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RC-WIC Picnic 01 - Hanging in the lobby RC-WIC Picnic 01 - Hanging in the lobby 20040914-rcwicpicnic01.jpg
On the 14th, the Japan Study group got to spend a day hiking through the woods and eating a picnic with students/people from the RC and WIC, or the Rainbow Club and Waseda International Club. As usual, I got a picture of everyone milling arond not doing anything in particular, because I like behind-the-scenes shots. They capture more of the "this is what is actually happening here" parts of the events they are detailing rather than highlighting the sensational moments which may or may not really have any significance to the feeling the trip gave.

Wah, that was more of a philosophical ramble there than a picture description... o_O
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RC-WIC Picnic 02 - Walking to 7-11 RC-WIC Picnic 02 - Walking to 7-11 20040914-rcwicpicnic02.jpg
Before the day-long trip, the organizers advised that we head to the local Seven Eleven to stock up on some drinks, because we were going to be gone for quite a while and the day would most likely be quite hot. So, now you can see what it looks like when you leave the NWEC!
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RC-WIC Picnic 03 - Just a Japanese street RC-WIC Picnic 03 - Just a Japanese street 20040914-rcwicpicnic03.jpg
While this isn't the best representation of just how skinny and crowded Japanese streets can be, it's a street nonetheless. Note the vending machine in front of that guy's house. Vending machines are everywhere, and I mean everywhere.

One thing the Japanese do which only makes sense is have mirrors at intersections. Especially with the narrow streets and pedestrians all over the place, these mirrors just... make a lot of sense. Blind corners are no fun to have to deal with on your own, especially with bikers and people everywhere.
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RC-WIC Picnic 04 - Seven Eleven RC-WIC Picnic 04 - Seven Eleven 20040914-rcwicpicnic04.jpg
Oddly, I don't think I've ever been to a Seven Eleven in America, though I'm pretty sure they're all pretty much the same. Lots of foodstuffs, and they're relatively inexpensive.

Which brings up an interesting point: prices in Japan (or at least in the Tokyo area) seem to be relatively constant when it comes to bottled and packaged foods. No matter if you go to the convenience store or the grocery store, OJ is still just about the same price and so is Pocky. Some places may charge one or two yen less, but that's not really anything substantial. Very interesting.
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RC-WIC Picnic 05 - Warp Tom RC-WIC Picnic 05 - Warp Tom 20040914-rcwicpicnic05.jpg
After we got our drinks, we headed over to the kitchens where we learned how to make onigiri, or little triangular rice balls. The rice was very, very hot, straight out of the cooker, so we had to toss them between our hands often to prevent them from burning our fingers and palms.

In this shot, you can see Tom, the resident director, warping into action. *laughs* Yay for unintended camera effects.
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RC-WIC Picnic 06 - The Master teaches 1 RC-WIC Picnic 06 - The Master teaches 1 20040914-rcwicpicnic06.jpg
While the woman with the cloth in her hair actually did most of the showing of how to make the onigiri, the guy in blue was just so awesome-looking that I had to title the image after him. He actually described what the lady was doing, both in English and Japanese, though mostly in English.
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RC-WIC Picnic 07 - The Master teaches 2 RC-WIC Picnic 07 - The Master teaches 2 20040914-rcwicpicnic07.jpg
In this picture, you can see the rice we used as well as the things we put inside the rice balls. Some of them contained what I'm pretty sure was salmon bits, while others contained a type of pickled Japanese plum. The Japanese like their [insert anything here] pickled. ;)
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RC-WIC Picnic 08 - Slicing the best pears ever RC-WIC Picnic 08 - Slicing the best pears ever 20040914-rcwicpicnic08.jpg
Japanese pears are amazingly delicious: they're about the shape and size of large grapefruits, and have a crispness to them like apples, but still the softness of pears most people in America are familiar with. They're called nashi and they are AWESOME. And quite expensive, too... usually well over a dollar apiece, I'd say. But hey, I'd pay that much for something that tasty.

And no, that bowl is not full of fingers that got cut off while everyone was slicing the pears up... they're actually little sausages. *laughs*
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RC-WIC Picnic 09 - A very purple van RC-WIC Picnic 09 - A very purple van 20040914-rcwicpicnic09.jpg
This is a very purple van. Yes indeed.

Note how low it rides. A sports van..?
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RC-WIC Picnic 10 - Approaching the mountain RC-WIC Picnic 10 - Approaching the mountain 20040914-rcwicpicnic10.jpg
The group walked quite a while to get to the picnic spot on the mountain, and on the way I was able to get many nice pictures. This spot is actually quite a rural area: lots of farms (hatake) and not many roads. Power lines are still everywhere, though. We didn't walk SO far that power disappeared, too. ^__^
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RC-WIC Picnic 11 - Landscape shot 1 RC-WIC Picnic 11 - Landscape shot 1 20040914-rcwicpicnic11.jpg
Now here's a good town and country shot: in the foreground you've got rural Ranzan, and in the background you've got not-as-rural Ranzan. I thought this was a rather nice shot, especially with the large white Japanese-style house slightly off-center. Note how the shingles are; they're like that all across Japan.
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RC-WIC Picnic 12 - Japanese farm RC-WIC Picnic 12 - Japanese farm 20040914-rcwicpicnic12.jpg
Here's one of the aforementioned hatake. Looks cozy, don't it?
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RC-WIC Picnic 13 - Photo-op in the forest RC-WIC Picnic 13 - Photo-op in the forest 20040914-rcwicpicnic13.jpg
The lady in pink was a Japanese woman who tagged along with the group, and the guy is one of the Japan Study students. They were in front of an amazing valley-like chasm that was full of trees, so I had to snap a picture. Very awesome; unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a picture of just the trees.
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RC-WIC Picnic 14 - Japanese flower RC-WIC Picnic 14 - Japanese flower 20040914-rcwicpicnic14.jpg
This is a very interesting kind of flower; I don't think I've seen the likes of it before anywhere in America. They were growing all over the place, too, which was cool. The lady following us said I should take a picture of them, so I did. Yay for flowers!
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RC-WIC Picnic 15 - By said flower RC-WIC Picnic 15 - By said flower 20040914-rcwicpicnic15.jpg
And here's a picture of me by one of the aforementioned flowers. Yay for flowers again!
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RC-WIC Picnic 16 - Famous poem RC-WIC Picnic 16 - Famous poem 20040914-rcwicpicnic16.jpg
This is a rather famous poem in Japan written by a rather famous Japanese poet. Sadly, I can't read it and I don't know what it's called, either. It looks beautiful, though!

Maybe someone here knows..?
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RC-WIC Picnic 17 - Me and a Monkey RC-WIC Picnic 17 - Me and a Monkey 20040914-rcwicpicnic17.jpg
No explanation needed. ;)
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RC-WIC Picnic 18 - Monkeying around RC-WIC Picnic 18 - Monkeying around 20040914-rcwicpicnic18.jpg
I suppose this one could use some explanation, but I still think it's rather self-explanatory. o_O
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RC-WIC Picnic 19 - Kireina kawa RC-WIC Picnic 19 - Kireina kawa 20040914-rcwicpicnic19.jpg
As we walked with the Japanese woman and stopped to check out all the sights, we ended up losing sight of the rest of the group and actually got lost. At one point we realized that we could either continue up the path or head off to the left and across a beautiful river. We (erroneously) figured the group would take the scenic route, so we headed over as well. So, this is a picture I normally wouldn't have been able to take had I not taken the chance to get lost. ^__^
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