Well, that’s my first blog entry from Japan.
I arrived at Tokyo airport on December 29th 2011 at about 10.00 a.m.
First I had to find a way to go to Kanazawa, Ishikawa-ken, where I planned to meet up with my former “short-stay-host-family”. It took me 90min. with the train to Tokyo main station. I went to a travel office to get advice how to go to kanazawa. Luckily I speak Japanese, so it wasn’t to hard to communicate with the people there. After 15min. I got my Ticket for 11’840 japanese Yen. Another 10min. later I was already on my way there. Because Most Japanese go to their hometown/relatives over new Year, all trains were crowded. I took the train to Echigo-Yuzawa where I changed to another crowed train directly to Kanazawa. After about 4h and no seat I finally arrived there, starving, tired. I had to use a public phone to call the family, because my mobile phone didn’t work. at 17.50,finally, I could relax at my family’s home.
It’s been 3 years since I’ve been in Japan and it feels so good. This time I had a real Japanese New Year’s meal with my family’s relatives. I even got a O-Toshidama (New-Years present, usually money). Most of the food we ate I didn’t know though. I’m used to the Japanese kitchen, and I reeeeally like it, but there was some really weird stuff.
It’s been about a week now and I’m having some lazy days with my very nice family. Yesterday I went to Karaoke with our neighbor and some people I’ve met already 3 years ago. It was fun to see them again and how they’ve changed. But the time with the family is still precious to me. Until January 10th I’ll stay with them.
Here we are again
I’m still in Japan. I had some lazy days in Kanazawa before going to Nagoya, where I’m staying with a friend now. I’ll be there until January 20th, going to Osaka then.
Anyway. At my familiy’s place in Kanazawa we had Takoyaki (fried/grilled octopus), that’s why there’s this octopus picture. I always loved Takoyaki, even if some of you might think it’s akward. It’s actually soooo good!
On the next 2 pictures you see some typical Japanese sweets (traditional) WAGASHI. I love them! One has red bean paste in it, and the other white bean paste. It’s yummy~!
we also went to a old city district in Kanazawa, we’re we went to a kimono exhibition. All in All I had a very good time in Kanazawa, thanks to the former host-family.
Now I’m in Nagoya. Yesterday I met some old school friends from 3 years ago and we had a “Nabe-Party” (literally “pot-party”). Vegetables, Meat and so on, cocked in a pot on a gas heater. The Spice this time was curry. Delicious~!
Japanese Food is so good, really!
Ps. The last picture are just some earrings I got from the host-mom instead of a O-toshidama >u<
So there I am. All alone in Osaka.
Before I was stayin’ at a friend’s place in Nagoya for 10 days. It had been 3 years since I’ve met my friends from there, so I felt really good. Also the city hadn’t changed. I was kinda lucky with the weather, compared to Kanazawa where I was before. (picture 1, Nagoya TV Tower near Sakae Oasis 21; picture 2, Nagoya station KINTOKEI)
I took the Shinkansen HIKARI this morning to Osaka. Since all my friends are busy or don’t have enough money, I’m all on my own now. I’m staying at the TOYO Hotel in Shin-Imamiya for 4 days before I’ll go to Tokyo on the 24th.
I had to change trains at Shin-Osaka on my way to Osaka main station. Without any expectation, some stranger woman talked to me and told me which train I should take (though I thought I knew it already xD).
As soon I got rid of my luggage at the Hotel, I asked at the reception for some recommendation for Lunch, because I hadn’t eaten anything. But the store they recommended me was closed, so I talked to some Japanese man walking in my direction, if he knew any good place. He wasn’t even from Osaka himself. Well, I ended up being invited for Lunch. He even went to the TSUUTENKAKU Tower with me and showed me the way back to the Hotel then. Very nice. And I didn’t even ask for all that xD
I took the next train back to Osaka main station, where I got on the HEP FIVE big wheel just when it got dark. It was amazing~!! Though I was all alone xD
I went to a TAKOYAKI (Pizza, Octopus Balls) restaurant close there to have dinner then. It happened to be that kind of restaurant, where you make them yourself directly at the table. I made TAKOYAKI before, but it was much harder there, because the recipe was a little bit different (Osaka is famous for Takoyaki!!).
It was delicious. Altough It feels a litle bit strange to do everything alone. I was supposed to meet an old friend from my japanese Highschool time in Osaka, but he suddenly got busy. So I’m alone. well well. I’m used to it. Strangely, though it’s my very first time travelling all alone overseas, I’m not really scared or nervous. I just walk. And when I don’t know where I am I asked someone xD Luckily I speak Japanese~
Before I went back to the Hotel before, there was a guy performing at Osaka station.
I happened to like it so much, that I bought a CD from him when he finished.
(he got stopped by the station police just after his last song)
He was so thankful. And cute xD
And I loved his songs. Some might think it’s typical J-Pop. But when I saw him performing I still thought it was different. I wished him all the best and he signed my CD ;D
CHECK OUT HIBI NAOHIRO!
DAY 2 OSAKA
I got up early in the morning and left the Hotel at 10am to go to the city. My goal was NAMBA, a city district just about two Subway stations from my hotel. I walked around the streets. I ate one of the famous PUTA MANJU (big Pork dumpling) of 551 HORAI and had a Match Azuki Latte at Starbucks, waiting for the shops to open. I also went to the KUROMON Market. It was a kind of seafood market close there, so I went walking around there a little until the shops would open.
I walked through the hole Namba district up to SHINSAIBASHI where I bought very cheap shoes :P
For Lunch I had OKONOMIYAKI (as-you-like-Pancake), one of my favorite dishes, and famous in Osaka.
As It started to rain I wanted to go back to the hotel, and maybe go to Osaka caslte later. I walked to Namba JR Station where I suddenly saw some people randomly dancing. there were like 3 to 5 small groups. Breakdance, girl group dance, Locking etc…
I was wondering what it was so I asked some girls there. They said that it is one of the few places the police doesn’t stop them from dancing. additional to that, behind a sculpture with a metallic ball in the middle, there were two big mirrors, they used for dancing.
I had some small talk with them and then ended up haning around with them which was so nice. I watched them and some others dancing, talking, having fun. They told me, usually there are more groups, but because of the rain only few came. The new friends I found there, girl-group dance style, meet up on weekends to train and then go and perform at events once every month.
we went for dinner together and I returned to the Hotel at about 9pm.
There I finally met some other “tourists” at the common room: USA, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia. We stayed up until 2 am having snacks, drinking beer, talking, laughing.
Tonight we’ll probably do the same.
Today I went to Kobe with the girl from Indonesia. Kobe Port is really an amazing place to visit. And we were lucky with the weather. During the day the sky cleared up ore and more. We just randomly walked around the port, saw a band street performing at the port and headed back for the station at around 15.30. On our way back we happened to cross the China Town of Kobe. And since Chinese New Year is close, there were so many people. We returned to the hotel at about 17.30
Last day in Osaka: OSAKA KAIYUKAN
Today was my last day in Osaka, Tomorrow I’m heading off for Tokyo.
I went to the Kaiyukan (Aquarium) at Osaka Port with a guy from Amerika and the girl from Indonesia. We first rode the Ferris Wheel, which is one of the largest in the world. THE VIEW WAS AMAZING! and we were so lucky with the weather.
Afterwards we went to the Kaiyukan, which was just beautiful. There isn’t more to say about that. There are some pictures for you :)
TOKYO Part 1:
Few Days I arrived in Tokyo. I’ve never been to Tokyo before, even during my exchange year, so I was kinda excited. I’m staying at the KHAOSAN ANNEX Hostel in Asakusa. So the first two days I was mainly wandering around that district… there are actually some interesting things to see, such as the shrines and the Tokyo Sky tree, which will have it’s grand opening in May of this year (it’s over 634m high, and the highest TV Tower in the world now). I love high buildings, so I can’t stop looking at it. There’s also the Asahi beer head office in Asakusa. It has a strange sculpture on the top, which is said, was supposed to be a torch, standing upright. But it wasn’t “save” enough, so they built it like that. The building next to it, with a brighter, and very strange formed top, is said to represent a beer glass.
I was also in Shibuya and Harajuku for a short time, but since it was a weekday and about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, there weren’t so many people as expected. Actually everything seemed smaller than in my imagination. It’s my first time in Tokyo and I always imagined it to be huge, consisting only of very very high buildings. But it’s actually quite clean and clear as well. But It’s maybe because I didn’t go there at rush hour. I’ll definitely go back to Harajuku to take some Fashion Pictures.
Yesterday I went to Kamakura, which is famous for it’s shrines, temples and the big Daibutsu (Buddha Sculpture). I was very lucky with the weather and if you take the old train line a little farther you can see the beautiful pacific, and if there are no clouds one can even recognize a little bit of the Fuji-san :D
Today’s morning we did some tour around the Tsukiji Fishmarket, which is I think one of the biggest in the world. I didn’t take photos, only videos though. Because it’s very crowded and narrow you have to take care you’re not run over. I thought it was terrible. But very interesting. To be honest, I was just a little bit scared. It was all very hectic and confusing.
We bought fish and made CHIRASHIZUSHI for Lunch. The Chef who accompained us and formally used to work at the Tsukiji market even brought along some selfmade Miso, from which he made Miso ONIGIRI (rice balls) and Miso Soup. DELICIOUS~
Last Days in Tokyo
I’m home again. My 5.5 week stay in Japan has ended. Let me show you how I spent the last few days.
So I was tehre in Tokyo. I met a lot of interesting people there. I went on a Tsukiji tour with some people from the hostel. Tsukiji is the biggest and most important fish market in Japan and a very busy place, I told about before. Someone I went there together offered me to join her going to Nikko, a place with many temples close the mountains. It was very cold there but such a beautiful place! (first 4pictures). I got to see a famous temple, the TÔSHÔ-GÛ 東照宮, where one can find the grave of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The three apes seen on picture 2 are also quite famous for that place.
The following day I went around Tokyo with a friend and got to go to the Ghibli museum.
Most amazing thing were all the drawings and sketches there! Unfortunately it’s not allowed to take pictures inside the museum… But it was very inspiring, I recommend it to all Ghibli and also Art/Animation Fans!
On Tuesday, January 31st, I had the chance to visit a japanese farm in Ibaraki prefecture, which lays in the north of Tokyo. The one who made Food for us after the Tsukiji tour invited me there to make Miso Paste with him. I really enjoyed it, though it was very cold. It was my first time at a Japanese farm and a completely new experience! I stayed there two days. The first day we steamed the soy beans for over 2 hours (90kg of soybeans I think!!). Because we only arrived there in the afternoon, it was the only thing we did that day. The next day we started to crush the steamed soy beans, mixed it up with salt and fermeted rice. This took a couple of hours, since we had some problems with the machine. Now I have to wait 6 months until the miso paste is done. I’ll try to go back to Japan that time =)
The last couple of days I spent around Tokyo: Akihabara, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku - just doing some shopping and buying souvenirs…. And in the evening partying with people from abroad I met in the Hostel ;D
I really had a good time in Japan. So good, it hurt to go home. It was so different to last time I went there, since I could understand Japanese from the beginning.
I made a lot of new friends and recommend you all, if you have some interest in Japan, go there and experience it yourself! It was a wonderful time. I can’t wait to go back there…
I just uploaded some pictures on Flickr to summarize my trip to Japan this time.
Get to see more -here-
my second trip to Japan after an exchange 3 years ago.
just amateur videos, put together
Music: Tim and Puma Mimi - aquarium (used with permission of the band)