~/.diary schedule

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Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
AXL28: Do listening part of homework (JapanProject)

2. Small earthquake

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1. Hakone and Odawara

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It was too cloudy to take pretty pictures or even see Fuji-san, but my Hakone and Odawara trip was still quite fun.

I wanted to catch sunrise at Odawarajou, remembering how Papa takes early-morning or sunset shots to get nice sunlight. So we woke up at 5:00 and got ready to catch the 5:30 sunrise... only to find out that the hotel doors wouldn't actually open until 6:30.


Well, I _tried._

So we went back to sleep until around 7:30. Then we followed the recommended Odawara/Hakone tour, taking bus, boat, ropeway (aka cable car), cable car (aka tram), and train around the scenic area. We also visited the shrine, as I thought the red torii gates might make nice pictures.

I didn't get an opportunity to go to the ancient cedar avenue or the Hakone Checkpoint. Maybe I'll go to the area again in winter in order to see Mt. Fuji capped in snow.

We hiked to Owadakuni Valley to check out the volcanic vents. There were a few sulphuric springs. Stalls sold kurotamago, eggs cooked using volcanic heat. I bought some. If you peel away the intimidating black shell, it's your usual delicious hard-boiled egg.

On the way back, I convinced the guys to go with me to the Toy Museum. It was full of the most amazing things. I'm particularly fascinated by moving toys. There was even a cooking pig that held a frying pan with a plastic egg in one hoof and a bottle of pepper in the other. When wound, it would shake the frying pan, add pepper, and flip the egg! Neato. The second floor had even more of those pretty moving toys-- elaborate scenes that moved in the display case.

But by far the most amazing discovery was a music box museum which Mom would've really, really liked. One of the attendants explained how different kinds of music boxes work. She also played many music boxes. I was fascinated by the different kinds of automata people had the skill to make.

One music box was in the form of a glass cage. Inside it, two toy birds warbled, moving their tails and heads in such a life-like manner. Another was a clown bent over a table, holding a quill in his hand and writing by the light of a small gas lamp. When the clown nodded off to sleep, the lamp grew dim. The clown woke up, turned the lamp on again, and continued to write.

I bought a small glass angel musicbox at the museum store. I think my mom would love it as a souvenir. (Of course, blogging about it completely spoils the surprise, but ah well.) I'm not sure if I should send it by mail now. I'm worried about the glass. Alternatively, I could take it with me and let the music remind me of my family... =)

The trip was fun. It took less time than I'd budgeted, though, so maybe next time I'll do it as a day trip instead. Anyway, there are reasons to go back - Fuji-san on a clear day, Odawara castle, Hakone checkpoint - although I can probably get similar experiences elsewhere. Still, it was cool!

The only downside was that one of my classmates tried to hit on me. After some explanation (in Japanese! =) ), I think I managed to get the point across that I just want to concentrate on my studies. Besides, I sorta like someone already. <laugh> But I'm still concentrating on my studies! =)

Okay, back to work! I made sure to finish the draft for tomorrow's presentation before I left, but there are a few odds and ends I need to take care of--the listening part of my homework, for example...

Apologies to people who haven't been able to view my site lately. I don't know what caused that error... AHA! Someone else's config. I was looking for bugs. The header and footer accidentally got used for my real page.