Sunday, June 03, 2012

Around Ichinoseki - Genbi Gorge and Hiraizumi

Hey folks. So long since I last blogged. I should be shot, I know. People manage to blog every day, what's wrong with me?? Well I'm blogging today! So... yay me!
Well I wanted to talk about two places near Ichinoseki that I visited recently. Firstly we have the stunning Genbi Gorge just up the road a little. About 20 minutes from town centre I think the water is a beautiful green-blue as you can see and rages down the river in fine style.

Lucky to go in May before the throngs arrive I suspect. Well, not really sure about the throngs BUT it's an idyllic little place for a picnic, with a suspension bridge and a restaurant that sends things over the river by basket if you so desire. Lots of touristy shops there and a few places for a nice ice cream - a must when you go site-seeing in Japan.

A similar distance from Ichinoseki in a slightly different direction is the town of Hiraizumi, probably the most interesting of towns in the whole of the Iwate Prefecture. An ancient capital and seat of power around the 11th century, Hiraizumi is a very significant place not just in Iwate, but Japan.
The main drawcard is the temples. I visited the Chosun-ji temple complex, up a hill and into the forest. It's surprising because the land around is flat and not so attractive, and in the middle rises these hills which are stunning. Just going for a drive around these hills after seeing the temples was magical. Chosun-ji is a world heritage site, the centre-piece a gold painted temple now housed inside a wooden building. There are bell houses, a small museum and some great views as well. Not to mention other temples sitting above small lakes and some stunning tall trees. It's highly recommended!

As for school life, it certainly has its ups and downs. Class size varies from 8 to 42 students (very different) and some of the bigger classes are all boys - definitely a challenge! Yesterday I went to a sports day held by the special school I teach at (sorry not allowed to post photos). It was a great day, the kids all felt involved and that they contributed, which is great. It was odd at times, there was a cheering competition and also a couple of events that were reminiscent of 'It's a knockout', but the main thing was that the students were able to participate and enjoy it, and they did. And I was in the winning side for the PTA tug-of-war!

So it's been a steep learning curve here, but lucky to be in a nice location. Until the next blog!!!! (not too far away!)

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