Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Takaoka, Toyama

This is kinda like a continuation from the last post as this was done on that same weekend i went to Osaka.

I have this class called Comparing Cultures and part of the assessment is to do a group project of some kind, i decided to join the day trip one, seems the most fun! :D

The group ended up going on two trips but i missed the last one because i wasn't there when they discussed about going so i wanted to go to this one! There is a nabe festival in Takaoka City in Toyama prefecture that weekend.  Nabe is basically like hot pot where you can put anything you like in it and cook it but more in a soup form. 

So i managed to get some sleep on the night bus from Osaka and arrived at Kanazawa station at 6am, we had to wait for nearly a hour for the first bus but luckily the national examinations were still happening there were extra buses chartered to the university so I was able to go back, have a quick shower and be at the bus stop for 8:30am for the bus to take us to an particular bus stop which the bus to Takaoka will go to.

Most of the group i went with that day were pretty zombified :P

 A special deal, 500yen for two bowls of nabe
 Part of the group doing the group project thing

One of three Buddhas in Japan, I've seen two! This one here and Nara and now missing seeing the Kamakura

We walked around for abit as seen in the above photos and then we decided we needed to eat! So our first bowl was seafood nabe, as we walked to the location we ended up eating other foods before reaching where the seafood nabe place was :P

 Amezushi i think this spelt which is like a hot rice sake drink, but not that alcoholic
Zensai which is red bean soup in chinese cuisuine

 Seafood nabe, was good!
 Nice looking tram thing ;P
Takaoka croquette which was different to others i have tried here as it is creamy inside with meat
The city of Takaoka was the birthplace of one the Doreamon's creators!
Finding this second nabe took ages as we wanted something else but it was sold out, and then a few more places we wanted to go to were sold out so we ended up back at where the seafood nabe was and ate this beef one, the soup was really really nice, meaty soup!

Then we had quite some time to walk until the bus, we originally wanted to get the 7pm bus but people were seriously tired and then we found out that the next bus would be at 4:30, almost a two hour wait! The weather was quite bad and it was cold but we solidered on and walked around the park where it had a shrine and an animal park where in one feeling i was sad and angry for the animals.  The conditions they were kept in were horrible.  :(  After that we were really cold and wanted to sit down with a hot drink so we went to a cafe where we eat this waffle set with drink, 
it was nice but we had to eat it quick as the time loomed for the bus. But was really glad to get back and sleep! Luck struck again as we didn't have to wait too long for the bus to take us back to university as with Sunday times there are not that many buses. SOOO glad to be back to sleep!

Now got one more week of this semster left at university! It has good really quick as soon will be heading off to Hokkaido to catch the snow festival! Then coming back i'll be heading off to Tokyo to pick up Chris and head to the West side of Japan!  Also got a trip to Taipai planned as well! So many trips so been saving as much as i can!

Thursday, 26 January 2012


I didn't do any travelling over the christmas break so when Kaisu my Finnish friend said she would like to go to Osaka to vote for the Finnish election i thought i would tag along for a two day trip!

We stayed one night at a hostel and the other night was spend on the night bus.

We got the JR bus which is actually very comfy and there is lots of space for you
 We got the 9am bus which meant us getting up early to get the 8am bus to the centre of town, I'm glad that i'm one of those people who can nap :P the time went quick on the bus because of that!
 One of the bus stops to pick up people was near the sea 
We arrived a bit dazed and I seriously felt like a country bumpkin who has arrived at the city for the first time because i was used to Kanazawa low buildings compared to Osaka's skyscapers. We managed to find our way to the Consulate for Kaisu to vote even though we totally missed the entrance and managed to find ourselves at the car park around the side of the building. :P we were both to busy looking around to notice the little Finland flag on the door.
Then we made our way to the hostel which was nice and basically was an apartment coverted into a hostel.  We dropped our stuff and explored! 

Our hostel was near America town so having not able to find the Statue of Liberty that was somewhere we decided to eat at Burger King! My first time ever in Japan and the chicken burger i had was good! Especially with my melon soda! But the onion rings were a big disappointment :(
 Then we walked to Namba and did some shopping.  Below is the famous lights of Namba

 After some walking around and uncertainty from two other finnish people in Osaka as well we decided to eat and of course eat what Osaka is famous for: okonomiyaki! We found this information booth which basically you tell them what you want and they take you there.... we got 10% off as well!
 After spending some time in the restaurant and then probably half an hour trying to find where to meet and find each other we joined together and got the night started!!! Nomihoudai!!!! (All you can drink!) Afterwards doing some Purikura (picture taking in booth) we did some karaoke
We didn't get back to the hostel until 3am :P Surprising the guy who owns the hostel was still up at this time too...

When we woke up we both were really tired... Kaisu wasn't able to sleep and i was just tired :P, after slowly getting ready and leaving the hostel with our stuff we decided to eat and then head to the Osaka castle area

 I had to eat the second thing i find Osaka famous for: Takoyaki! Even though you can go anywhere in Japan and buy this i thought i had to eat some here in Osaka. We walked around the area and then decided to head for the Osaka Museum of History. Where in four floors it explained how Osaka developed in different eras.  It was interesting but at this point we were really really tired.

We stayed until the museum was going to close at 6pm and had about 4/5 hours to kill before our bus.  We headed to Umeda where the bus stop was and hanged around, drank coffee/tea to keep alive and walked until we got on the bus.  It took me a while to get to sleep, i think it made it easier for me to sleep when they finally switched off the lights.  We arrived in Kanazawa at 6am.... sooo early! We had to wait for like a hour for a bus to get to the bottom of the hill but luckily that day was still the examination weekend that was happening nationwide and extra buses were put on so we could get a bus to get back to Kanazawa Univerisity!!! The enabled to have a quick shower and then get out again for 8:30am to go to Toyama for my group project....

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Shirakawa go

The 9th January was a national holiday of coming of age day.  This is where people who have turned 20 celebrate them becoming an adult basically.  The girls wear these beautiful Kimonos and go around and celebrate with their friends.  I saw one or two girls wearing these beautiful kimonos but did not manage to take a photo :(

As it was a day off for us at university we decided to go to Shirakawa go.  It is a UNESCO heritage site in Gifu Prefecture.

We started the day quite late and didn't arrive at Shirakawa go until about 2pm.  The scenery is very beautiful with snow everywhere!!!

 One of the shops you see when you get off the bus. 

 The amount of snow that the guy has to shift is huge!
The picture doesn't show well but that is the height of the snow, about as tall as people! 

Then we had about 2 hours to explore and look around the village.  
 This is the bridge that connects between the village and the bus area
 A small cute store house maybe?
As the pictures show the roofs are a distinct style as there is so much snow it helps the house roof not to collaspe and they say that it looks like Buddhist monks in prayer with the /\ shape. 
We were told that you should eat two things here, first dango! It is sticky rice coated with soy sauce.
 I found these snowmen soooo cute! especially the expressions!
 After more walking around we ate the second thing we got told to eat the beef croquette!
 It was really nice!
 The girlies!
The famous symbol of Gifu prefecture! It is called Sarubobo which means 'baby monkey'  They were originally made by grandmothers from leftover cloth to be given to their grandchild or daughter for protection or having a good marriage and good childbirth.  Today it is deemed like a good luck charm.

Soon after we left on the last bus of the day and made our way back to Kanazawa!

I've got two more trips to write about! One to Osaka and then the day i came back from Osaka i went on a group trip as part of my project work. 

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Welcoming the new year!

I haven't written a blog entry for a long time!!! I haven't been anywhere really substantial for me to write a post.  But as the memory is still fresh i thought i'll write about today's adventure!!!  Today was mixed of waiting, waiting and discovery of different readings of kanji!

Last night of course involved drinking and surprisingly i managed to wake up at 10am and we were meeting at midday so was able to get out even though i was a little zombified for the rest of the day.

I had no clue where we were going or what the Shrine was called so i just followed, we waited for the bus to Kanazawa station and then ask how to get there, bus wasn't an option as the next bus was at 5pm! So we thought train and we were told to go to West Kanazawa station.  We missed the train by a minute and had to wait for the next one..... then when we got to the station we then had to wait again for the next train there.... alot of waiting was done....

Finally after 3 hours we got there!!!!

 The special ticket that you can buy which combined the train and bus to take you to the shrine.

snowy mountains!!!
The main shrine! I also learnt how to properly do the wishing, throw your money in then you bow two times, clap two times, make your wish and then bow again!!! 
After taking pictures and looking around we decided to eat at the many stalls that you get around the shrine, there was too much choice!!! I decided to go for fried chicken as there was no queues i think i really wanted the big meat of the stick but oh well there will be a next time! Hopefully in the summer!

There is sake in those rows of white things with all those kanji, there are offerings for the temple from what i remember reading up on.

Our journey back was much quicker as we were lucky this time and not much waiting maybe because of what we got as a free gift? 

This was inside the box jingling, isn't this cute!!!!!! And probably gave us luck!

So a short post but at least the first one of the year!!! I'm really glad i wasn't too hungover to go out today as last time i was in Japan i went to a shrine too on new years day!


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Wajima Crab Festival

Oh my! two posts in one day? This is a combination of avoiding work and instead of beening lazy do something with it....but still beening lazy in a sense :P

Yesterday out of the blue Taku, one of resident advisor of my dorm and a guy who did an exchange year at Liverpool John Moores asked me whether i wanted to go to this crab festival that was going to be held in Noto Penisula in Wajima city.  I of course said yes!!! Crabs yum yum!!!

We set off at about 9am and it took us about three hours to get there, the weather today has been bad and it has been raining for most of the day.  Also i'm glad that i thought about us going to the coast would mean COLD! I'm glad i wrapped up warm and I wasn't one of the people who kept complaining about the cold :P

Basically it was an eating festival which it my kind of thing! We weren't sure what to eat but headed for the Osyter, most of the food sold were expensive but you kinda expect it at these kind of festivals and you would have thought it would be fresh.

 It was really windy and raining but everything was under this big tent thing

These were quite expensive, about £5 for four, i shared two with Taku so £2.50 but they were really good and tasted really fresh!

 I would say the main attraction! Luckily I managed to get the last bowl of crab soup! With a little of gajin smash used but Taku only got soup :P but all of us managed to give him some crab

Fishing crabs, alot of kids were really interested in this, i heard it was £5 for a minute go! So expensive!
 MEAT STICK!!! It was really really tasty!!!! The beef was really tasty!
You could buy your own seafood and cooked it BBQ style, i regret i didn't heat up my scallops :( these were Irina's. So spent a little bit on the seafood but it was nice!!!! The scallops were probably the best deal as they were big and only £3.50

After finishing eating we tried to walk around, Wajima is famous for lacquer wear but it was really really expensive..... it got too cold for people so we decided to head back. The weather is rain, rain and more rain...i may have to invest in some wellies, it is insane, worst than Manchester i think! I presume when the temperature drops, that rain would then turn into snow....