Old-School Housing 

Compared to other cities in Japan, Kitakami is relatively young. Consequently, there aren't many examples of traditional Japanese architecture around. This house is one of the few.

We're not sure whether this is actually an old house or a newer one built in the traditional style.
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We attended an event for the local Okinawan joint on Saturday evening. As we were leaving, the owner's sister gave us a dragonfruit that she had grown and brought from Okinawa.

Dragonfruit tastes rather like kiwi, but less tart. They're as pretty on the inside as they are outside. Some are all pink with black seeds; others, like ours, have a thin layer of pink between the skin and white pulp with black seeds

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Another Dewy Web 

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Jeweled Web 

On a misty autumn morning, spider webs are bejeweled with dew. There are many spiders that build large webs here, so the effect is quite spectacular.

The large, colorful spider makes a nice backdrop for the web; equally, the web makes a striking backdrop for the spider.

Even the spider's legs glitter with dewdrops.

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Fall in the City 

Looking out over the Kitakami Poem Park on a beautiful October day.

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On beautiful early autumn days like today, the dragonflies come out in swarms. Akatonbo is the generic name for any red-bodied dragonfly.

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Froggyback Ride 

As the nights get cold and we brace for the approaching winter, here's a photo to remind us of spring and the approaching summer.

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Gratuitous Autumn Food Photo, 2008 Edition 

If I had to leave Japan knowing about only one new food, it would be takikomi gohan.

Takikomi gohan is rice cooked along with other stuff in water seasoned with soy sauce and other flavorings. It's also called gomoku gohan, five-ingredient rice, presumably because most recipes have five ingredients. This recipe calls for chicken, carrot, shiitake mushrooms, aburaage, and gobou (burdock root). It's one of our favorite fall dinners, alongside some homemade rice-bran pickles.
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Local Farming 

In a country where sharp, craggy mountains dominate the landscape, farmers plant their fields wherever there's a large enough expanse of flat land. Sometimes, cities grow up around those fields.

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A Visit to the Sea 

Why have we posted so many sea photos this week? It's because we took a trip to Miyako, on the Pacific coast of Iwate. Matthew had a model railroad event there, so we took the opportunity to explore part of Iwate we hadn't visited and enjoy some fresh seafood.

Miyako is most famous for its spectacular rock formations, especially those at Jodogahama.

There's a protected rocky beach at Jodogahama, where old women spread out konbu seaweed to dry.

We were there pretty early in the morning, which turned out to be a good thing. We got to see the nearly empty beach, but less than an hour later it was overrun with tourists.

Of course, no visit to the sea is complete without fresh seafood. We stayed at a minshuku (a kind of traditional "bed and dinner and breakfast" lodge) owned by a fisherman. Naturally, the morning's catch was the evening's dinner.

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