Not too much going on around here. I've cooked up some applesauce and some potato soup and that seems like good winter fare for this evening's meal.
I've been running errands here and there so I thought I'd show you some of things I run across out on the streets. The first picture was taken in town when I was was out with Marlene.
"Quick! Roll down your window! I want to take a picture of that pizza shop."
"Why do you want a picture of a pizza shop?"
"Look what the sign says. Hand-Maid Pizza! I'm sure someone is trying to sell hand-MADE pizza!"
I think Marlene's been in Japan too long. She doesn't notice these things anymore.
The other pictures I took at stoplights. These pieces of artwork are large ply boards that have been painted by classes at the neighborhood jr. high. Often schools will display artwork on the fences and there are about 20 ply board posters up along the road. They look like they must have been painted by each class in the school and they seem to stay up three years and then a set will be taken down and a new set displayed. Probably the new 1st year class or something. Sometimes there is a theme like friendship or effort. I couldn't figure out what the theme is this year. (Of course as I drive by I only get a glimpse of the artwork but occasionally I am stopped at the light long enough to admire them.)
Another stoplight scene that I stumbled upon was this group of girls out in front of one of the Utsunomiya girls' high schools. Can you tell what they are doing? (Stoplight photography doesn't come out the clearest.) These girls are at the front gate to their school and they are all wearing aprons and are sweeping the sidewalk. Probably it was cleaning time that afternoon and all the students were separated into different groups for cleaning different parts of the school. This must have been the front gate group. Cleaning the school is a common practice in all grade levels and the students will wear aprons and and sometimes kerchiefs while they clean.
And this is just a picture of the Nikko Cedar Avenue near my house. It is actually the longest cedar avenue in the world and has been recorded in Guinness's Book of World Records. The cedar avenue has been a bane and a blessing to the Nikko population. A blessing because it is very beautiful and people come from all over Japan to see the huge trees lining the road. A bane, because so many people in Japan are allergic to cedar pollen and during the hay fever season (starting now!) many, many people are miserable in my area. I have friends that refuse to visit me during this season just because their allergies are so bad and I live so close to the cedar trees! So far, Tetsu and I are hay fever free.