June 6th 1998, a Saturday

Today was the day to spend with the family. The first activity was visiting school. Because Sugiyama is an English teacher, we visited his class. A student teacher was there, so he observes her all this week and next week.

As for the class, I was quite impressed as to the difficulty of the poetry and prose they read. Keep in mind, this is only a second year English Class. Sugiyama, I think, has spent too much time in English class in America·he actually fell asleep! In his own class!

After class, we went to the Matsumoto Castle, and museum. The castle was beautiful. 400 years old, the castle is still standing using original, completely hand carved timbers. Inside the castle, it was interesting as to the defenses against attack. Even the staircases were about 56¡ up to slow enemy samurais. It was difficult for me to ascend the six stories of stairs even without the forty pounds of armor and swords.

The museum held a model of the city in ancient times, as well as pictures of all the birds that could be found in the Nagano Prefecture. I know my mom would have liked that.

Lunch, and a trip to the IMAX followed. It was a one hour drive, but worth it as the movie was excellent. The video was actually about the area, and showed breathtaking panoramas of the mountains in each of the four seasons. Also, the movie showed a festival where a large float is made of straw and a group of attackers try to burn it down. Defenders, however, try to fend off the fires for as long as they can.

Nerd's Comment: The Karaoke Machine works via phone line, and the songs can be kept up to date through a server this way.

Next, we traveled to a horseradish farm. Most people think, "Yes! COOL!" at least I did! Actually, it was not that bad. I tasted many of the foods, and · er · drinks made from this vegetable. This is a special farm, because one needs cold water that is clean to grow horseradish. I even had ice cream with horseradish flavoring.

Dinner was again great. Today it was tofu, beef, rice, and various vegetables along with mizu soup. The evening was spent defeating Gaku in his Super Famicom games.

It does not look like I will finish my audio tape of the Nagano stations. Too much talking!! Tomorrow will be our trip to Kyoto, we leave at 2:00 PM. I am not sure what we are doing, the Sugiyama's and I, but it will be hard to leave, as they have been fun.