日本での一年間

March 31, 2009

Nankin-machi (Kobe’s Chinatown)

Filed under: Cuisine, Domestic, Food, Kansai, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 1:47 pm

After seeing Kobe from Port Tower, we headed over to Nankin-machi, the Chinatown to get a bite to eat. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Kobe’s Chinatown is a good deal cheaper than Yokohama’s Chinatown, although a bit smaller.

Illuminated Chinatown gate

Illuminated Chinatown gate

Same gate, not quite as bright

Same gate, not quite as bright

Looking through into Chinatown

Looking through into Chinatown

People hurry past the gate in the rain

People hurry past the gate in the rain

One last view of the gate closer up. Sorry, there isnt much to take pictures of here at night while its raining.

One last view of the gate closer up. Sorry, there isn't much to take pictures of here at night while it's raining.

Fried Rice and Noooodles

Fried Rice and Noooodles

Not sure what these are called in English. But in Japanese theyre called shorompo (小龍包)

Not sure what these are called in English. But in Japanese they're called shorompo (小龍包)

Advertisements

March 30, 2009

Kobe’s Meriken Park

Filed under: Domestic, Kansai, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 4:01 pm

After strolling around Kitano-cho, we headed over to Meriken Park, where the port of Kobe is. We had planned to go up Mt. Rokko and take in the night view, which is supposed to be one of the best 3 night views in Japan. (Japan likes counting all it’s best of’s in groups of 3.) However, at the tourist office, they advised us that in the rain, we wouldn’t be able to see anything from the mountain and we ought to try a place closer to the ground. They suggested Meriken Park’s Port Tower.

En route to Meriken Park

En route to Meriken Park

Port Tower from a good distance away

Port Tower from a good distance away

The harbor, complete with ferris wheel

The harbor, complete with ferris wheel. Sorry that this came out a bit blurry...

The iconic Kobe Maritime Museum

The iconic Kobe Maritime Museum

Looking at the Port Tower from directly underneath. The red thing in the upper left corner is my friends unbrella, which is helping to shield my camera from the rain.

Looking at the Port Tower from directly underneath. The red thing in the upper left corner is my friend's umbrella, which is helping to shield my camera from the rain.

Looking out at Kobe

Looking out at Kobe

Kobe’s Kitano-cho

Filed under: Domestic, Kansai, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 8:43 am

Kobe is a nice city to visit because it’s fairly compact and easy to find your way around. Most things to see are within walking distance of San-no-miya station and therefore in walking distance of each other. This could also be interpreted as, there isn’t much to see in Kobe. But I think there’s still enough to do to make a nice day trip.

Anyway, One if the major tourists attractions of Kobe is the Kitano-cho district of the city. Kobe was one of the first cities opened up to trade in Japan, as a port city (the others being Nagasaki, Yokohama, and Hakodate). Because of this, it was one of the first cities that foreigners came to live in. The Kitano-cho district is what’s left over of those people’s homes. It’s kind of like one mansion for each European country and USA. It’s up a hill, so once you arrive, there’s a nice view of the city and the sea. however, each of the places charges about 300 to 500 yen ($3-5) to get in, so we decided not to go into any since none of them seemed particularly worth paying any money for.

Looking down the hill

Looking down the hill

The German house

The German house

Denmark house

Denmark house

Rhine house, the only place you can enter for free, but there wasnt much inside.

Rhine house, the only place you can enter for free, but there wasn't much inside.

France house

France house

Some flowers outside of the France house. It was raining the whole day we were in Kobe

Some flowers outside of the France house. It was raining the whole day we were in Kobe

March 29, 2009

Toyooka town – Town of Bags

Filed under: Domestic, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 11:51 pm

In between Tottori and Kobe, I passed by this place, Toyooka town. And on the train platform they had this sign, which says roughly “Bag Town Toyooka.” Right there on the station platform, they had a vending machine selling there wares, bags for about 1000 Yen each. Here’s the city’s official website in English. Ad here’s the industries sections of the website, which has a small section on their bag industry.

Town of Bags - Toyooka

Town of Bags - Toyooka

March 28, 2009

UCC Coffee Museum in Kobe

Filed under: Domestic, Food, Kansai, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 11:19 pm

Our next stop on our trip after Tottori was Kobe. It only took 4 or 5 hours on the train to get to Kobe, not like the crazy 17 hours we spent getting to Tottori. We only had about half a day in Kobe, but we managed to find a coffee museum to visit, which was interesting. Here’s a link to the museum website. They only have a Japanese website. sorry! The UCC coffee company in general, however, has an English website. Anyway, I wasn’t really able to take pictures inside the museum, but they had exhibits about the history of coffee’s discovery, how coffee developed over time, methods for making coffee, the culture of enjoying coffee, and a room where you could watch all the UCC coffee commercials ever. At the end, they have some computers that quiz you, and if you get enough of the questions right, you get a badge that says you learned a lot about coffee. I’m officially Dr. Coffee now!

Looking up at the roof of the museum

Looking up at the roof of the museum

After the museum, we went to their coffee shop, because we decided that if we didn’t, what was the point of coming to the coffee museum in the first place?

The coffee museums coffee shop.

The coffee museum's coffee shop.

Cappuccino my friend ordered

Cappuccino my friend ordered

I forget what they called this, but its coffee with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top. The cinnamon stick is supposed to be used to mix it.

I forget what they called this, but it's coffee with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top. The cinnamon stick is supposed to be used to mix it.

Even when my friend drank her cappuccino down to the bottom, the heart on top kept its shape.

Even when my friend drank her cappuccino down to the bottom, the heart on top kept it's shape.

March 27, 2009

Food in Tottori

Filed under: Chuugoku, Cuisine, Domestic, Food, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 10:20 am

Tottori is famous for 20th Century nashi pears (they seriously refer to these pears as ’20th century’), Matsuba Crabs (Pine Needle Crabs, a kind found in the Sea of Japan), and some foods grown in and around the sand dune, such as a certain type of long potato.

Nashi Chu-hai, an alcoholic drink flavored like Tottori Nashi pears. It was one of the many nashi flavored things sold in Tottori. Most of the Nashi flavored things were sweets.

Nashi Chu-hai, an alcoholic drink flavored like Tottori Nashi pears. It was one of the many nashi flavored things sold in Tottori. Most of the Nashi flavored things were sweets.

Sand Eggs. Eggs cooked by burying them in hot sand for 25 minutes. I wish Id gotten a chance to try one of these...

Sand Eggs. Eggs cooked by burying them in hot sand for 25 minutes. I wish I'd gotten a chance to try one of these...

Kani-don. Crab over rice.

Kani-don. Crab over rice.

Close up on the Crab over rice.

Close up on the Crab over rice.

This isnt a special Tottori dish, but at this place we went for breakfast, I had fresh homemade bread. It was the best bread Ive had in Japan.

This isn't a special Tottori dish, but at this place we went for breakfast, I had fresh homemade bread. It was the best bread I've had in Japan.

March 24, 2009

Kit Kat Flavors – Youth 18 Ticket Trip Edition

Filed under: Desserts, Domestic, Food, Kit Kat Flavors, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 8:59 am
Two for one! White Peach and Yellow Peach. Not region specific.

Two for one! White Peach and Yellow Peach. Not region specific.

Adzuki (Sweet Red Bean) Sandwich. Nagoya Limited Edition

Adzuki (Sweet Red Bean) Sandwich. Eastern Sea Reason Limited Edition. Seen in Nagoya.

Kit Kats in a glass Jar! Available in vending machines that sell beverages. This is the only food they offer.

Kit Kats in a glass Jar! Available in vending machines that sell beverages. This is the only food they offer.

Looking inside at the Kit Kats

Looking inside at the Kit Kats

Kobe pudding flavor

Kobe pudding flavor

A special kind of Green Tea flavor thats Kyoto limited edition

A special kind of Green Tea flavor that's Kyoto limited edition

Jasmine Tea flavor. Not limited edition

Jasmine Tea flavor. Not limited edition

March 18, 2009

The Tottori Sand Dunes

Filed under: Chuugoku, Domestic, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 10:55 am

Tottori is the capital city of Tottori prefecture, the Japanese prefecture with the smallest population. It is best known for it’s sand dunes, the only sand dunes in Japan and the only major tourist attraction in Tottori. The sand dunes are very picturesque, going right up to the edge of the Sea of Japan.

Our first view of the Sand Dunes

Our first view of the Sand Dunes

A camel, one of four that you can pay to have a short ride on.

A camel, one of four that you can pay to have a short ride on.

The camels arent native. Theyre imported from China.

The camels aren't native. They're imported from China.

Looking out over his kingdom

Looking out over his kingdom

We lucked out with some amazing weather

We lucked out with some amazing weather

After an exhausting climb, we reached the top and were able to look out at the sea

After an exhausting climb, we reached the top and were able to look out at the sea

Some fellow climbers

Some fellow climbers

the oasis below

the oasis below

A small piece of sand that hasnt been walked all over and still shows the effects of the wind

A small piece of sand that hasn't been walked all over and still shows the effects of the wind

March 17, 2009

17 Hours on a Train

Filed under: Domestic, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 5:15 am

I recently went on a short trip with a friend of mine. We were able to keep our transportation costs very low because we rode on a special ticket, the youth 18 ticket (青春18きっぷ). It’s a special ticket offered through the JR company (Japan Railway) during school holidays to anyone, not just youths. It lets you ride on any local JR train as much as you want in a day for 5 days for about 100 USD (11,500 Yen), or about $20 a day. The only catch is, you can only ride on local trains. So, a trip form Tokyo to Osaka for example, which takes 2 hours on the bullet train (shinkansen), takes about 7 hours on local trains, and you aren’t guaranteed to have a seat, like on the bullet train.

My friend and I decided to visit Tottori, and spent 17 hours on the train with very little breaks, taking the very first train from our station in the morning at 5:12 am and barely making the last train into the rural city of Tottori at 10:23.

The following pictures show our journey from Tokyo to Tottori.

5 am, the station near my place, Western Tokyo. We were on the train before the sun came up.

5 am, the station near my place, Western Tokyo. We were on the train before the sun came up.

See that black area? Thats the sky. It was still the dead of nigth when we left.

See that black area? That's the sky. It was still the dead of night when we left.

A little bit over an hour later. The sun has come up and is slowly making sky brighten

A little bit over an hour later. The sun has come up and is slowly making sky brighten

Half an hour after that at about 6:45. The sun is up now. The girls in this picture are wearing uniforms and are clearly on their way to school.

Half an hour after that at about 6:45. The sun is up now. The girls in this picture are wearing uniforms and are clearly on their way to school.

Around noon, we stopped for a lunch break.

Around noon, we stopped for a lunch break.

The place we stopped was Nagoya! Japans 4th largest city/3rd largest metropolitan area (depending on whether Yokohama is counted as separate from Tokyo or not)

The place we stopped was Nagoya! Japan's 4th largest city/3rd largest metropolitan area (depending on whether Yokohama is counted as separate from Tokyo or not)

The JR Nagoya towers

The JR Nagoya towers

Public art outside of Nagoya station

Public art outside of Nagoya station, and a man ignoring it while typing something into his cell phone.

Ogaki station in Gifu prefecture. We missed a train here and got stuck for a while because the trains dont run very often. Not much there...

Ogaki station in Gifu prefecture. We missed a train here and got stuck for a while because the trains don't run very often. Not much there...

The only thing in Ogaki, a big shopping mall.

The only thing in Ogaki, a big shopping mall.

Benches! These dont exist in most Japanese cities. If youre walking around and get tired, the only thing to do is go find a cafe to sit in and often they wont let you sit down unless youve ordered something.

Benches! These don't exist in most Japanese cities. If you're walking around and get tired, the only thing to do is go find a cafe to sit in and often they won't let you sit down unless you've ordered something.

Looking out at Sonobe, a town under the administration of Kyoto Metropolitan district, while waiting for our next train. Apparently, it actually merged with some other towns a few years back and is now officially part of nantan city, but still referred to as Sonobe town. Wikipedia tells me that it is the hometown of Shigeru Miyamoto, the Nintendo mastermind who is responsible for most of their imaginative games, including Mario and Donkey Kong.

Looking out at Sonobe, a town under the administration of Kyoto Metropolitan district, while waiting for our next train. Apparently, it actually merged with some other towns a few years back and is now officially part of nantan city, but still referred to as Sonobe town. Wikipedia tells me that it is the hometown of Shigeru Miyamoto, the Nintendo mastermind who is responsible for most of their imaginative games, including Mario and Donkey Kong.

Waiting to change train in Sonobe, we saw that this city has its name landscaped into the mountain. The sun was going down at this point and it was starting to get dark.

Waiting to change train in Sonobe, we saw that this city has it's name landscaped into the mountain. The sun was going down at this point and it was starting to get dark.

And finally...arriving in Tottori.

And finally...arriving in Tottori.

March 10, 2009

Trip

Filed under: Uncategorized — myyearinjapan @ 3:34 pm

Going on a trip for the rest of the week. No internet most likely. So, no posts.

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.