A quick rundown on what's been happening lately, starting with adventures and moving on to natural language processing rambling.

Thursday: Yamadera

Thursday was a national holiday in Japan and I spent my day off climbing in nearby Yamagata prefecture. The crew was made up of the instigator and driver, a.k.a. Suzuki-san, a friend of his, and my gym-crew, Mike and Disa.  The vista was fairly different compared to Ryuusendo. The weather was never quite photo-friendly, but the fall leaves were still top-notch.  As you can see above, I managed to get captured in the classic "climber-silhouette" photo.

 

It was a pretty easy going day, and we actually only put down three routes: two 5.9s and a 10a.  Despite that, we were there until sundown.  It's not that we're incredibly slow, but rather, that 10a was so fun we ended up doing it quite a few times (around five, personally).  When I wasn't climbing or belaying I was cramming an NLP book into my head in preparation for a meeting on my research theme.

Proof I was diligently studying at the wall, taken by Mike mid-climb

Friday: Soccer

The lab had their third soccer match Friday morning. Unfortunately I completely spaced that out thanks to the previous day's activities, and didn't remember until I got a phonecall at 9 asking me where I was.  I made it to the game just in time to hop in, touch the ball once, and have the whistle blown.  We won it 1-0, and I managed to get into the team photo, so at least it looks like I participated.  We're now in the finals with the three other best teams, and have two games to go no matter if we win or lose.  Looking forward to it.

富屋

A bit out of nowhere, here's a photo from a few weeks back when we went to Tomiya, a place I'm just now realizing I haven't brought up on the blog before. During the first or second week in Sendai, Mike, Florian, and myself went searching for a place to eat late at night.  We ended up stepping in to a suitably Japanese feeling restaurant (I think it was the traditional red lantern outside that sold us on the place), and were immediately greeted with gasps and oohs and ahhs.

In the two years the place had been open, we were the first foreigners to walk in.  The place was just a counter, and, ah heck, here's a picture.

The owner, cook, bartender, karaoke master, and everything in-between

That gentleman does it all.  He's also taken pity on the poor college student customers of his, so somehow we manage to eat and drink for over five continuous hours at the place for about $15.  And when I say eat, I really mean eat.  We're talking prime tuna sashimi and stuff people.  Anyhoo, always good times there.  I'm sure we'll be back in another week or two.

Owner, Florian, Mike, Stefan, Me, at Tomiya

And one last picture for kicks, taken as we stopped in the town of Yamadera, right infront of the station, before heading into the mountains.

In front of Yamadera station, with the eponymous temple behind me