It's been awhile since I posted a good blog so this one will be pretty long!
Yesterday (Saturday) I decided to just go explore around Misawa a little since I finally got my vehicle! It's a 1998 Mitsubishi Pajero and although the gas prices might kill me over here it will be perfect for getting out into the mountains to snowboard and hike. I left my house, headed east and quickly came across route 338. Route 338 is a road that tracks the coast all the way north to the Shimokita Peninsula. Someday soon I'm going to make a drive all the way up 338 to the town of Mutsu (about 2 hours) to check out the bay there because it has some shipwrecks and is full of seaglass.
On this excursion though I was just looking for the ocean! Route 338 is a very small rural route that has a speed limit of 50 kph (30 mph, all the speed limits in Japan are LOW) and passes through some cool little towns. It didn't take long for me to spot the ocean and I pulled over at a park to snap some pictures.
A lot of the beach around here is full of concrete to help stop erosion. It's not safe to swim on most of it either because it has dangerous rip currents. Down in Hachinohe there is supposed to be a nice public beach that everyone hits up in the summer though!
After checking out the beach I went to the Shimoda Mall which is right between Misawa and Hachinohe. I did a little shopping but only bought my niece Addison some stuff from the 100 yen shop; the Japanese equivalent of a dollar store. Everything was at least 105 yen though and the exchange rate sucks so bad that comes out to about $1.30. The mall also has a movie theater, a bowling alley, and like most Asian malls, a grocery store! They play Japanese movies and some American ones which have subtitles (or so I am told).
Next up was today's excursion where I got to go snowboarding for the first time ever. Just driving down south of Misawa was an awesome sight because the mountains around here are breathtaking!
We went to Shimokura to go snowboarding, and there is not really a good place to learn as a beginner! Good thing I took to it pretty fast! All those years skateboarding really paid off in the balance department. That's not saying I didn't spend a lot of time on the ground at first, but once I got the hang of it I was doing pretty well. I'm definitely going to be buying my own gear this summer for the rest of my tour.
Not the mountain we were on but still an awesome sight!
There were a lot of Japanese snowboarder girls there and I got to practice my Japanese a little. I definitely need more practice...
As with everything in Japan they take it up a notch! No normal snowmen here. They're also mildly obsessed with all things cute and cartoony.
The guys from work I went snowboarding with. The guy on the end is wearing a fox fur hat and scarf he bought when he was deployed to Manas, Kyrgyzstan. The Japanese loved it!
I'm not going to be doing anything too exciting over the next week while I am working but I want to write some posts about the language and culture here. More specifically I want to let everyone know about how mind-blowingly polite and friendly everyone is here!