Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Gifu, as I see it...
I am the last apartment on the fourth floor (#501, but there is no 4th floor in my building - "4" being a bad-luck number as it is the same word as "death").* I wasn't planning on making this a panoramic photo, so the pics don't match up perfectly, but you get the idea. Right next to my balcony is the rooftop of the building next door (the concrete that you see at the very left is the wall). The mountain in the background, also on the left, is Mount Kinka (Kinka-zan), and perched at the very tip is Gifu Castle (which you can't really see in this picture since I had to reduce its size). I don't know what the purpose of the round tower on the building behind me (one over) is - all I know is, it blocks a chunk of nice mountain view, and thank goodness I have never seen anyone up in it, as they would be able to see directly into my apartment if they were. I walked past the building it is attached to the other day, and it seems to be a perfectly normal residence...so I have no idea. Immediately behind me, below my balcony, is a garden where an old man comes to work almost every day from about 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Otherwise, it is mostly residential housing behind my apartment. The house next to the front garden is a private residence and has a nice little inner courtyard. There is another large garden across the street (now bare), that had some vegetation growing in it in August. I recently discovered that the patch of trees you can see behind the houses next to the bare garden hides a Shinto shrine, and that is where I take my paper, cardboard and can recycling on the 22nd of every month (the other types of garbage/recycling get picked up weekly from in front of my building). Finally, you can see a long set of taller buildings to the right of where the shrine is, on the right-hand side of the picture: that is the Gifu Red Cross Hospital.
Just past these buildings, and between me and Kinka-zan, runs the Nagaragawa (Nagara River). I plan on heading down there someday this fall and taking some pictures as it's quite pretty, especially now that the water-level is rising again (it was amazingly low in August when I arrived). On the other side of the Nagaragawa is downtown Gifu City - I live in the north end of town (Gifukita - kita means "north" - which is also, of course, the name of my school).
OK, random shot of apartment is next:
Mental note to self: Clean up apartment before taking and posting picture next time!
This picture doesn't do it justice. It really is a nice apartment. And I have a separate kitchen (no pics available), which kicks ass (many city-dwellers do not). The only thing I hate about my apartment is my uncomfortable futon(s), but I'm working on fixing that.
OK, the pic of my nighttime view is not available (turns out I haven't downloaded it off my camera yet, and I'm too lazy to go look for the cable necessary to do so), so here's my futon and me!
Which, incidentally, is where I am headed momentarily.
* Shi. "4" is also, and more commonly, said yon. Shi is, I believe, the word imported from the original Chinese - I don't know if it also means "death" in that language. Many Japanese characters (kanji) have at least two pronunciations (and often many, many more): the original Chinese pronunciation (called the on reading) and the Japanese pronunciation (the kun reading), since Japan "imported" the Chinese written language and applied it wholescale to its spoken language.