A Grey Heron on the roof of my garage.

Grey Heron   Now, the end of November, I keenly feel time is passing so fast. Don’t you feel so? These days, it suddenly gets really cold. I’m expecting snow for the beginning of the next month.

   Today, I called on two of my friends for something, but one was absent. As I had free time until visiting another appointment, I went to the book store. After then, I finished something to do.

   When I came back to my place, I saw a Grey Heron on my garage roof. I see Grey Herons in the river or rice fields almost every day, but, this sighting was for the first time in my place. Wow!!

I went to Basque. #8

My trip to Basque-#8   On Oct. 25th.
   This day was only for moving, but a better thing than when I departed my house was I had not to get up so early. Because we were going to leave the hotel for the Bilbao airport at 10:30, I got up around 7:30 and ate my breakfast as usual. At the breakfast, I had mamia which was recommended by our tour conductor, who had asked some mamia to the hotel staff for us. After it, I wanted to go a walk around the hotel, but gave up because of raining.

border-sign   It took about two hours from the hotel in Biarritz to the airport in Bilbao. On our way to the airport, we were across the French-Spanish border. Both France and Spain are member states of EU, so we need no formalities to cross their border. There is just a roadside sign like the right image. When I went from Spain to France, I failed to take the photo of it. So I wanted to do it on the way from France, but I failed again, oops!!

   At the airport, though we had a long time checking our suitcases due to crowded counters, other than that, everything did fine. We were leaving from Bilbao for Frankfurt on time (2:25p.m.). We had about 4.5 hours for connecting flight to Narita at Frankfurt Airport. Whew!!

   Nowadays, we can use free WiFi at almost every airport, of course, we must be careful about the network security, though. For example, at Narita Airport we can use it with no time restriction and only need our email address for our registration, the email address can be accepted even if it is a free mail address. At Frankfurt Airport, you can use free Wifi, too. But, it is only 30 minutes a day. Besides, you need PIN code. For having the PIN code, you have to send your country code and your cellphone number from the registration page. And then, they send back 6 digits PIN code to your cellphone like this.

Ihre PIN f~r 30 Minuten Internet bei FraPort lautet: xxxxxx
Ein Hotline-Anruf kostet 9 ct aus dem Netz der Deutschen Telekom. Mobilkosten abweichend.

   This is very first time for me at airports. Is it a common registration style for free WiFi at other airports?

   Still today, very long distance exists between Europe and Japan. Actually, it was slightly after 23:30 on 26th, Japan time, when I arrived at home.

   The End.

I went to Basque. #7

My trip to Basque-#7   On Oct. 24th.

   The previous day, when I arrived at the hotel in Biarritz, I felt to come here by a tour bus was a wrong way. A very good hotel this was and a very narrow gate it had. Probably, it is Japanese only who use a tour bus to come here and who stay here for a day or two – very short. But, it is Japanese style tour. They had to have accepted it, whether they will or won’t.

   The day, first, we visited a factory of L’Atelier du chocolat in Bayonne. We tasted various kinds of chocolates. Unfortunately, we were unable to see a lot of real process of making chocolates except cleaning and an employee who was covered in chocolate powder. I bought chocolates for gifts. When I tasted pepper chocolate, I liked it and thought to get it for one of gifts, in fact, what I bought was pepper caramel, oops!!

   After this, we headed to Musée Basque by bus, and, walked to Cathédrale Sainte-Marie de Bayonne on the opposite bank of the river Nive. It is a magnificent, but somehow a patched building, the upper is made of limestone and the lower is made of sandstone.

   When I stayed in my room in the afternoon, a maid came for the turn down service. She perhaps had rung my doorbell a few times, but, I didn’t hear it clearly because of being at my bathroom. So, I did not answer her and the maid unlocked my door by her key in spite of my locking. Probably, she thought my room was empty as my door did not have the “Don’t disturb” card. When I saw her, I was so surprised because I didn’t know about the service. After I heard from my tour conductor this hotel had this as one of basic services. The previous day, we checked into the hotel late, so, the service had been done. This was my first stay at a 5 star hotel, therefore I had such a my first experience. (^_^;)

   We had the last meal of Basque at a small restaurant L’Atelier. I felt their dishes were a kind of nouvelle cuisine.

   The next day, we were going to leave Basque for Japan.

   To be continued. (^_~)


   These days, autumn is at its height and the leaves are at their peak color in Japan. When I came back to Japan, I always wanted to go to Momijigari(紅葉狩). But, weather is good when I have no time, I have free time when weather is bad. So, my visit was delayed about for a week. Last weekend, weather was bad again.

   Today, it was from cloudy to sunny. I went to the mountain I sometimes wrote about here. For years, when I go there, I only visit Hōheiden(奉幣殿), today I decided to call on Takasumi jinja(高住神社). It is also called Buzenbō(豊前坊). Eight Tengu(八天狗) of Buzenbō(豊前坊) are famous in the past, and they are written in Noh(能) “Kurama(鞍馬)” a little.

   By the way, I saw autumn leaves are very beautiful. I share some of them with you!!

I went to Basque. #6

My trip to Basque-#6   On Oct. 23rd.
   We had fine weather at Hondarribia. We walked down the slope of the front side of the hotel. On the way to our bus, we saw The Town Hall, The Santa Maria Gate, and so on. When I saw a statue, I found he had a saw and an apron (See the slide show at 0:46). They say he’s a soldier, and I wondered why he had such things. The truth is he is an engineer. I heard people perform his role in the festival.

   This day, we were going to the summit of La Rhune by Le Petit Train. The line opened on 1924. It is a single truck and has rack rails. From the train, I saw pottoks which are a kind of small horses like ponies. At the summit, we had fine weather again, so, I was able to see the broad panorama of French and Spanish parts of Basque.

   When I waited a return train, an old lady asked me in French where I had bought my hat. I don’t know French, she doesn’t know Japanese nor English. But, we understood each other, a fantastic world!! (^o^)

   We visited Sare, where I saw a beautiful small village, and we had lunch at ITHURRIA, dishes were good, especially Basque pig I liked very much. After lunch, Espelette, where I bought two bags of famous Piment d’Espelette powder, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, where I saw the birthplace of Ravel, Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Saint-Jean-de-Luz, etc. I was wandering the streets of Saint-Jean-de-Luz with a map, an old lady approached and told me which way to go. She spoke French only again. But we understood each other again, a fantastic world!!×2 (^o^)(^o^)

   After entering French Basque across the border, I saw a house has white walls and red rims. I heard it’s a traditional style here, and in the past, people used lime paste for white and cattle blood for red to avoid strong beaming sun and insects.

   By the way, the local guide of the day was Anna again. I asked her what I questioned.
   Does they have the law like Japanese “Motor Vehicle Inspection and Registration System“? Because all the cars I saw in Basque Country (Spanish Basque) are very good condition. I sometimes saw quite a number of junkers outside of Japan. She answered they have to register a car they own, after four years they own the car they have to get the first car inspection, after six years they own the car the have to get the second inspection, and after that, they have to get the car inspection every year. Her answer made sense to me.

   The hotel of the day was Hôtel du Palais at Biarritz. Very good hotel.

   To be continued. (^_~)

I met a deer.

   Recently, I often go swimming as I told before and drive a narrow mountain road to reach to my pool. Today, I met a deer on my way, when I went swimming as usual. Around 6:15p.m., but already dark. When it was suddenly caught in car headlights, I almost ran it down to death. It was for the first time for me to meet a deer on this mountain road. I sometimes see wild animals, for example, tamukis (タヌキ), itachis (イタチ). It is a pity itachis are very often run down to death because they are small and they have a habit of suddenly crossing a road. A deer, however, is a complete different story. If my car hit it, the car might be broken. When go swimming, I have no cellphone and almost no money. Besides, few houses are located along the route. I am horrified by thought of a car accident occurring.

   Oh, Deer! Please care of yourself, and, it will also guard me. (^^;)

   By the way, one of my friends told me his pc became infected by a one-click ware while his net surfing. I disabled its network, examined his pc, and found a malware which uses mshta.exe and HTA for the wrong purpose. It makes a popup windows every 5 minutes. I strongly recommended him to recovery the windows OS.
   Be that as it may, he needs to stop popups to rescue some data on the hard-drive. I deleted entries on the task scheduler and the msconfig startup. Popups stopped. But who knows about his pc is complete safe or not?!

   Dear friends, be a careful surfer!!

I went to Basque. #5

My trip to Basque-#5   On Oct. 22nd.
   That morning, I felt I was a complete new person, he-he. Before leaving from San Sebastián, I walked around and took some pictures.

   We were going to visit a Txakoli winery “Talai-Berri” at Zarautz on that very day. I was looking forward to it.

   I have to admit I don’t like fizzy drink, both alcohol and non-alcohol. But, the previous day, when I had a glass of Txakoli, it was sparkling slightly and dry, so, I liked it. I also saw the performance that was the serving Txakoli from high place for mixing air.

   At the Talai-Berri winery, we were tasting all kind of products. They were very good and not expensive. The staff, who was one of owners and introduced their products to us, said “current Txakoli is very well controlled when it is produced, so, it isn’t necessary serving from high place”. Well, I thought “the yesterday performance is for tourists”.

   By the way, in Spain they use olive oil for all foods, like we use shōyu(醬油) for all. It was my very first time, to eat cheese poured olive oil, to eat bread poured olive oil, and so on.

   We had lunch at Getaria, another one of old cities in Basque, Spain. One of dishes we ate is a big flounder. It was broiled with salt. Very big. A fish per two people. I think it is for four people if I were in Japan.

   We checked into the hotel “Parador de Hondarribia” around 4 p.m. The hotel is located on the hill and has a long slope in front of itself. Opposite side is a kind of cliff and there is a public elevator which carries people up.

   During this trip, I went for a walk alone in the evening free-time for the first time. I found and bought a doll is a regatta player in Hondarribia (See the slide show at 6:15). Is it cute? They say Regatta is very popular in Spain. In Hondarribia, the house of the player has a green banner on the balcony’s rail. On 2012 the team finished second and people bit their lips, I heard.

   To be continued. (^_~)

I went to Basque. #4

My trip to Basque-#4   On Oct. 21st.
   I was surprised it’s still dark even if 8 a.m. Judging calmly, San Sebastián is located north slightly than Sapporo (札幌) according to their latitude, besides, Spain uses DST until the end of October. So, it might be natural.

   Unfortunately, 21st was Sunday. City market and most stores were closed except ones for tourists. But, we met other events precisely because Sunday. For example, a citizens’ marathon, men at a gastronomical society for preparing a party.

   And then, I felt better, went and ate pintxos at bars in my free-time, and enjoyed Txakoli wine and others at meals. So, my trip was also better and better. The better trip, the more photos. So, this slide show is longer than before, too. He-he!

   To be continued. (^_~)

I went to Basque. #3

My trip to Basque-#3   Now on Oct. 20th.
   We did sightseeing in the old part of Pamplona which is very famous for “The fiesta of San Fermín“, about which even if you don’t know, probably you have ever seen the photos of the bull run. We walked the route of the bull run.

   Pamplona is one of old cities in Basque, and its old part has the thick and tall walls around itself. One of funny and pity impression I had is I found a built-in candlestick with the wall of an arsenals. A soldier in charge prayed before his entering, in the building there were a lot of gunpowder things, but in those days, he should have had a candle with him because they didn’t know safety lamp. Very poor man!!

   Pamplona is also famous for the city of Hemingway loved. I saw Cafe IRUNA, Gran Hotel La Perla, etc.

   During our sightseeing, all raining. I heard Pamplona usually has a lot of rain. In the rain, I thought a lot of people who live in the city put up their umbrellas. Outside of Japan, I’ve not ever seen people like this who have an umbrella when it’s raining. Besides, some people have a compact folding umbrella and it is first time for me to see a good number of people have such an umbrella outside of Japan. “Seeing is believing.” I believe Pamplona usually has a lot of rain. (^_^)

   I felt better on the day, but in fact, I think I was still tired because I failed to take a lot of photos. Besides, I had no memory about the afternoon on the bus. (;_;)

   To be continued. (^_~)