Posted in Family, Feelings, Food, Japanese Culture

Gathering with Relatives

Today, I attended my Uncle’s 7th Anniversary of Buddhist Memorial Service.

My mother’s side of relatives gathered to pray for him.

We miss him, but we were all smiling and sharing memories about him.

He gathered us in one place despite our business and strong Typhoon 21.


After the prayer, we enjoyed lunch while busy catching up with each other and moved to one of relatives’ house to continue tea party.

My cousin cooked home made gyunyu  kanten (milk jelly) and pumpkin pudding; delicious!

Persimmons are harvested at their yard.

I love their fruit and vegetables because they don’t use pesticide at their farms!


There are alerts for floods and landslides for the area where I was and roads that need to take to return Tokyo.

It rained cats and dogs; however, I wasn’t afraid driving in rain because I know my Uncle is happy to see me and he would make sure to bring me back home.

I miss him.

Posted in Family, Feelings, Food, Music, Tokyo

Dating with Dad

I replaced Mom to accompany Dad to Tokyo Symphony Monthly Concert, Suntory Hall, Akasaka, Tokyo.

Tonight’s Programme:

F. Liszt: Prelude and Fugue on the name B-A-C-H, S. 260

A. Schonberg: Variations for Orchestra, op. 31

S. Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, op. 43

M. Ravel: Bolero

Tonight’s concert was conducted by my favorite conductor: Mr. Jonathan Nott.

He conducted as if he is dancing at Bolero: energetic, passionate and rhythmical!

After the concert, we had Californian Cuisine at Wolfgang Pack Pizza Bar.

We enjoyed food and chatting.

Father-Daugter’s night is not bad.

Posted in Experience, Family, Feelings, Food, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Music, Place, Restaurants, River, Shrine and Temple, Travel

Trip to Nara & Kyoto (Day 3)

I started my day with a breakfast @ Minokichi, Hotel New Hankyu Kyoto, Kyoto.


First, I stopped by at Kami Kamo Jinja (Kami Kamo Shrine).

First Torii (Shrine Gate)


Noh Butai (Noh Dance Stage)


Second Torii (Second Shrine Gate)


Main Area


There are two mountains of sands to purify the place.

We can find two mountains of salts at the entrance of restaurants and stores; this place is the origin for the ritual.


Unfortunately, exterior of the main hall is under renovation.


I prayed at the Main Building of Shrine and the shrine is beautiful; this shrine is registered as the World Heritage in 1994.


Then, I took Eizan Densha (Eiden: Eizan Railway) from Demachiyanagi Station to Kifuneguchi Station.




Some seats are facing windows to admire scenery.


Kifune is famous for Kifune Jinja (Kifune Shrine) and Kawadoko Lunch.

I look forward for this Kawadoko Lunch; literally it means river floor.

It’s hot during the Summer; therefore, people built a lunch place on the river to cool down.

I took an image photo.


I had this Kawadoko Lunch at Kifune-So, Kifune, Kyoto.


It’s naturally cooling!

Water is so close!

I ate my lunch in splash of water and I enjoyed it!

I love it!!!





After enjoying nice local Kyoto Cuisine, I visited Kifune Jinja.




We took a train back to Takaragaike Station.



Next is my last stop in Kyoto: Kyotsukemono Nishiri (Kyoto Pickles Shop Nishiri).



Free pickles sampling with white wine!


I arrived Kyoto Station.

While waiting for my Shinkansen, I was busy enjoying KYOTO.

First, I stopped by Gion Tsujiri (green tea speciality shop) to enjoy Green Tea and Matcha Soft Cream.



I still had more than a half hour; I also stopped by Kyoto’s local coffee shop: Inoda’s Coffee.


I had a traditional Cream Soda (melon soda with a scoop of vanilla ice cream).


Time’s up… Sayonara Kyoto.


My Shinkansen arrived, but Oops, I missed a nose of Shinkansen.


I’m going to miss this scenery.


I listened to special Disney songs by keying access code which is labeled on Sokenbicha (non-caffeine blended tea) bottles while eating dinner on Shinkansen.


I enjoyed this trip to Nara and Kyoto; I would love to visit these places again.

Posted in Experience, Family, Feelings, Food, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Place, Restaurants, Shrine and Temple, Travel

Trip to Nara & Kyoto (Day 2)

I had a Japanese breakfast at Minokichi, the Hotel New Hanshin Kyoto, Kyoto.


We departed Hotel for Kameoka Station to catch a Sagano Romantic Train (trolley train).




At Sagano, we have choice of ride: hours coach, Hozugawa (Hozu River) boat ride and trolley train.



This time, I choose trolley train.



The train has come.

But isn’t it back of train…?

The view from window is nice.




This is the front of train.

Looks cool!

We arrived at the last station.


After a train ride, we went to Shigetsu Restaurant at Tenryuji (Tenryu Temple).

This is Zen Vegetarian Cuisine.

Don’t worry, we can request a chair and it is very very VERY delicious!

Highly recommended!


Tenryuji is known for a beautiful Japanese  garden.



I also walked inside of Tenryuji’s main hall: Daihojo.


The drawing on the sliding doors is beautiful as if a dragon is alive.


Then visited Rokuonji (Rokuon Temple), famously known Kinkajuji (Kinkaku Temple).

It’s beautifully in gold.

I returned to hotel for the night event.

After freshing up, I watched Maiko’s dance on the roof of the hotel.

Maikos are trainees of Geisha; therefore, they are less than 20 years old.


Hotel turned off the lift for the main event: Gozan no Okuribi.

This event will be held on 16 August annually.

This is Buddhist ceremony to send spirit back to heaven.

Five letters or symbols will be lighted by fire on five mountains.

大 (Dai, meaning Large)

This is famous Daimonjiyaki (Dai letter in fire).

Unfortunately, the letter didn’t face in my way.


Funa Gata (Shape of Ship) on the right and Hidari Daimonji (Left Dai Letter) on the left.


Torii (Shape of Shrine Gate)


During day time, we drove by where Hidari Daimonji will be lighted.

This is how it’s prepared.


After enjoying the evening, I had late dinner.

It was nice Kyoto local food.


I spent another memorable day today.

Posted in Experience, Family, Feelings, Food, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Place, Restaurants, Shop, Shopping, Shrine and Temple, Travel

Trip to Nara & Kyoto (Day 1)

It is Obon season, Buddhist ceremony season.

I decided to spend my Obon in traditional way this year.

I met my parents at the Tourist Information Center Tokyo, Tokyo Station Nihonbashi Exit.

We can get information on sightseeing places.


We took a Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto.

I had brunch on Shinkansen.


The scenery from window is nice; rice field is so green!


We arrived Kyoto Station…


But early for hotel check-in.

We took a break at Cafe Koto and I shared a strawberry shave ice with Mom.


Our hotel, the Hotel New Hankyu Kyoto, is nicely located in front of Kyoto Station.


And they served us a welcome peach shave ice – another shave ice for a day! hahaha


The famous Kyoto Tower is just few buildings away.

All of us have been to Kyoto many times, but none of us went up to the observation floor.


It’s 131 m high; it’s not tall, but we can see a whole Kyoto.

Shinkansen left for Osaka; and Shinkansen is long because there are 16 coaches!


We can spot the famous Sanjusangendo and  Kiyomizu Dera.


We can overlook the Higashi Honganji (East Honganji)


Nishi Honganji (West Honganji: there is West so there should be East)


Toji (To Temple: East Temple)


At the bottom of Kyoto Tower, we had Sushi for snacks.


After adventuring in the area, we departed Hotel for Nara.

On the way to Nara, I continued sightseeing.

This is Fushimi Momoyama Jo (Fushimi Momoyama Castle) which was built in 1592.


This tea field is Uji Cha (Uji Tea) field: Kyoto specialized tea field.

I took a photo from a moving bus so image is not clear.

We can tell this tea field is for Uji Tea because farmers cover it with black plastic sheet to produce Uji Tea.


We entered Nara and passed the original Todaiji Uramon (Todai Temple’s back gate) which is old as early 8th century.


First, we had dinner at Tenpyo Club in Nara before the night event.


After dinner, we quickly stopped by at Kikuichi Cutlery to buy souvenirs.

This shop is famous for Japanese knives and swords, but also sells local confectioneries and local specialties.



Local deers know this shop is nice!


This place is full of deers and they act like they are LOCALs! hahaha


Then we walked to Kasuga Taisha (Kasuga Main Shrine) for Mandoe (Buddhist Lantern Festival): one of our tonight’s events.





We went to Tobihino (field) to watch Daimonjiyaki, fired letter 大 (dai) which means Large.


It started to rain again; don’t erase the letter!


Then, we walked to Todaiji (Todai Temple); the last event of the day.

This is Nandai Mon (Nandai Gate) of Todaiji, guarded by A-Un (A & Un).


Todaiji looks mysterious in rain.



Look closely; the window is opened tonight.

We can see Buddha’s face.


This is Japan’s largest Buddha.


I feel calm by looking at him and I won’t get board looking at him…


At Todaiji, I tried to bring more luck by getting through a pillar.

I managed it so I’m blessed! Yeah!!!


It was so romantic to spend late evening at Todaiji and pray!


Posted in Art, Family, Feelings, Music

Classic Concert @ Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 

I haven’t visited Kawasaki for quite some time.

Kawasaki looks different from how I knew before.

At the entrance of the hall, a street organ received us with nice music.

On behalf of Mom, I enjoyed powerful music conducted by Mr. Jonathan Nott with Dad.

Today’s music are

T. Hosokawa: “Klage” for mezzo soprano and orchestra based on Text by Georg Trakl

And

G. Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C minor, “Auferstehung”