Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Hallothanksadvent (I)

Last weekend brought a tornado of holidays into my life. We had been planning to celebrate Thanksgiving on Saturday. Patrick's family was going to drive down and we were going to cook a large bid. As you may have guessed, that was canceled at the last minute. I hope that the turkey we ordered was at least spared. In my subconscious, the absence of Thanksgiving automatically means Christmas, without realizing I was doing it, I went into Christmas mood the day I found out Thanksgiving was called off. I made plans to have dinner at the newly opened Christmas market, bought twinkle lights for our office plant friend and picked up an Advent wreath at the grocery store. The tree was decorated before I realized what I was doing. As we ate our 1/2 meter wursts, there was a bit of an empty feeling inside, partly because it was not cold enough, partly because it was Thanksgiving, and partly because I had burned the roof of my mouth the previous evening and was unable to indulge in a hot drink. We called it a night and decided to stop at the grocery store on the way home. While there, I had a change of heart which started in the dairy section when I heard Christmas music coming from the speaker above. It continued into the produce section where I saw a sign explaining the concept of buying apples by the case and not individually and got all the apples I needed (and more) to make my Thanksgiving apple pie. Finally, we strolled through the meat section where Patrick pointed out a sole Turkey leg sitting in the fridge. We picked up that leg and with it decided to have our own Thanksgiving the following evening, just the 2 of us. It was perfect. (Note: photos to follow, Blogger is having technical difficulties)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Once again, waiting for my life to begin

You know that feeling, when you're in high school and again when you are in college, just 4, 3, 2, 1 more year(s) until my life begins. I feel that way again but, speaking as someone whose life has already begun in a not so traditional sort of way, I can't decide if this is a good or bad thing. I lived in RI for the first 22 years of my life, in the same house, on the same street, in the same city, until I went to college. I spent my college years in and out of dorms, my parents house, London, camp bunks and shared houses. For the 4 + 1 years I lived in college, I never spent 2 years in the same place. In the 3 years since I've finished grad school I've had a brief stay over in my parents house followed by two apartments in two different German cities. Next month, I move into my third apartment. I claim I hate to move but somehow moving always excites me. New apartment, new decoration, new colors, new set up, etc. I sit here staring at my computer, overshadowed by the gray, cold day out my window and think about moving. Moving out of Mannheim, in 3 years when my life begins. I daydream about a summer in the US. First I think about the familiar East Coast and then my mind wanders across the country to California's sunshine and the idea of new beaches, new waves. I slip and let myself contemplate a summer in Tokyo, two months to explore the rest of Japan on the weekends. It all sounds so appealing. It makes me wonder if I can ever be happy in the present, although I often am, for long periods of time. One day, I plan to own a house with land and ocean proximity will that keep grounded in one place or am I destined to day dream of the next big adventure. Will my American summer become a reality or remain a figment of my dreams? Sunshine would make me so happy right now...summer just left and I am already begging it to come back.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Project 365 - 12 - 22

Aug. 30th - Today was biking day on the wine street but since I posted photos of bikes and vineyards in its own post, here's one of a mama swan and her ugly ducklings swimming in the Rhein. Since we did more eating and drinking than biking, we took the scenic route home by the river. Aug. 31st - I have no idea what this is but it was dated Aug. 31st so I felt it was better than nothing. Bonus points if you can figure out what it is a picture of. Sept. 1st thru 3rd -missing Sept. 4th - We went out to dinner with two of my friends and their boyfriends at Osaka. It's a Japanese cook at your table deal and they dressed us all in these rose scented robes. It was a classic good food and good friends kind of night. I still can't believe people had room for chocolate cake, I think I would have exploded. Sept. 5th - I have no words, I found this thing and just handed Patrick the camera, I was completely in shock. It's some sort of cabbage. Sept. 6th thru 8th - missing Sept. 9th - This was another apartment we looked at, it had a lot of character and a great location and look how huge this private balcony is. But it was run down and the land lord wanted to raise the price so we took ourselves out of the running.

Project 365 - 6-11

I loved the idea of taking a photo EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR but it just has not happened so I've decided to keep trying and if I miss a day, I'll note that. The first day I missed was day 10. Aug. 24th - I started the refinishing/upholstering this chair for my friend's baby's 1st Birthday. It's an antique that I picked up last year in my chair phase. Aug. 25th - A colleague and I hosted the tutors for a raclette dinner (we didn't use the real raclette cheese). It was a nice evening but the only picture I took was of setting up the table. I love raclette. Aug. 26th - Today we looked at a nice apartment practically across the street from where we live now. It was great but we didn't get it because we were not ready to move in Sept. 1. Look at that bath tub, someone is going to enjoy a nice relaxing bubble bath in there. Aug. 27th - This is the only picture I took on the 27th and we were goofing off, oh well we are fun people. Aug, 28th is without a photo. Aug 29th - I finished that chair and made a bow out of the leftover fabric. Kayla's birthday is Sept. so, just in time, hope she likes it!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


I've been sick for almost an entire week. I've been to the doctor twice and he seems to think I just need time and rest (no swine flu for me). So, I needed to find something to occupy my time. Naturally, I turned to the internet, although I did watch a bit of trashy MTV on the projector (we don't own a conventional TV and I love it). You know an MTV show is super trashy when they don't even bother with voice overs in German, just a text translation and I love it. Anyway, I can't lay in bed and watch actual streaming TV so I turned to my lap top. I actually got sick just in time for the return of the fall schedule in the US and thanks to the Internet I am caught up on EVERYTHING.
Going beyond my favorites and the new Pilots, I needed something else to occupy my time that fit within my low energy attention span. Welcome Californication. I always liked the name of the show but hadn't had much of an idea of the plot. I assumed it took place in California but now I know it is a lot more about fornication than California. The main character is a novelist with a teenage daughter and a baby mama otherwise known as his soul mate. He chases her and they raise their daughter together. Sometimes they are together, sometimes they are not, when they're off, he's catching up on his fornication in California. The underlying theme seems to be sex drugs and rock and roll, it's clear why this is Showtime's baby. I'm not sure if it is at all reflective of life in California but it's not that far off from the Hills and that was a reality show. Either way, it's captivating. In 3 day's I've watched two full seasons and will easily watch the 2 episodes (I've already seen the most recent one) of the current third season tomorrow.
Anyone else watching this show? What other series came out in the past 3 years that I may have missed while being out of the country? I still have 3 days of being home sick and will surely require further entertaining.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


I live in Germany. I work at a German University. I want to take a German course. There are German courses offered at the University. I am not allowed to take them. Today was thebreaking point. For a week, I had been waiting to hear back from the woman in charge of courses. She called me back today, I was optimistic based on our last conversation. She told me she looked into it and since I am not an exchange student, I will be unable to take a course. The best (scharciasm is necessary) part, the decision was made by the various departments because doctoral canidates do not need German. While this is true to a point, I have to attend staff meetings in German, my students mostly speak German and the majority of hte administrative staff at the University speaks only German, but it is not necessary for my job and thus I can't have a course. Seriously? I got so frustrated when, after a year of searching for a course, I hit this wall I just cried, in. my. office. - talk about professional. **Update: I have a German course. I had a meeting with my boss this afternoon and expressed my frustrations (in a much calmer way than above). She called the business school and now I have a German course. I have no idea about the level, all I know is it meets 3 hours per week and they will let me in. She told me to try it out and I am more than happy to do so. Yay German!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Good Things Come in Small Packages Part 1

Edit: This post was written for the wedding blog but I posted it in the wrong place. Since it is so photo heavy, I am having trouble moving and don't want to start over but thought I should explain the RI/wedding references. Apologies for the confusion. I just found this link via a Tweet and it inspired me to start posting about RI. If you have not been to RI, and I know this includes about 10% or so of our guest list, hopefully you will learn a little bit about the smallest state in the nation.
The focus of this post, in case you haven't clicked on that link is food. Particularly RI specialties. Let's take a bit of a culinary photo tour featuring the foods I grew up on and nicely compiled in the link above, shall we.
Starting with what I like to call cold pizza. This culinary delight is a native Rhode Islander, best from Crugnale's bakery or any bakery in Cranston. Sometimes it is referred to as bakery pizza (because you buy it at a bakery, not a pizza shop) or party pizza (aou will find it at EVERY party). Since I just told you you can find it at every party, I guess this should be on our wedding menu, maybe the caters will let us bring some in. In looking for a photo, I found some cute commentary, you can read about cold pizza from a fellow transplanted Rhode Islander. I loved this quote, " can find it here and there in the Northeast. But Rhode Island owns the niche."

Moving on, you will need a nice refreshing treat and you MUST have a Del's soft frozen lemonade while in RI. Pictured is the watermelon and lemon variety. As a kid, we only had the lemon, followed by lemon lite and then watermelon. Last May, I went to Del's and found a whole selection of new flavors but I still prefer the original. Mr. Lemon in Providence is rumored to be better than Del's (which is a BIG statement to make in RI) but I can't sing their praises since the one time I had it, ended in a car accident (I was sitting in the back seat). Del's is a must "eat" while in the ocean state and available at several Del's shops, trucks and carts.

Photo Source

Now that we left the snack food behind, let's talk main dish in the form of a Lobster Roll (the picture here looks so delicious but was too big for my blog and I couldn't do the necessary resizing right now). The lobster roll is the ultimate in fancy meets casual. You can get one of these babies at a clam shack or a formal restaurant. In the right area, you can even buy one from McDonald's during the summer. Think lobster tail chopped up with a dressing in a toasted hot dog style bun with a pickle on the side, nom nom nom. I was never a fan of the lobster roll, until I tried one (in 2006), unfortunately I'm not in RI during the summer enough to tell you where to eat my favorite but I'm sure you could find one on your own. I have never had the McD's version but would not make that your first.

For a seafood treat that I am a lot more familiar with, try some clam cakes and chowder (say: chow-da). The basic ingredients in clam chowder are clams, potatoes and onions, often other ingredients are added and every chef has his or her own twist. There are three main types of clam chowder available in RI.
For the purists, there is the ever elusive, RI chowder, sometimes referred to as quahog chowder. When done right this is super delicious but not on many menus.
Photo source
The always available and my choice is New England or White clam chowder. I love to drop in oyster crackers or dip my clam cakes! I am trying really hard to get this on the wedding menu. If you want an upscale version, try the Blue Fin Grill in the Providence Marriott, they serve New England clam chowder year round, clam cakes are not on the menu but the calamari appetizer is pretty good too if you are looking for a pairing but be sure to share, the chowder is filling.
The third type of clam chowder is Manhattan or red, which is the favorite of my mom, a non seafood eater. This is also easily available at most clam shacks or seafood restaurants. Typically it is more of a soup and less clammy than the others (which naturally explains why mom likes it so much).

Photo source

You MUST pair your chowder with clam cakes. These deep fried little guys are not light and I would not recommend more than 3 per sitting, your stomach will thank you later. The ones pictured below are from what is quite possibly, my favorite clam shack by the beach, Aunt Carries.

Photo source

All of this delicious RI food is making my mouth water and my stomach grumble so I am going to stop daydreaming and think about a more realistic dinner. Don't think that's all RI has to offer, I will be back with more temptation from the smallest state.

Sunday Fun Day

My day went something like this... bike, train, wine, bike, wine, bike, photos (repair pause), bike, wine, lunch, bike, ice cream and sekt, bike, wine, bike, strasenbahn, bike. This sequence could never happen in the US for so many reasons but it was such as great day, the US should really rethink that public consumption lay and encourage cycling and riding public transportation, it would all make people happier and is great for the environment. I digress, back to the story...
Last Sunday, along with 330,000 people, we went on a cycling tour in the Pfaltz, along the Germany wine street. One day per year, the street is closed to all motorized traffic until 6pm, in this time cyclists, in line skaters and a few walkers descend on the Pfaltz to sample the regional wine and culinary delights. We arrived at the station to learn our train was delayed, after a 20 minute wait, we barely made it into the train in Mannheim. The bike car below is intended to carry 12 bicycles and was one of two on this train, looks like DB was not ready to meet the demand. We anticipated riding the train to Neustadt but decided to get off one stop earlier and bike to the trail to avoid being overwhelmed by people and bikes at the station. You can see a map of the wine street for the event here. We started toward the middle and rode north.

Once on the trail, we were instantly convinced by the apres-ski style music. There were so many cyclists, I was overwhelmed. About 10 minutes into our ride, we stopped for our first wine schorle (Riesling with sparkling water in case you forgot). Prost!

Our stop was at a roadside tent manned by a dive club. They were very prepared but it was still 11am and most people were just starting out. I think we were the first group to stop here. The schorle was refreshing and the dive team was more than happy to entertain us. They even let us sample their flammkuchen. Excited for the day ahead of us, we rejoined the trail and continued our trek in the direction of Deidesheim, set to meet more friends for lunch at 1. We soon realized we had an hour to ride 4km and decided to stop again.

This time we had a sweet schorle which was very nice. It tasted a bit like a berry ginger ale in case you were wondering. Soon we were biking through the vineyards.

The weather was just perfect but our trek was about to hit a real roadblock. Patrick spent the better part of Saturday getting his bicycle in line on account of the fact that it has not been used since before he went to the US in 2005. He replaced the chain and checked both tires for leaks. It was at this point in our day that the new chain broke. It literally snapped off his bike. Luckily we were pretty close to a bike help station set up by the TKW.

While the bike was on the operating table (they literally put it on a table to fix the chain), the girls wandered into the wine fields for a brief photo shoot.

About one hour and 20 EUR later we were back on the trail and late for lunch. Luckily the friends we were set to meet were also running late and we were able to flag them down as they rode past. I managed to take a picture of the schorle but we were hungry and the camera was away by the time the food came. I had a delicious home made bratwurst and I am generally not a fan of the brats so this was either really good or I was hungry, I would tend to argue in favor of the former.

After lunch we were on the move again, heading towards Wachenheim, home of Schloss Wachenheim which is actually a winery famous for their Sekt. We were not without proper castles. We found this one along the way, we first saw it from a distance when we stopped looking for meat skewers and found an American flag (only waffles so we moved on). When we got closer, it was really picture perfect.

So perfect, in fact, that we asked another cyclist to take our group photo with the castle in the background.

All in all it was a great day and we all instantly agreed to do it again next year. I think this may be my favorite photo from the day, we all look so naturally happy and the sun is shining and the castle is peaking out. This was also where the pony rides were offered by the same family who was selling grilled horse meat but that's a different story.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

365 : 1-5

I mentioned before that I would start Project 365 on my Birthday and use this as the medium. I'm doing the version where you take a photo of something each day, not necessarily your face, and include a brief caption/explanation. Ideally, it will be fun to look back on and remember what I did each day during the year. This may be mostly self serving but I decided to post the pictures to hopefully provide a glimpse into my daily life in Germany. August 19-23, 2009. 19.08.09 -Patrick took me to an amazing 4 course dinner in the wine region to celebrate my birthday. This was my main, sea bass. We drank a white wine made from red grapes for the first time, it was from the winery. 20.08.09 - This was the hottest day of the year and Mannheim recorded the highest temperature in Germany. After work, Nina and I headed to the lake in Heddesheim, we waited in line to get in and swam as late as 7pm! This picture was taken around 8pm as we readied ourselves to leave. 21.08.09 - Went shopping to prepare for the B-Day/end of summer BBQ I am hosting tomorrow. This is what a BBQ for 20 guests looks like. 22.08.09 - Birthday BBQ was a success, served burgers and dogs and everyone sang the German Happy Birthday song to me, it is much nicer than the simple English Happy Birthday. 23.08.09 - Baked my own Birthday cake to bring to the office tomorrow. Since half the dept. was on vacation on my actual birthday we will have cake at the jour fixe. It's a Betty Crocker mix and frosting and I can't remember the last time I ate an Americna box cake, I hope it will be as moist as I remember. Brought the box and frosting in my suitcase from my trip to the US last Feb. just so I could make a birthday cake.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August 19th

Twenty six years ago today I was born and this is the first birthday I have ever spent at work (or school for that matter). I have been working (at least during the summer) since my sixteenth birthday thus I have had 10 previous opportunities to work on my birthday and have avoided each of them. I know this is kind of a lame topic but I'm sitting at work, waiting for the day to end and realize this is not the way to spend a birthday. My colleagues and I all went to a nice lunch at the Bootshaus overlooking the river and it was a perfect day for sitting on the deck and celebrating the day.
As a summer baby, I have had some pretty good birthdays. As a kid, pool parties were always a possibility but hardly happened due to the weather. I had more than one outdoor party though and I recall one at Papa Ginos, although none were actually on the 19th. As I got older, I've spent my birthday at an amusement park, at Alton Jones, on the beach, on Block Island (with Patrick), and last year on vacation (Oslo). As is the German way, this year I will be hosting an American style birthday BBQ in my honor (it's kind of weird to throw your own birthday party as an adult but that's how it is, make your own cake and bring it into the office too) on the weekend. There will be hot dogs and cheeseburgers and watermelon if all goes as planned.
I always took the day off. This year, my birthday fell on a very quiet Wednesday and I couldn't justify using the vacation day since I am trying to save as many as possible to carry over into next year so I figured I'd try the office thing. Besides, pathetic as it sounds, what else would I do when everyone else is working, the lake is not fun alone and we are too far from any ocean, the only place I would spend the day alone. My boss even suggested I leave after lunch but I figured I would wait for Patrick to pick me up so here I am, waiting. He's up to something but the only thing I know is we have a date this evening.
Well, here's to 26. I'm officially over the hump and getting closer to 30 everyday. In order to document the first year of my second quarter century, I am going to start (and finish) a Project 365. I am not sure if this will be the main place I post the photos but I'll at least put some up here, maybe a weekly photo post. I haven't taken today's photo yet but it will be forthcoming and potentially document previously mentioned surprise.
I'm over working on my birthday so I'm off to enjoy the rest of the day while the sun is still shining.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mt. Fuji Part 2

I left you hanging for a while on this one. Was I trying to build suspense? Not really, I just got distracted by other things and sort of forgot that I promised a second part. Since it has been so long and I put the photos on Facebook, I'm sure most of you know how this is going to end but in case you are unaware of the outcome of our climb, I'll indulge myself in the story once more. When we last left off, we could not see the mountain, and headed home with our bellies full of Indian food to make a plan for the next day. We explored the Hostel a bit, tried to get on the broken Internet and resorted to reading a tour book from 2007 when the Internet was not revived. I borrowed a DVD from the TV room and we headed to our room to watch the movie on the lap top Patrick insisted on lugging throughout the trip. I must take advantage of this opportunity to point out that we NEVER used the laptop and I ended up carrying it in my luggage after the third day. I was against bringing a lap top from the start but Patrick insisted it would come in handy. I quickly realized my 3 prong plug was not going to get into the 2 prong outlet and gave up on the movie. We resigned to an early night in favor of an early morning exploratory trip. When we got up the next morning, the hostel van was heading to the train station with some departing travelers so we asked if we could hitch a ride. From the train station, we proceeded to wander around another part of the lake. There were several tourist shops on this side along with the tour boat we contemplated and some paddle boats shaped like swans. Patrick really wanted a to rent a paddle boat but at about 20EUR per half hour we took a pass. There was also a rope line over hydrangea bushes and up into a small mountain that did not appeal to us. We browsed the shops and thought about taking the bus to the 5th station and back just so we could at least visit Mt. Fuji as it was still completely hidden by cloud cover. Hungry and indecisive, we headed back to the hostel to regroup. As we were getting back, I overheard a few new friends saying their post hike goodbyes. Being the American that I am and recognizing their nationality in their accents, I approached one of the girls to inquire about the mountain. Apparently they began their assent the previous night and reached the summit just in time to see a beautiful sunrise. I was now convinced that we needed to do the same. We were here to climb the mountain and I would be disappointed to go home without even trying. Armed with the bus schedule, Partrick was an easy sell. We were off for a quick lunch, followed by a supply trip to 7/11 and a 2 hour nap before catching the last bus. Once we reached the 5th station it was about 7pm and still light. Full of energy and adrenaline, we began our hike. Sorry, now it's time for the suspense, the photos are not on this computer and I can't go any further without visual aids.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

This is Not What You Think It Is

I'm not becoming a health food nut or turning this into an exercise/weight loss blog. However, I wanted to tell the world I've started counting calories and I love it. I feel so much more aware of my actions now. I started biking to work more often because I can burn about 120 calories just going to work and back at a leisurely pace. I need to get to and from the office anyway, may as well kill some calories on the way. Last week was my first full week of this calorie counting with the assistance of and I already lost 3lbs. I know it is not healthy to continue at that pace and I'm sure my body will adjust but it's still exciting. Here's to a healthier slimmer version of me by Christmas. I'm still working on the healthy but the Calorie Counter stores all of my foods for the last 2 months so I can see that I maybe should not have had ice cream 3 times last week (only one scoop on each occasion) but I've also started eating more veggies and less food in general and I'm wicked excited to keep going. Once I get the calories down, I'll start reducing saturated fats.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Can You Tell?

I got a new camera while in Japan (Narita airport on the way home to be exact). All photos in the previous post were taken with my new camera. Can you tell the difference? Is it for the better? The new camera is 9 mega pixel Sanyo a point and shoot camera/video camera, if you like the results and want to know the exact model just ask via comments. It was a complete impulse buy which actually surprised for several reasons. 1) I have a perfectly good camera that even takes good quality video clips. 2) I talked myself out of buying a super cute and waterproof camera just days prior based on reason #1. 3) The vacation was over, it's not like I could even justify this purchase with immediate use. 4) I pledged to myself that I would not buy anything unnecessary in 2009 and while this was focused on clothes and shoes, I didn't NEED a new camera. However, I am not having buyers remorse. It is super cute , easy to use and holds way more video than my Cannon. It also has a rechargeable battery and the shop assistant gave me a nice little converter to switch the plug from Euro to US (Japanese) when I travel. It has a flip around screen to improve those self (or duo) portraits, we all know I love to take. Best of all, it is no bigger than my current point and shoot and also stores to an SD-Card. I've never bought a camera with out either personal or Internet reviews and now that I have read some on this one, I'm not sure I would have purchased it as I've seen mixed reviews, but it received a very good in a meta analysis so that may have convinced me. I haven't had enough time to really give it a proper approval but thus far, I like it. The controls are super simple, the only downfall is it is a bit slow on taking pictures but I am confident that with a bit more use, I will figure out how to adjust this in settings. My one true negative on this camera is that the lens does not close so you need to me careful to avoid smudge marks and scratches. Don't worry, I resisted the urge to get the pink one and went with a red version with a matte finish.

Monday, July 27, 2009

22km to Heidelberg

I am taking a break from the Japan posts but not a break from the photos, I will give you a peak into one of the nicest summer days this year. On a whim, a friend and I decided to take a bike ride to Heidelberg on Sunday and the weather happened to be on our side. Blue skies and fluffy white clouds guided our way along the river, through; fields (including one especially nice sunflower field), parks (where sunbathing was the topic of the day) and villages until we arrived in the old part of the University city, Heidelberg. It took us about an hour and a half and would have only been a 15 minute journey by train but it was Sunday and we had time.
After a cool sweet lunch at my new favorite place in HD, we walked about the city for a bit, and then stopped to chat over a Radler (half beer, half sprite and all refreshment). Eventually we hopped on a train back to Mannheim, two happy girls with bicycles and some odd new tan lines. Welcome summer.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mt. Fuji Part I

Mt Fuji was one of my most anticipated destinations of the trip. I researched the climb on the Internet and we made some decisions about how and when we would attack Japan's highest peak. We booked ourselves a backpacker's hostel a short distance from the train station in the lakes region. From the train station, we knew we would need to take a bus to the fifth station of the mountain and hike from there. We were prepared with a headlamp, gloves and waterproof jackets for hiking through the night. The plan was to arrive, check-in, sleep a bit then wake up for the adventure and return to the hotel the next day for another nap and relaxed day by the lake. We arrived a bit later than anticipated because of rain and train transfers (only one train runs to the station we needed). Upon arrival, we were tired and could not see the mountain but were not yet discouraged. While Patrick took care of checking in, i took advantage of the Internet access computers in the lobby. Sitting next to me were two guys so I took the opportunity to ask about the mountain. One had been up the night before and everything he had to say was negative - cold, wind, rain, fog, no sunrise (I think everyone makes the climb for the sunrise). He returned wet, miserable and tired. He also pointed out that it is just too early in the climbing season for these overnight hikes. My research told me the season runs from July 1 to the end of August and I was excited to be one of the first hikers of the season on July 2/3 climb.
We went to our room, took a quick photo break to appreciate its Japanese style and discussed our options. Neither of us were motivated to tackle the mountain tonight, especially after the description from the guy in the lobby so we decided to take the rest of the evening to explore the area a bit, have dinner and make a decision for tomorrow.
Hiking seemed like it was not going to happen so we began to consider other options such as a lake cruise (the instant favorite), paddle boats shaped like whales (Patrick's favorite), a rope line up a different mountain (kind of stupid) or possibly taking the bus to the mountain in the morning and exploring the 5th station without hiking further (I at least wanted to be on the mountain since we were so close). We didn't make a decision but it was time for dinner so we went exploring.
First we found the lake. There were a few locals fishing and a few touristy looking boats docked for the evening. It was mostly quite but very pretty in our small alcove.
We knew there had to be more and our tummies were getting anxious so we left the lake and headed for town. I can't really call this place a city because it was so small. I was craving sushi but that was not on the menu this evening. Our restaurant choices were limited to Chinese, a cafeteria style Japanese place, Moss Burger (Japanese burgers and coffee), 7-11 or a small Indian restaurant. Based on delicious experiences in Tokyo, we chose Indian and were not disappointed.

After filling our tummies we headed back towards the lake, partly because it was on the way and partly because I wanted to see what was on the other side of the bridge (crossing the bridge to the next town was also an option for the next day).

While on the bridge I tried to find the mountain. If were were going to see it from anywhere, this was our chance. However, neither of us could find more than the base of any mountain so it was hard to distinguish what may be Mt. Fuji. Patrick asked the first Japanese man to pass and he pointed us in the right direction. Mt. Fuji is that way. Don't you see it? he laughed at us and continued on his way. We laughed too, this was hopeless.