. So we went ahead and replaced them, along with the buckets, too. Please keep the feedback coming -- we are trying our best to improve Kamesei.

からころの案 'Kara-Koro' Proposal

2007.12.12: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada

My proposal for the Kara-Koro Project

Following yesterday's study session, today we had another meeting for the Kara-Koro Project, the purpose of which was to make some concrete proposals for how to proceed with livening up the town. We're still at the proposal stage, but the goal is to build on the onsen's history while making better use of the surrounding mountains and river. I especially think we need to better utilize the Chikuma River. Right now, the town is putting the river to its back. We need more interaction with this spectacular river, hence this proposal.

からころ勉強会 'Kara-Koro' Study Session

2007.12.11: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada

滝沢先生(右)の説明 Prof. Takizawa's talk at the Onsen History Museum

Togura Kamiyamada Onsen is receiving some support money from Nagano Prefecture, hence our current 'Kara-Koro' Project to improve our town. ('Kara-Koro' is the sound wooden 'geta' sandals make, with the idea to get people out and about to liven up the town.) The thing that most impressed me by Prof. Takizawa's talk was 'The purpose of this History Museum isn't to display objects -- it's to get people to think of the world behind those objects.'
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan's website.

Our Christmas Tree is Up! ロビーにクリスマスツリー

2007.12.09: 亀清旅館 Kamesei Ryokan


Back in the States, it's an annual ordeal to try to keep in mind the 'reason for the season' as Christmas tends to get bogged down in over-commercialization. In Japan, all the stores play Christmas music and decorate (complete with Christmas trees that always say 'Merry Christmas' on them -- otherwise I guess you wouldn't know it's a Christmas tree?). But here it's a hollow 'season without a reason'.

Here at Kamesei Ryokan, we're trying to keep it real for our kids, as well as share a little Christmas spirit with our guests. So once again, we managed to get a fir tree for our lobby and decorate it with ornaments that our family has collected over the years.

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

灯篭・イルミネーション祭 Holiday Light Display

2007.12.06: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada


The park in the middle of our onsen town, from now until St. Valentine's Day, is lit up at night with illumination featuring Japanese 'toro'. The other junior innkeepers and I put them up over the last couple of days. Come enjoy Togura Kamiyamada Onsen's winter magic!
亀清旅館のHPはこちらClick here for Kamesei Ryokan's website.