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Who says you need a TARDIS to time-travel?

So today, a slightly-chilly, drizzly Saturday, I did a bit of time traveling. Zoey and her host mom were kind enough to invite me on their excursion to Gokayama. Gokayama is a UNESCO world heritage site because all its buildings are built in the gassho-zukuri style (which basically means they're a-frame houses with thatched roofs). Part of the reason all the houses are a-frame is because they get so much snow--there were some photographs of the entire mountain covered in what looked like 5-6 feet of snow!

There's not a huge amount of stuff to do there. You walk around, poke your head into some of the tourist stores. The houses are all residential, so except for one "open house" you're not allowed to walk in them. But the village is very picturesque, and I really liked getting to spend time with Zoey and her host mom (who I also get to call okaa-san, or "mom").

The one house we did get to poke our heads into was very nice: the floors are all dark wood with tatami mats, and the thatch is pleasantly aromatic. They also have fire-pits in the middle of the main room, usually with a tea kettle hanging over it (and yes, per hospitality we were given tea!).

It really was like stepping back in time (as long as you ignored the vending machine hiding in the corner). Zoey and I agreed that it was lovely for a brief visit, but neither of us could handle the winters there! Just goes to show it takes all kinds.


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