Thursday, August 27, 2009

Akarenga Sōko, Yokohama

Actually, sorry-sorry for not posting for few weeks. Today I'm going back to my story about Yokohama. Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse (or 'Yokohama Akarenga Sōko') is another unique structure in this city. My first impression of this structure was.. it's an old but beautiful building which is now used as a shopping mall. Further investigation from the net showed that, it's actually a historic structure which was used as customs building (Wikipedia, 2009). Over the years, this building has gone through many restructuring/renovation caused by the Great Kantō earthquake, World War II and also because of its age

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Nagoya Basho

Anyone who visits Japan definitely have a top ten list of things they would like to do or places they would like to visit in this country. Mine was; at least once I must watch the Grand Tournament of Sumo. I consider myself lucky cause 3 weeks ago I received an invitation from a friend (with an extra ticket hehe) to witness the 'Nagoya Basho'. I thought the experience was very interesting and whole visit was a memorable one. In this pic, (I think on the 9th day of tournament) Bulgarian 'ōzeki' Kotoōshū faced Estonian Baruto. I thought this was the toughest match..

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mitarashi Festival

A day after visiting Gion matsuri, I received a phone call from Zuru-chan asking me to go to 'leg washing festival' (Mitarashi festival). For a minute I was wandering, what in the world is 'leg washing festival'? Anyway, I gave it a go. It was held in Shimogamo Jinja, Kyoto. According to the shrine's website, it's a ritual to have a good health. I found this festival very unique and enjoyed every bit of it even though my pants were wet!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Gion Matsuri

I've posted about Gion matsuri before here. This year, it is my second visit. Compared to last year, there was lil sunshine this year.. therefore my pic also looks better, hehe. At the corner to enter 'Oike dori' (Oike street), the 'boko' (float) took longer time to turn compared to last year, probably the people pulling the boko are getting old. However, this came in handy to our advantage as more photo shots could be taken. At one moment, there was a guy dangling the child from the inside of the boko. Is this part of the tradition? I missed this last year!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

On Japanese TV, there's a special program (I think every Saturday evening) that showcase the life of a baby animal. This time around it was a baby 'anteater' and its mum. Previously they have shown about a cub, baby otter etc. Since I tune in very seldom, I think I missed most of it. Anyway, the baby anteater is kawaiii!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Yamashita Park, Yokohama

I didn't know the idiom 'to kill two birds with one stone' will actually be useful for birds. In this pic, the cable/rope that is used to tie this giant ship, actually serves as 'networking' ground for a group of birds, hehe. By the way, this is a another scene at Yamashita park

Friday, July 3, 2009

Yamashita Park, Yokohama

I always wanted to go to Yokohama and finally it became a reality. This picture was taken in Yamashita Park. It was a hot day but with a cold breeze flowing, I even managed to take a rest here lying on the bench

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I do like photography a lot and from time to time I do it as a hobby.. not that I'm any good at it, it's just a form of appreciating nature, beauty, people etc. Recently this one pic (via wikipedia) really caught my attention and I was really amazed by it. It's about a 'bee carrying a pollen'. At first it looks like some sort of CGI, but its not. I can tell you this, it's nothing like my firefly pic! (The picture in this post is published under the GNU Free Documentation License which can be viewed here)

Friday, June 12, 2009


It's kind like a firefly (the insect) week here in Kyoto. Therefore, we set up a mission looking for 'Hotaru' (firefly) along the Philosopher's Walk. Turns out, the Hotaru in this famous path probably has vacated. It was an area nearby (surprisingly next to the main road) that still had a few Hotaru. I managed to take a few pics, but had problems finding where is the Hotaru?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tsukiji Market, Tokyo

Finally, this world famous fish site was within my sight. The auction site is opened to the public only very early in the morning and the entire market is closed on certain days. So, it's better to check here before a visit (click on the calendar button, the red button indicates rest-day). In this particular pic, the tuna is being inspected from a cut intentionally being made on the tail section of the fish. Some of the pics I took was also lil scary.. 'a giant tuna without a head', I wouldn't dare to show it in my blog. Coinciding with the visit here, I heard a BBC documentary called Fish! A Japanese Obsession was shown in the UK. Apart from other stuff, Tsukiji market was also featured. The big focus here are reported to be 'blue fin tuna' because they are an increasingly rare and expensive commodity (Pomphrey, Huck magazine, 2009). For more pics, visit here

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

For some time now, I've been looking for a decent FLV joiner. Previously, I used an application called 'avidemux'. The problem with that application is that the sound was out of sync. Fortunately from a recent internet search, I came across an application called Andy's FLV joiner. It's super light weight and I hope it does the job effectively. Get it here

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lunch with marcus-kun the other day was in a restaurant known for their 'soba' (buckwheat noodles). Probably to attract foreigners, this restaurant even had a English menu. One thing on the menu that made me go eek! was fresh horse meat, what!. The other thing that caught my attention was that this restaurant actually show the video of how they make soba from buckwheat, omoshiroi!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I often see some filming/shooting goin on in this area. Due to the fact that I seldom watch Japanese TV, I can't tell whether this is for some terrestrial broadcast or it's the real deal (dorama or film). From the number of crew they had, maybe It's.. well I don't know. In this particular scene, one of the actress was rather strange, maybe the scene will be funny for the viewers

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sleepless in Internet cafe, Tokyo

..Actually I was sleeping pretty well, I just wanted to rhyme it with a movie title. I even enjoyed my stay here with streaming movies, TV, mattress+pillows, free soft drinks (hehe!) and they even had a shower. I managed to watch the movie 'Dark knight' and 'Elizabeth ..' on a fast forward basis. I couldn't complain more, this was my best option for a cheap accommodation in Tokyo. However, I recalled reading an article stating that about 5400 people with no fixed address spend their nights in 24h Internet cafes across Japan (Japan Times, 2007). According to the article, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry attributes the rise to the increase in job-hoppers who are I quote 'byproduct of the economic crisis that hit a decade ago'. This data was reported in 2007, I can't imagine what is the situation now with the recent economic crisis!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Former Kaichi School, Matsumoto

Former Kaichi School is another attraction in Matsumoto area. At first I was confused for the directions to this school and what I believe as the 'Current Kaichi School'. Luckily I managed to reach the exact location. According to the pamphlet I received, the construction of this school was completed in 1876 with 70% of the cost covered from donations from Matsumoto residents.. Wow! The second pic I believe indicates that the students received music lesson. Holy cow! even I who studied in the modern times did not have the privilege to study music in school

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sakura Season

It's the sakura season once again (that's how i kindly would like to call it). Therefore I rushed to the Kamogawa river to take a few snapshots.. I'm not tired of doing it every year. Actually towards the south side of 'Kamo' river, many sakura tree have already turned green. Only in the northern side, the beauty was intact when I visited, hehe. It was such a beautiful day, tq! tq!
For an average guy from a tropical country, this is the first time I'm seeing a huge 'mikan' (citrus) tree. I've seen miniature citrus plants used as an ornament back in my country, but that doesn't count.. In my country this sort of 'oranges' are generally referred to as 'mandarin oranges'. Oishii! Oishii!

Friday, April 10, 2009

While heading to a specific location in Matsumoto (Nagano Prefecture), I got out in the wrong station. Rather than waiting for the next train, I decided I should walk to the desired location. So, I asked for some directions, even though I could only understand 'migi' and 'hidari'. Turns out, It was a pretty good deal. I got to enjoy the green scenery in this area.. it was awesome! I would have missed it if I decided to wait for the next train

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Toyota Commemorative Museum...

A short stopover at Nagoya city is not complete without a visit to Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. Only a few months before this visit I came to know that Toyota Corporation actually started out as a industrial loom manufacturer before moving into the auto industry. Anyway, this site happens to be located in one of Toyota's textile mill built in 1911. The 2nd pic shows Toyoda's (the original name) 1st passenger car, the Model AA. It's price was around 3,000 yen when it came out in 1936. What! that's about USD30 I thought.. However, I was told that this happened during a time when the average monthly wage was below 100 yen, Ahh! For more info visit here

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wide View Shinano

To reach Matsumoto city via Nagoya city, there is a express train called 'Wide View Shinano'. The reason for this name I think is because of the size of window/screen this train has. It enables us to enjoy the beauty of the mountainous region in Nagano Prefecture. I even thought it'll be fun to drive in this area despite the curvy route, just to stop here and there to enjoy the view!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Matsumoto Castle, Nagano

Matsumoto, Nagano. A short visit to this city was a valuable one. The center of attention in this city was Matsumoto castle, which is considered as the national treasure. For an average guy like me, the history of this castle is lil bit difficult to digest. However, for others who seek more info, visit here. For me, I enjoyed the view of this castle inside out, which gave me some kind of satisfaction

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kibune, Kyoto

Cruising without any purpose with Zuru-chan in this area was really awesome. Especially with the chance to be close to nature once again. For 'onsen' lovers, I saw there was an interesting one in Kurama area (the area nearby to Kibune). One of the things that caught my attention was that there was a huge tree with two trunks, but I'm uncertain whether it's one of kind or not!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lake Biwa, Shiga

A visit to Otsu city was just to greet and meet Mr Amir. However, we did manage to drop by 'Lake Biwa' just for the view and the fresh air. Compared to the last time, our location now was near the cruise and yacht site. The view was simply awesome.. (sorry-sorry for not posting for few weeks)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A bowling game after a very long time was really amazing. In this particular pic, 'Uncle Ash' is showing (maybe 'showing-off') how to hook a bowling ball. I've personally played bowling many times before, but it never crossed my mind that I should try to throw a 'hook' ball.. until today. Therefore, I made a search on the internet (that's the advantage in the information age) and I came across this website. The explanation was quite decent and it also had a video of some guy showing (maybe 'showing-off') how to hook a bowling ball. Anyway, my only hope is that (even if I can't throw a hook ball), with the recent advancement in video game technology, real sports like 'bowling' will not loose its shine

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Kitano Tenman-gū, Kyoto

It's a Shinto shrine that I found quite interesting. For more info on the history of this shrine visit here. During my visit here, I saw many Japanese people fascinated with a particular flower which made me curious but didn't stop me from taking a few snapshots. Turns out, it's actually plum blossom (or 'ume'). However, I'm still uncertain whether this plant is found only in this area or not?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Okazaki, Kyoto

It's an area that i'll be definitely making a return trip cause it's nearby and i've not completed visiting all the attractions here. A visit to one of the art gallery the other day is not enough for me. Not to forget, I even observed some people flying kites in this area. Maybe, it's a perfect place to hang out with friends and family

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dinner with Zuru-chan and Wiltod the other day was in a restaurant that was completely new to me. The dish that we ordered was 'omuraisu'. Surprisingly, the same type of dish is served in my country. It is called pattaya rice (or 'nasi pattaya'). It's a small world after all (or 'the world is flat'). This restaurant turns out to be quite interesting with a 60s design and Freddie King's song in the background

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shigaraki, Shiga

A visit to Shigaraki pottery town (Shiga) was an interesting one. With an opportunity to take a closer look at pottery sculpturing and a chance to color our own clay cup (yeah! it was only a cup), it was quite an experience.. especially with the chance of making fun of other peoples design ('like mine was that good, hehe'). Another interesting thing about this trip is that I was able to know about ‘Tanuki’ (Japanese raccoon dog). Before this I had never known about it, but now I realize its importance in Japanese culture especially in folklore and proverbs. For more info on 'Tanuki' visit here. For more pics, click here (sorry-sorry for not posting for 2 weeks)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Odaiba, Tokyo

Surprisingly enough, the best observatory in Odaiba area is Fuji 'terebi' (Fuji TV). One could enter the 'giant sphere' for ¥500. Otherwise, we could just visit the observatory one floor below the 'giant sphere' for free. Both these spots are not very much different in enabling us to enjoy the surrounding beauty of this area from a bird's eye view. However for me, because I was already there and may not have the opportunity to make a return trip, I may as well pay ¥500 and visit the 'giant sphere'

Monday, January 5, 2009

Rinku town, Osaka

Not to forget, after visiting Heian shrine, I went to this place. It turns out to be located at Osaka bay, very close to Kansai airport. I believe, the main attraction here is the 'Rinku premium outlets'. Many famous brands have their stores located here. For new year's day, there were special discounts, goodie bags etc. In my opinion it's better to shop wisely even though it was new year's sale! some items were not worth it, some were very old stocks, others are simply a bargain

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Heian Shrine, Kyoto

Compared to last year's 1st of January, this year I did something memorable. I woke up early in the morning ('never done this before') and I went to Heian shrine. After cycling for 15 min, my fingers were numb, but I still continued my journey. Luckily, there were very few people around.. I took some pics and tried to imitate some Japanese rituals. The second pic indicates a Japanese new year custom, whereby the drawn fortune slip ('omikuji') is tied in this designated area, with high hopes for a better luck/future, Ganbatte Kudasai!