Posted in Beauty, Choco-chan, Exercise, Feelings, Food, Friends, Health, Place, Restaurants, Tokyo, Travel

Health and Beauty

I went to Megalos Hibiya Studio to participate in Volt Drum (Exercise in Dark using Drum Sticks).

We use two drum sticks that light in dark when we hit them.

It was fun but I look forward for Volt Box (boxercise In Dark) next week.

Hopefully, I don’t need to cancel it.

After the lesson, I went to Chinese Restaurant Keiraku @ Hibiya/Yurakucho for dinner with my friend.

Oops, beer tasted VERY NICE!

I came back home and greeted by Choco.

I dressed him in Halloween Costume.

He looks nice but he will try to take it off. ahhhhh

For beauty…I’ve been using Gerovital which I bought them when I visited Romania last May.

I’m about to run out so I ordered via Amazon.

Apparently, these arrived from Romania.

I received some samples, too.

Of course, the price is more expensive than what these are sold in Romania.

However, I have sensitive skin and so far these never gave me any troubles.

Posted in Art, Experience, Family, Feelings, Food, Friends, Hotel, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Nature, Place, Restaurants, Shop, Shopping, Shrine and Temple, Tokyo, Travel

Trip to Northern Japan’s Three Greatest Summer Festivals (Day 3)

Unfortunately, it is raining today, but I already watched all three festivals so rain doesn’t affect my day or mood.

I went for the morning dip; the bath was switched with men’s over night.

I had a buffet breakfast and I enjoyed their croissant waffles very much.

It’s dangerously delicious!

I didn’t have much time to use their facilities, but hotel prepares many activities for guests to enjoy during their stay.

We departed for Hiraizumi, Iwate.

We reached to Hiraizumi, Iwate where the town is recognized as UNESCO World Heritage.

We visited Chusonji (Chuson Temple) and the temple is famous for Konjikido (Golden Hall).

Today, Konjikido stands inside of a building to be protected.

Everything including the hall structure is made by gold.

We cannot take any photos inside so you need to visit to see how golden it is!

At the premise, there are many places to visit and to pray.

I had limited time so I could not visit all; nonetheless, I visited here before and I explained in details in my previous blog.

Hopefully, you would enjoy reading other days of my blog.

Shakado

Benzaiten

Amidado

Sankozo (Museum)

Dainichido

Mine Yakushido Hall

Hondo (Main Hall)

Benkeido

Tsukimizaka (Tsukimi Slope)

The rain was hard so my pants and shoes are wet.

But again, I didn’t mind because I watched and enjoyed all festivals in okay conditions.

These festivals continues for few days and many people planned to visit today.

Due to the weather (heavy rain), some festivals might get cancelled and there is no replacement day.

So I consider myself very lucky.

I had lunch at Sake Brewer: Seki no Ichi, Ichinoseki, Iwate.

Today, factory moved to a new place; original Kura (Storage) became a restaurant and shop.

Under the paper, there are many flavors of mochi (glutenous rice cakes).

Mochi is served to Gods and local people eat Mochi on important days for goods (celebration) and bads (sad).

From top left, zunda (edamame: young soy bean), goma (sesame), daikon oroshi for refreshment (ground white radish), anko (red bean) and kawaebi (river shrimp).

The pot dish is called Oshu Hatto.

This is made by flour and water; same ingredients with Udon (flour noodle).

It’s in a piece before cut.

We break it in pieces by our hands to put them in the pot.

We put them in a boiling pot together with all vegetables.

The restaurant offered a lucky draw by mochi (oh, no! More mochi! These are basically rice so very filling) ; I lost.

The winner get a sake bottle, how lucky!

This Sake Brewer also brew beer: Kura Beer.

I like their beer which has unique bitterness similar to dark beer though it’s in gold.

I bought Sake bottles for the next home party to enjoy them with friends. hahaha

We arrived Sendai Station to catch our Shinkansen (bullet train) back to Tokyo.

Sendai Station is already decorated for Sendai Tanabata which will start tomorrow.

Sendai Tanabata is also known as one of greatest festivals in Northern Japan.

These represents various wishes: health, wisdom, wealth, etc.

We took Shinkansen Yamabiko 152 back to Tokyo.

This was a fun trip!

Posted in Art, Beauty, Experience, Family, Feelings, Food, Hotel, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Nature, Place, Travel

Trip to Northern Japan’s Three Greatest Summer Festival (Day 2)

It’s cloudy today.

I went for morning Onsen (hot spring).

There is a Rotenburo (open-air bath) to overlook ocean.

I had Japanese breakfast.

These look old fashioned but food is very delicious.

I enjoy their food very much; very local and very fresh.

Their Onsen is nice and food is delicious.

It sands in front of ocean to enjoy ocean view from a room.

I departed Aomori for Morioka, Iwate.

Yes, the station that I arrived by Shinkansen yesterday.

I look at Iwate-yama (Mt. Iwate) again, the same mountain that I was looking yesterday.

We returned to Aomori Station, Iwate to watch Sansa Odori (Sansa Dance).

Sansa Odori is a combination of odori (dance), taiko (Japanese drum) and flute (Japanese flute).

This dance is dancing for appreciation and celebration of Kamisama (Gods) defeating Oni (evils).

There is a rock with Oni no Te (Evil’s Hand Print).

Evils promised not to return again by making a hand print.

This myth is the origin of name of Iwate Prefecture: Stone Hand Prefecture.

There are many groups and style of Sansa Odori.

The actual performance will be at night, however, to increase the awareness of Sansa Odori, many groups performance during day time at few places such as in front of Morioka Station, Malios, etc.

We went up to the observation room of Malios to overlook Morioka City, Iwate.

We departed for Akita for the last Summer Festival of the tour: Akita Kanto Matsuri (direct translation is Akita Lantern Bamboo Festival).

We reached Akita City.

This road named Akita Kanto Odori will be the street for the performance.

Again, we took early dinner, this time at Akita Castle Hotel.

Hotel banquet rooms became huge buffet dinner place for tourists.

It was like a zoo. hahaha

After dinner, I took a photo with a famous guy in Akita: Namahage.

He looks fierce, but a nice guy.

He scares away evils to being good lucks!

We went to the street to watch the performance.

This is again originated from Lantern Festival; many of us are Buddhist.

It’s an amazing festival with sound of taiko, fue and Kanto (Lanterns on Bamboos).

A person to hold Kanto extends bamboo and it bents greatly with weight of lanterns, making difficult to hold it.

Furthermore, they balance it on their palm, forehead, shoulder and hip.

They start from small.

They are small, but already a great performer!

I enjoy it very much.

About at 9 pm, we left Akita for Oshuku Onsen (Oshuku Hot Spring).

We reached Hotel Mori no Kaze Oshuku at 11 pm.

I found our supper, onigiri (rice balls) in our room; however, I’m still full from dinner.

We quickly went to take a bath because a public bath, Onsen, will close at 25 o’clock.

It was nice.

There is a Rotenburo (open-air bath) and special lemon bath to remove our tiredness.

Oyasuminasai (Good Night)

Posted in Art, Experience, Family, Feelings, Food, Hotel, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Mt. Fuji, Nature, Place, Sunrise and Sunset, Tokyo, Travel

Trip to Northern Japan’s Three Greatest Summer Festival (Day 1)

I took a Tohoku Shinkansen, Yamabiko 43, operated by JR Higashi Nihon (JR East Japan) for Morioka this morning.

There is a train map.

It is common that two Shinkansen runs till Sendai Station then disconnected to become two Shinkansen lines.

Shinkansen is heading north; the place for Japan’s major rice production.

I had a lunch box on the Shinkansen.

Ta-dah

More rice field.

We arrived Morioka Station and look!

There are many buses for tourists!

We headed for Aomori by bus.

We stopped at Tsugaru Service Area for a break.

We can take a good view of Iwaki-san (Mt. Iwaki) that is also called: Tsugaru (Tsugaru is old name of this area) Fuji.

Isn’t it look beautiful as Mt. Fuji!

First, we checked in at Ryokan (Japanese Inn), Asamushi Sakura Kanko Hotel because Nebuta Matsui (Nabuta Festival) starts 7 pm so that we have to have an early dinner at 4 pm.

The room is in old fashioned.

There is a Fusuma (Sliding Door), I opened then…

A view from a room is also nice.

We relaxed at the room, then had a dinner at 4 pm so that we could leave at 4:50 pm.

I also had a Wakame Men (seaweed noodle)

And dessert: coffee jelly.

Dinner was very delicious.

These food are made of fresh ingredients!

Then we left Ryokan for Aomori: Nebuta Matsuri.

There are bankers for Nebuta at ASPM (Aomori Sightseeing Products Mansion).

Then we moved to our seats for watching the Nebuta Matsuri.

The parade started.

The origin of Nebuta is the lantern festival.

The decoration became unique so craftspeople started to present.

That’s how this Summer Festival began.

They will turn it, spin it and bow it!

There is a group of Hayashi (musicians), making rhythm.

Haneto (Jumpers) – anybody can rent a formal wear to join jumping.

There are cute ones.

Chocobo…? Final Fantasy…?

Even from small, they turn Nebuta.

There are so many people to enjoy the moment together.

After enjoying it for about an hour and half to returned to Ryokan.

Futon is ready.

And I found a supper on the table…?

Onigiri (rice balls) for supper.

After satisfying my stomach, then I took Onsen (hot Spring) for my relaxation.

We are staying at Asamushi Onsen (Asamushi Hot Spring).

Water is cleared and nice.

My skin is smooth and moist!

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

Weekend Trip to Kyoto (Day 3)

I had Namafu Manju which are made by flour gluten for breakfast.

There are Matcha (green tea), shiro miso (white miso) and koshian (red bean).

We could stay till noon but we checked out to explore Kyoto.

First, we went to Sanjusangendo (Sanjusangendo Temple).

There are 1.001 Juichimen-Senju-Sengen Kannon (11 Faces-Thousand Arms-Thousand Eyes Kanzeon) Buddhist deities.

We are not allowed to take any photos inside of Main Hall so you need to visit to see them with your own eyes.

These are amazing.

I sat at outside of the Main Hall to enjoy peaceful moment.

This is where I sat.

This is the view from the Main Hall.

There is a nice Japanese garden.

There is a spiritual well.

A Buddhist monk dreamed about this well.

Water is cool and delicious.

This well never dried up and never too much.

The sound of welling is like sound of sobbing; therefore, this well is called Yonaki Sen (the origin of Night Crying).

This water can also calm down night crying babies.

After spending peaceful moments at Sanjusangendo, we took a lunch break at Maeda Coffee at Kyoto National Museum.

I had a Roast Beef Don (roast beef rice) with salad set and Torarin (Kyoto National Museum’s Character) Uji Matcha (Uji Green Tea) Cappuccino.

We continued exploring to Toyokuni Jinja (Toyokuni Shrine).

It’s a beautiful shrine.

This shrine worship Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Japanese Shogun Hideyoshi Toyotomi.

Hideyoshi was farmer then he climbed up the ladder to become Shogun who unified whole Japan for the first time.

He used gourds for his symbol when he was just a horse-riding worrier.

He added a gourd one by one after he won a war.

That is why gourd is a symbol of success and there is a gourd vine.

Next to Toyokuni Jinja, there is Hoko-ji (Hoko Temple).

Hideyoshi built a large Buddha, but it broke when Fushimi Large Earthquake hit the area in 1596.

The bell is from the original from Hideyoshi era.

We can see two white boxes on the bell.

These words triggered a war between Toyotomi and Tokugawa.

Tokugawa won and started Tokugawa era: Edo Jidai (Edo Era).

Next, we visited Yogenin (Yogen Temple).

This place looks peaceful from outside, but this Temple is known as Chitenjo (Blood Ceiling).

This temple is built to calm down warriers’ souls who lost their lives by harakiri because of losing a war.

The floorings of Fushimi-Jo (Fushimi Castle) are now used as ceiling.

We can see Taisho (Master) of body, hands, feet, etc.

This temple is decorated by arts of famous Japanese painter, Tawaraya Sotatsu (Sotatsu Tawaraya).

We are not allowed to take photos here so I can only share partially with these postcards.

There are other places to pray: Byakue Benzaiten.

Bishamonten

Shirataka Ryujin

At last, we visited Hojuji (Hoju Temple).

The Main God is Migawari Fudomyo.

This Fire of God replaces bad fortune for us.

I quickly pray to other Gods and Goddess.

This is a mark for 100 times payer.

I thought we might not able to visit many places today; but we did.

I bought a Kyoto Cuisine obento (packed food) for dinner.

Posted in Daily Life, Exercise, Family, Feelings, Food, Friends, Gadget, Hotel, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Place, Restaurants, Shop, Shopping, Tokyo, Travel

Weekend Trip to Kyoto (Day 2)

I had obento (packed food. Actually, I bought sandwich this time) for breakfast last night.

I had Amanoya Tamago Sando (Amanoya egg sandwich), Azabu Juban, Tokyo and Jiichiro’s Baumkuchen – a souvenir from Mom’s friend.

For Amanoya Tamago Sando, I recommend to eat this as soon as possible because it surely taste better when it’s fresh and fresher the better.

Oh, I should introduce one of services that this hotel provides to hotel guests during our stay.

The hotel provides a free mobile to call, access internet and to obtain sightseeing information.

Foreign tourists surely appreciate this service.

Today, I visited a friend; I had nice lunch while we chatted.

I returned to Kyoto and enjoyed shopping at JR Kyoto Isetan, Kyoto Station.

Why shopping in Kyoto?

In Tokyo, I have things to do — mainly house keeping — and there are too many people at a store that would make me feel tired to do shopping.

Here, I could take time to pick clothes. hahaha

I had a dinner at Kyoto Cuisine, Kyo Yasai Ryori Sepporai (Kyoto Vegetable Cuisine Sepporai), Kyoto Station.

I enjoyed Kyoto local vegetables very much!!!

After dinner, I went for a walk: window shopping at Porta, shopping area at underground of Kyoto Station.

Window shopping is my favorite way of exercise!

I walked for an hour easily.