I'm in a hurry this morning -- I'm on my way to Nagoya for Halloween -- so I have to keep this short today. Yesterday, I went to Jibuzaka, a small skiing area in southern Nagano, to visit some of Taeko-san's friends and to see autumn leaves. The drive was about three and a half hours -- my first time driving in Japan -- and mountain roads almost the whole way. It was wonderful driving, and a great chance for Taeko-san and me to talk -- I'll have to write more about that later.
Den-en Art Space, Iida City, Nagano Prefecture. It's an art gallery, focusing on paintings and hand-made pottery, and we stopped here for a couple hours to talk with Taeko-san's friends.
I bought the plate at the upper-right hand corner. 2,200 yen; ~$27 US.
Den-en also serves tea -- this is the maccha (a Japanese-style bitter green tea) set, served with a sweet bean dish on the side that pairs with the bitter tea very nicely.
Me and the owners of Den-En. They were incredibly nice to us -- bringing us coffee and amazingly fresh Iida apples and cookies as we talked. They even gave me a little hand-painted manuki neko charm that was normally 2,000 yen.
Taeko-san with Fukatsu-san outside the art space.
Iida City, Nagano Prefecture.
A stream in Jibuzaka Pass.
Autumn leaves in Jibuzaka.
Tofu Set Lunch at Nakaya restaurant, Jibuzaka. It was all I needed to eat all day.