Olympic Hopes

At the train station arriving in Nagano, a delightful Japanese town that hosted the 1998 winter Olympics.

These are cool statues along the access road to the shrine.

We were drooling as we passed the shops with their food samples in the windows. This is the restaurant we came back to for soba. Yum.

There is a 7 springs hike nearby.

And here is a gorgeous hand painted manhole cover celebrating the famous apples from the region. They are deservedly famous. I became addicted to the fresh apple juice, apple sake, and fresh apples.

A mn so outlines the sacred places at the temple.

The beautiful shrine appears embraced by the trees.

A fruit stand where we bought one of the famous apples.


Nagano was one of my favorite places in Japan. I think it was the apples. Do you have a favorite place in Japan? Where?

Soba Students

The materials ready to make soba noodles (buckwheat)
Ray kneading the dough into submission
The instructor cutting the noodles

As you might imagine, our noodles weren’t done as quickly or as evenly as the instructor’s. It was a easy-sounding process in theory: lean the knife into the dough, cut, repeat. In reality, not so easy.

Finished soba noodle soup and accompanying tempura

The soup can be served hot or cold. In this case it was cold. While I much prefer it hot, cold soba soup and eels are considered cooling dishes for hot days.