This year again, we went to Hakone in Kanagawa prefecture. Hakone has been one of the best and popular places in Japan, especially for its hot spring,,, since…..I do not know, so I looked up in internet. It said that In 738, one monk discovered very first hot spring in Hakone. At that time it was not yet in “war period” when everybody (bushi worrier) go on battle to get the territory for their master(Shogunate) to unify Japan, it is called “Nara period” when aristocrats and the emperor hold stronger power and new culture flourished especially the culture associated with buddhist such as temples and statues of buddha… and I think we started to use Katakana in this period too. (oops i said “we” but at that time only aristocrats men could study and read things.. I guess..)
After this, many hot springs has been discovered in Edo period (when Tokugawa Shogunate had its power) of course, then in modern era (like years ago), Hakone has been developed as resort & tourist spot.
Hakone is famous for its hot spring and beautiful view but also there are so many thing to do. One of it is definitely “owakudani”. You get to see this interesting view and Mt. Fuji. The gas (sulphur vents) is coming out from the valley and you can feel that volcanic activity is going on! Actually this is why Hakone has so many great hot springs.
One thing you got to do is eat “black boiled egg” that add “seven years” to your longevity.
I don’t know why but eggs are soooo yummy…. (later I came to know that they boil the egg in the hot spring, that is also the why the eggs turn to black.)
Besides the big train museum in Saitama prefecture that everyone else know, TOBU TRAIN MUSEUM is must to go place in East Tokyo if you are Train geeks!! Check out their HP here in English:TOBU MUSEUM
TOKYO TRAINS: As you know, Tokyo is super convenient with its super transportations, Trains!! You can get to go almost everywhere by train. If you live in Tokyo, you don’t have to own cars, you can go anywhere by train and on foot. How many stations in Tokyo? I am not sure but it says there are 635 stations in Tokyo and 495 stations in Tokyo 23 wards !!
Anyways, TOBU line goes from ASAKUSA to NIKKO, they are famous for its SPACIA. Though it is not JR (JR is biggest railway company used to be owned by a company), there are many TOBU fans!
Where: There is small tiny station called HIGASHI-MUKOUJIMA in TOBU sky tree line. The museum is attached to that station. If you have 1 hour, you can look all the exhibitions and things there. The place is always filled with small boys and their mon and dad…!!
HOW TO GO: You take TOBU SKY TREE LINE, get off at HIGASHI-MUKOUJIMA and from the exist you take right turn and see the MacDonald’s at your left, keep walking 30 sec! you see it on your right!
There are some really good SASHIMI place in Akihabara, I cannot decide the best one. But as far as for the Sea food don, I think this one is the best @ small Japanese food place called SANHORE.
I went to eat there for lunch but sea food don for lunch was already sold out so, we instead I ordered the ones for night menu, this cost more than 3,000yen, and it tasted..OMG it took me to heaven!!! Look those TORO (tuna), it was soooo thick and creamy!!
They do not have English menu, totally for locals and their fans. What they usually serve is FUGU (Blowfish) for winter and UNAGI (Eel) for summer. (Too expensive I will not have a chance…) For lunch, there are reasonable menu like KATSUDON, a bowl of rice topped with slices of deep-fried pork like this at 750yen.
This SAKURA tree (cherry blossom) is in full bloom now. It is right at Izumibashi, where you take about only 3min from Akihabara’s SHOWA DORI exit. When you get out of that exit, just make one right turn, then you keep going about 100meters. You’ll find this SAKURA tree soon after crossing Izumibashi (Izumi bridge).
You know Valentine’s day…on Feb 14th. In Japan, women give cholocates to men. I do not know why this is happening in Japan but it is the tradition…. Usually this is the day that girls ask boys out.. I mean she says that she like him. But in other countries (now I know), it is totally opposite. Why JAPAN~~??
Anyways, as a follow-up event of Valentine’s day in Japan, we have “White Day” where boys give girls something, candies or caramels..or even better present.
I got many candies from our co-workers, (yes because I gave cholocate to the) and among thier present, this one was cutest! Sooooo Cute!
Here are the things we (typical Japanese people, I think…) eat on new year’s day. Because of the space issue, we could not make all OSECHI (Japanese traditional New Year’s day feast) and put them in traditional lunch boxes (ju-bako).
Here are some of the OSECHI and its meanings that I know.
Kobumaki (kelp-roll)昆布巻き：Meaning “joyful”. First words “kobu” sounds the same with “YOROKOBU 喜ぶ(being pleased, feeling happy) ” ‘s KOBU.
Chikuzenni 筑前煮：Wish for “prosperity of decendants” becauuse this dish has all the root vegies like carrots, lotus roots, potatos….
Datemaki 伊達巻：It is kind of rolle egg (sweet), because of its shape is like traditional book (rolled paper), this is for the knowlege and learning..
I went to Tokyo Comic Con at Makuhari Messe on Dec 2nd-Dce 4th. It was part of my job though, the company I work for had a booth and we took a part in this fun event! My job was to explain the products to English speaking visitors and to gather as many people to our booth. Our product, Drobo is super user friendly storage products from the US and we are the sole agent in Japan.I went to Tokyo Comic Con at Makuhari Messe on Dec 2nd-Dce. It was part of my job though, the company I work for had a booth and we took a part in this fun event! My job was to explain the products to English speaking visitors and to gather as many people as possible to our booth. How many time I screamed…”Cosplayers!! photo shooting !!” Our product, Drobo is super user friendly storage products from the US and the company I work for, is the sole agent in Japan.
Event was awesome!!!!
Anyways, what was the fun part is that we called those soooo cute cos-players to promote our products and we did photo shoot sessions!! I was amazed!!! They were soooo cute. The artist HIROYUKI-MITSUME TAKAHASHI designed the costume and it was just soo cute!! Gosh how many times I used the word “cute” but it was really KAWAII.
There are many other cos-playesrs and visitors also came with their costume. There were STARWARS booth, there were batmans,,, it was fabulous event!
Because of my beautiful son, I go to parks……a lot!! Almost every weekend besides my everyday lunch @ Akihabara where I work.
Two major parks I always go are Ueno park and Hibiya park. Ueno park is located surely old Tokyo and only 5 stations away from my nearest station (15min) and I like the lively atmosphere of “SHITAMACHI”. “SHITAMACHI” literally means downtown but not like the one in the US though, back in Edo period (when Shogun was on throne), all the town people lived “SHITAMACHI” where as BUSHI (who serves shogunate) lived in central area where near to Edo castle. You know if this BUSHI (worrier) got their houses close to Edo castle, their status are higher. In modern days, who lives where high ranked BUSHI got thier big house near Edo castle? Now days, lots of Embassies are located!! Interesting!
So you know how Tokyo’s SHITAMACHI is differet from central area, it is more and more clouded and more and more houses (not office building) and more lively feeling.
Anyway, On the other hand, Hibiya park is located in central Tokyo, just near to Imperial Palace, that’s where Edo castle were at. So Hibiya Park got totally different atmosphere. But I love love love this park too. Mainly, my mom grew up around this area and because of that I played in this park since i was…like 0 years old to..till now.
But I love the quiet and nice atmosphere in Hibiya park. There is Japanese garden and English garden, then playground. So nice and peaceful. By Hibiya line, Hibiya station is like 6 or 7 station away from Akihabara. Also it is next to Ginza where I say it is like 5th Ave in Manhattan.
Best season for KAKI (Fuyu Persimmons). KAKI is like seasonal fruit in Japan, all Japanese people feel Autum when they see stores start selling KAKI.
Japan has 4 distinct seasons, winter, spring, summer and fall and each season has very different characteristics whih also varies from area to area within Japan. Tokyo (Central Japan)’s summer is hot and humid while Hokkaido’s summer is not so hot and less humid, etc. How strange within this small country (size is about California states), there are so many regional differenes including culture, weather, and language (dialects).
Talking about foods, we are very sensitive for “SYUN” which literally mens “in the best season”. Like KAKI (of fruits, not oysters, they are best in winter) in the fall, most of Japanese people has some kind of knowledge (memory) of what food is in best in each season and food’s best season. (Is this universal?)
I don’t do cooking…(not quite good at cooking) but even I know some…
Spring is best for Takenoko, Asparagas, Cabbage, and Summer is best for Edamame, Eggplants and Unajyu & Unagi eel(Unagi)!… and moe, see?!
Getting back to the topic of my KAKI. Wow they are gourgeous. KURO-ama黒あま & .Fuji-kaki富士柿 . KURO-ama (black and sweet) is from Wakayama prefecture and it is very exensive brand. My first time to see this beautiful KAKI and surprisingly inside is brown. Fuji-gaki was very sweet also but more fruity. Soooo sweet.