Just a collection to tide you over while we use expensive internet...
And an update.
Takayama was sort of a low point in our travels. Perhaps the pricey places to stay and ridiculous number of gaijin threw us off, but I was not so pleased with it. Also, I got sick at this point on the journey. You know, the typical traveling affliction. I used my downtime to exploit awesome laundry technology- one machine both washes and drys for $8 (half the typical coin laundry cost) AND it takes one hour total. Oh, and you don`t need to provide soap. La la! It was fascinating.
We did enjoy the Takayama Hida Village and their great houses with fires and old people doing traditional crafts. We also enjoyed the popular and tasty Hida beef in the form of good ol sukiyaki. YUM! Since Takayama is highly rated in the Lonely Planet, it is HIGHLY popular among fellow foreigner travelers who practically outnumber the native population. There are tons of omiyage stores with people yelling `irashiamase!`. People yell this in pretty much any store retailing goods. Aron and I have speculated to the causes but cannot fathom why it makes sense for every 10 minutes the entire store staff taking up cries of irashiamase would make people want to buy more. It makes us want to run away screaming. Ugh. You really need a demo before you can truly understand how strange and annoying this is.
Although we didn:t mention it earlier, a public library in Takayama was critical for our mental health - we spent an evening there watching *Monkey Business* with Ginger Rogers et al (Japan has a bizarre fascination with Marilyn Monroe, who has a bit part, but top billing). We:ve tried to use some other public libraries, but it:s always been too late or Monday (when many are closed).
Strangely, guidebooks don:t often mention the public libraries as excellent sites for not only free movie watching (which is a common resource in Japan PLs), but also often free internet (although very content restricted).