Tuesday, 30 March 2010


I had a lovely 2 days in Niigata. Lily and the boys met me at the station and it was action from thereon in. They are off to Cairns at the end of  April and as part of the build up to going have been painting rocks in dot style of desert Aboriginies and avidly reading up on the flora and fauna... I am not sure if I knew that the Tawny Frogmouth is not an owl... Tomoya is particularly taken with the sound of the digeridoo and the idea of a kookaburra in a gum tree. (Inspired in part by the Australian 12 days of Christmas).  
Lily has easels set up in the lounge room for Tomoya and Reo and they take much more more interest in it than the TV - quite an achievement.  I had fun with Tomoya playing hide and seek - Japanese bathtbubs are the right size to hide in!  He has a remarkable ability to laugh so every fibre in his body is laughing. And you can't but help laugh back. Reo has become increasingly chatty, particularly in English.  It still surprises me that children are able to absorb different langauges at the same time and still have a clear sense of which words belong to which language.

On Wed. Lily's friend Kazuo san, came over.  He is a native Niigata-ite and has extensive knowledge about the area.  We went on a walk  across Bandai Bridge - the symbol of the city - and through the old parts of town.  Niigata, as I perhaps mentioned in an earlier post, was one of the first cities opened to trade in the modern era.  Unlike the other cities - Hakkodate, Kobe, Yokahama and Nagasaki - Niigata has few old western style buildings.  According to Kazuo-san the port was too shallow to facilitate the docking of big ships, and it therefore saw less trade.    We climbed (actually took a lift) to the top of the city's second highest building from where we could see Sado Island clearly.  When the weather is warmer, it would make for an interesting trip - it used to have a gold mine and was a place to which political prisoners were exiled.  Winter on Sado, before the advent of electricity, would have been a very tough place to have been....

To my regret, I didn't take photos of the city... I must have been talking to much....

I took the train on the Thursday to Odate.  The train that left at 10.02 arrived in Odate at the same time as the train that left at 11.40.  I was having fun where I was and that, combined with the inclement weather made the 11.40 train a more attractive option. 

And so I continued north.

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