Ashikaga City



At and Onsen (bath house/spa) enjoying a beer after the "Mongolian Sauna"

Celebrating my boss' birthday with fellow English teachers

Around Ashikaga

A temple in the foothills of Ashikaga

During Sakura (cherry blossom festival) they hang these coy kites along a river

Kay-chan (Keisuke) owns the BEST ramen shop in Japan.  I could be found there almost as often as my friend, Casey (right).

Akio and Kazuko are great.  I stumbled into Akio's shop because it looked so much like a funky Cambridge used shop (Garment District-like), and became friends quickly.  He's REALLY funny, and rude.  I like how UN-Japanese he is much of the time.  Totally excentric indivual.

Casey and some of Kay-chan's baseball team eat at Kay-chan's ramen shop.  Typical shared spread of food.

Yuko and her friend.  Yuko owns a great restaurant (my favorite!) near my old house in Ashikaga.  It's Korean BBQ style, which means they bring you a little grill, and the raw meat, and you cook the food yourself at the table.  It's a favorite place for couples because it's very nice, and dimmly lit.  This is us eating something she couldn't explain at first, but once I saw it I realised it is parfait - the Japanese think this is Japanese food (as they do curry, dumplings, and crepes).  These girls almost finished off this HUGE parfait all by themselves.

I don't really know Solene or Kevin very well, but when I was travelling I used services such as and now that I have stopped I offer my place and suggestions to other travellers to Japan.  These are 2 such travellers who stayed with me for a night on their way to Nikko.  They are from Bath.

Ashikaga is most famous for this school.  This was the first school in Japan (Confusian).  It is only a museum now, but it's very old, and pretty.

In the summer there are TONS of festivals in Japan.  This was such a street festival/parade near my house.  These would have been carts pulled by people in the old days (see the Nikko pictures), but they don't seem to care about the loss of such aesthetics...

Another example of a festival/parade "float".

Traditional style clothes worn only for festivals.  None of my Japanese freinds could tell me what they mean, but notice the cool shoes.  The socks for these shoes are made in Gyoda (my current city) and is one of the only things Gyoda is known for.

...Child labor?  No, this is a shrine being carried by elementary school boys in the same festival.

Awa-odori dancers.  This costume and hat is only for these dancers, even though they look like rice field hats from China.

Old style shoes and socks (again, the kind made in Gyoda).  The wooden shoes are the same as the plates used in sushi shops, and a long time ago they WERE old sushi plates... but Japanese don't know much about these kinds of things, so it's hard to confirm it as "common knowledge".