Sunday, May 6, 2012

Highway to the Danger Zone in Iwakuni and Matsuyama

Golden week is the string of holidays at the beginning of May. Prior to the time off, I had a lot of people asking me what I had in store for my vacation time. Taka and I had some ideas, but no solid plans. We decided to go at our own pace and take a few day trips this year. Our first one took place on Shikoku, where we toured during last year's Golden Week. Matsuyama was our stop. 

 Taka pretending to be dead on the lift up the mountain to see Matsuyama castle.

 The castle itself.

 The view from the castle grounds over the city was a nice mix of nature and city sprawl.

 My favorite part, of course, was this. Orange marmalade makes a great topping.

 Cherry blossoms come in many different varieties, and I found the ones around the castle lovely.

 Next on our stops was Dogo onsen (hot springs), an onsen with thousands of years of history. It is said to be the oldest in Japan. This place has been inspiration for many writers. Soseki wrote about it in Botchan (which I'm currently reading) and was the model for the bathhouse in Miyazaki's animated movie "Spirited Away."

May 5th is Friendship Day at Iwakuni's American military base. They open up the base to everyone, have lots of food, bring out their jet fighters, and have an air show.
A good ol' American barbecue lunch. There was burgers, hot dogs, nachos, pizza, and even girl scout cookies being sold.

 Over 280,000 people came this year, a new record! Last year's Friendship Day was cancelled due to the earthquake/tsunami, so people were eagerly awaiting this year's event. They were lining up and waiting the night before to get in (in true American fashion).

 I've never been this close before!

 The Blue Impulse air team performed their aerobatics, creating this heart in the sky.

I couldn't help but sing "Danger Zone" in Top Gun fashion.

I think a new tradition is forming where I always get the first sunburn of the season during Golden Week. I have to go back to teaching tomorrow as a redneck. In spite of this, I enjoyed the warm weather and had a relaxing vacation. Now I'm gearing up for our Japan wedding in June.

1 comment:

  1. How cool Ashley!! Very nice pictures I must say :D
    Sorry I couldn't talk cause we were vacationing in a very remote area. Hope all your wedding planning is going good!


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