Saturday, July 31, 2010

Miss Veedol Memorial

sign outside the beach

I think it is pretty safe to say that Miss Veedol is the mascot for Misawa. You can learn more about her here.
Miss Veedol was the first successful trans-pacific flight (after 3 other attempts with other planes). On October 4th, 1931 after a flight lasting 41 hours and 10 minutes and flying for 7,847km, Miss Veedol landed in Salt Lake City, Utah.

At Miss Veedol Memorial , there is a replica of the aircraft. There are signs for Miss Veedol Memorial  in Misawa (The White Signs with Miss Veedol on them). I will update with directions soon.

Miss Veedol replica
A bird's eye view of the plane
how we got the bird's eye view

The first time I found a shell in tact !

looking out at the ocean in my yukata
There are a lot of dandelions here!
The dandelions choke out these beautiful flowers

The Shuji Teryama Memorial Museum

Shuji Teryama Museum
We stumbled upon this little gem while we were just driving around one day in Misawa. We had no idea what it was but were intrigued by the large mask in front of the museum. Was this an art museum? I didn't know. We went in, paid the 300 yen and took a look around and were very surprised at what we saw.

The intriguing mask
Front door to the museum. That's me twirling my "mustache " lol

As it turns out, Shuji Terayama (1935-1983) was originally from Misawa, Japan and was a poet, novelist, drama director, theater manager, playwritght, screen writer, movie director, and literary critic. He received the Broadcasting Festival Award, Italian Grand Prix Award, Ministry of Education Art Award, Benalamadena Movie Festival Special Award and Art Festival Grand Award. 

It seemed like the museum was mostly devoted to his movies. (Which I can only describe as Alfred Hitchcock and Tim Burton melding their minds together in some long drug induced trip involving opium and acid. But hey, he did his prime stuff in the '60s, an era very dedicated to experimenting with mind altering drugs while doing artsy stuff. They never mentioned drugs, though. He COULD just have a very artistic and twisted mind. I did see a lot of French elements in his films). 
Joining the cast of one of Shuji Terayama's avant garde movies.

I was not allowed to take pictures inside the museum, but I did here. It seems as though I had joined the cast of one of his films. I had never heard of Shuji Terayama until this point and immediately went home and watched one of his films on YouTube. I still don't understand it but if you would like to watch it, I say go give it a try, especially if you are an enthusiast of the surreal.

If you leave the museum through the back door, there is a really beautiful path in the woods. There is where Shuji Terayama's Memorial is. I am still unsure of whether his remains are there or not. I feel that though it is a peaceful place to have for your final resting place, it is rather lonely. How very Edgar Allen Poe of him. 

On my way to see the memorial 

There is a beautiful view of Lake Ogawara right before you get to the Memorial.

The Shuji Terayama Memorial. I think the dog has something to do with one of his movies. He is reading one of his poem's.

The poem reads:
From now on
I will become one voice with you,
singing about all those days we have lost.

Planting a single sunflower seed
on a barren land,
I already call it my virgin field.

In a flash of a moment that my match is struck,
I see an ocean through the thick fog.
is there a country for which I could give my life?

Well, I hope you enjoyed this! Directions coming soon! There are signs for it if you are going toward Misawa Citizen's Forest Park. (The white signs with Miss Veedol).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Misawa Tour

I'm adding a little extra to this post. These are the places we went to on the Misawa tour, but we also went back to one place: The Tonami Clan Park which includes the House of 69 herbs, Kureba Park and Forerunner's Memorial Hall.

The first place we went to was the Buddhist Temple.
Outside the temple. Would have been a better shot without that stupid car.

A statue of Buddha

family grave
The family graves are very expensive. The cremated remains of family member are placed inside this large structure. There were many of these outside the temple.

This was on the ceiling. Made from real gold. 
Buddha's feet!
You can rent a shrine for your family. The higher they are, the cheaper. 

The next part of the tour was the Tonami Clan Park. We went to the "Samurai House" or "House of 69 Herbs." This is a replica of a traditional style Japanese house with really large, lifelike manicans showing what life was like back in the day. 
Home is where you hang your hat!
Two servants eating

a maid reaching for something

In  1872, Yasuto Hirosawa, a samurai warrior of the former Aizu Clan (later Tonami Clan), came to the area, cultivated it, and established the first Western-style ranch in Japan in the Yachigashira district of Misawa City, which at the time, was a small out-of-the-way village. Hirosawa hired two Britons and imported stud horses and bulls from the western world to breed with the local Japanese livestock. He made significant contributions to the improvement of the Japan-bred livestock quality, building the foundation of a modern Japanese lifestock management, and raising the level of local agricultural production. A museum stands in honor of Hirosawa, displaying valuable litereature he wrote, materials and farming equipment used in the old days. Other facilities are; petting zoo, mini golf, battery operated car ride, snack stand, etc. Several events are held throught the year for community participation. (The Tohoku Traveler)

Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm (Apr.-Oct.)
           9:00am-4:00pm (Nov-Mar)
           Closed Mondays Closed 29 Dec-3 Jan.

Admission: Outdoor facilities free
Museum: 50-100yen
Rides: 100-300yen


Go out the Main Gate and turn left at the first stoplight.
Follow this road 3.2km and turn left at the 4th stoplight. There is a lumber mill at this intersection. (Note: the 2nd stoplight is POL road, and the 3rd stoplight goes to Misawa Airport).
Travel 12.2 km and Tonami Clan Park will be on the left. Turn left at the green and white sign to enter the parking lot. 

The Hachinohe Tour

The first tour we went on was for Hachinohe.

There, we went to the fish market. They have a lot of fresh fish here and you can buy sushi already made and some sweets too! Only Yen is accepted.

Take Route 45 or the Toll Road to the Hachinohe exit. If you take the toll road make a right when you come to the light. Travel straight thru two lights and stay in the right lane. After the second light you will proceed through a small tunnel and bridge. At the stoplight there will be a Sunkist corner store on the right. Make a right here. (A large yellow building will be in front of you, this is the Fish Market). Follow this road until you get to the next stoplight and make a right. The parking lot will be on your right and you are there.

This guy is working very hard to make sure we have the freshest fish! 

This is not a real fish. It is like candy!
A really beautiful bonsai display at the Fish Market
I'd be crabby too if my legs were tied together!

We also went to Kushikihi Hachimangu Shrine. I absolutely loooved it here! I have found that I really love Shinto Shrines. They are always in a forest somewhere with really ancient trees. It is very peaceful, quiet and clean. I heard that you can get a "passport" type book at Shinto Shrines and when you go to different shrines a priest will stamp your "passport" It makes a really nice souvenir! I hope to find one someday! We hope to go back to this shrine soon. I prayed for a good job while I was there and I got exactly what I was looking for!

The Torii right outside the shrine

My first prayer at a Shinto Shrine

These horses are often found at Shinto shrines

A number of important national cultural properties and prefectural treasures are kept in the shrine. "The-Red-Thread-Embroidered Armor with Large Sleeves" , one of the national treasures kept in the shrine which is made in the Kamakura Period. I actually paid to see this and it is totally worth the 300 yen! In the museum, right outside the showcase, is a replica of a samurai uniform that you can actually try on!
Me in the samurai replica helmet
Hours: 9:00am to 4:00pm. Open everyday
Admission Fees: Adults: 300 ye/ High School & College Students 200 yen/ Jr.High & Elementary students 100 yen. 


Take the POL road to the toll road entrance.
Take the Momoishi Toll Road to Hachinohe-kita.
The first toll gate comes after 4.5 km, and will cost 200 yen. Exit at Hachinohe-kita after 8.5km. The toll gate here will cost 150yen.
Turn right onto Route 45
After 3.5km, turn right at the light (this intersection has a JOMO gas station on the right).
Follow this road for about 1.5km (you will pass the Fish Market and cross a rail track).
After you cross a river you'll come to an intersection with a stop light. Take a right onto Route 104.
Follow this road for a little more than 1.5km and then you will see the shrine on your left. 

*non-toll road directions will be posted asap*

We also went to Fantasy Dome: Lapia Mall for lunch. I really do enjoy this mall! Here are some directions. I hope to post non-toll road directions soon. Not a fan of paying tolls, I just don't remember how we got there! XD

Directions: (again, stolen from Misawa Life, sumimasen! I'll write my own asap!)
From the toll road exit the Hachinohe station. Make a right on Hwy 45 and travel straight for about 15 minutes until you come to a T-Intersection with Sega World in front of you. Make a left turn in this intersection and get into the right lane. You will make a right turn at the first opportunity (there will be a barrier separating the lanes of traffic). Travel straight down the road and the Fantasy Dome will be directly in front of you. Just follow the P (parking) signs to your left to park.

A fabulous display of shoes at Lapia mall!

There is also a pet store next to Lapia Mall. I feel so bad for those animals! It must be so hot behind the glass!

We also stopped briefly at the Hachinohe Train Station. They had a really beautiful float display there!

The "float"
The Prince and Princess

Take the Momoishi Toll Road to Hachinohe-kita.
Take the POL road to the toll road entrance.
The first toll gate comes after 4.5km, and will cost 200yen
Exit at Hachinohe-kita after 8.5km. The toll gate here will cost 150yen
Turn right onto Route 45.
After 3.0km, exit to the left, followeing signs to "Hachinohe Sta." Turn right at the bottom of the ramp.
Follw this road for 2.9km, and turn right at the stop light (you will pass Harley Davidson on your rifht, and the Fish Market on your left).
After 1.7km, this road comes to a T intersection. Turn right and you will see the station in front of you. (if you need long-term parking, turn right after 1.0km, following signs to the West Exit).
For short-term parking, there is a small parking lot in front of the station. Get in the left hand lane as you drive toward the station. Instead of turning left, cross teh street to the parking lot ticket booth. Parking is free for short-term. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Konnichiwa friends and strangers!

I found that there are many blogs out there for people living in Japan, especially in Misawa (where I am living). I thought that I, too would join the world in sharing my travels and memoirs. I hope to put some detailed descriptions on how to get to popular (and hidden) attractions, the hours and quality of food from different restaurants and my joys and trials of being an English teacher in Japan. I have been here for six weeks so there is a lot of writing to do on all the places I have visited so far. I will keep everything updated as much as possible as I look back and try to remember directions and other various information. So fasten your seat belt and get ready to start driving on the left side of the road. East coast, baby~ Faaar East coast! ^_~