another hiatus? really?

Busy, hectic times.  I’ve nearly finished George Meegan’s book; I’m learning teensy bits of Japanese (trying not to cross my eyes when I hear the variations which MAY occur and reminding myself that English is hardly a stranger to this; my daughter was pointing out words which sound alike but which have very different meanings which must be determined from context, and I thought about homophones in English (which and witch, there and they’re and their–that sort of thing; she says that in hiragana they will be spelled the same, but the differences are plain in kanji).  I really think I need to buckle down and learn AT LEAST hiragana or katakana so that I can sound things out.  I’ve also discovered that so many American-adopted words can be figured out with a bit of effort:  boo-rou-soo for blouse, for example.

I’m trying to get back to my t’ai chi practice to add to walking, and I’m now seriously looking at “stuff” at REI and other shops.

But, really, the only walking-related progress I can point to is coming up next week when the kids and I are going to Sequoia for a last camping trip before Michelle goes away to college 😦

We’ll have lots of nifty hikes there.  I’ll post…REALLY…I WILL!


Oh, and I have to include a link to a site that may be a rich source for me to pore over pre-trip.  It’s a tourism site encouraging strolls along sections of the Old Tokaido inShizuoka Prefecture.  There are maps, tips, historical notes, and so on, and they’re available both in English and Japanese.  Now I realize this only sees through less than 1/2 of the posts on the Old Tokaido, but that’s still a great start:

 Attractions on the Old Tokaido Road, Shizuoka Prefecture

So a map came…

I ordered a general Atlas of Japan.  It’s a nice little book with maps showing general topography (these are not topo maps, though), major roads, more detailed road maps of larger cities.

Although the scale is too small, and the maps too general for my trip, it gives me a starting point, and it came in handy when we had a Japanese student staying with us this past weekend.  Ayana is from Gunma, and she was able to pinpoint her town north of Tokyo on the appropriate map.

She gave us a little information about riding out the earthquake in Gunma.  The area is hilly, no danger from the tsunami, but it was clearly the longest, strongest quake she’d ever experienced.  She was at school, and the kids ducked under desks.  There was little damage in her area, but she said it was “definitely frightening.”

She left this morning with her group (all English language competition winners) to tour the local sites (UCLA, Hollywood, etc.; we took her to Universal Studios in the freezing rain–so much for sunny So Cal), and she’ll be flying back home tomorrow.  The tour advisor told me that planes coming FROM Tokyo were not experiencing many delays now, but planes going into the city are often being routed to outlying cities, and passengers are being bussed in the rest of the way.

I’m going to need maps

I’ve sent for a current Japan atlas to get started, but I’ve been reading on several sites that it’s increasingly difficult to actually find accurate, current maps.  One traveler/photographer recommends getting hold of various local tourist maps, though even those don’t always capture more-recent road re-routing, landmark leveling, detours.  Still, as tanaka1 points out, they are often fun and colorful.

The WEB has some interesting photographs of maps located along the route.  Here’s one by owenfinn16 (James) on flickr:

Old Tokaido map with bike

Here’s a link to the site:

owenfinn16’s photos on flickr

Hmmm…that little bicycle looks tempting; I need to keep my resolve.