Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Narita Airport

Hi, I came back from Taiwan, and since today is a national holiday I felt like updating this blog. The trip to Taiwan was awesome, and I'm feeling strong urge to upload some of the pics I took there. But this blog is about Japan, so this time I'd like to show you the biggest airport in Japan.

The alias for this airport is "New Tokyo International Airport", but this is in Chiba prefecture. From where I live I have to drive about 1 and a half hour to get here. It was Friday when I departed, so there were relatively many people.  

You can't find many interesting shops before you pass immigration. There are a drugstore, bookshop, and some restaurants. We had about 2 hours before I got aboard, so my friend and me had coffee at this shop "Croissant". 

 I woke up very early to catch the flight a little before noon, so I was feeling hungry and ate this apple pie. But soon after the plane took off, I was served food again. 

You can see many duty-free shops after immigration, such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, but I think this Japanese shop "Fujiyama" would seem more interesting to foreign people. 

These were what the shop was selling. The rectangular boxes includes round-shaped sweet rice cakes. It has a bit of Ankou inside, which is made from brown beans called Azuki.  

Lastly a bit about manga. There was a small shop for Otaku in Taipei, and I got this Chinese version of the manga "There is no way my little sister could be that cute". I can only recognize some words like 妹 and 可愛, or sister and cute. When I bought this manga, the shop clerk recognized that I was Japanese, and he said "Arigatougozaimashita" or thank you. 

I want to visit Taiwan again because the climate is mild and the people were nice to us.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

KO:HI:KAN (珈琲館)

As I told you before, I'm going to leave Japan for Taiwan tomorrow. So I needed to buy some things for the trip, and I came to a nearby department store. There was this coffee shop that opened one or two years ago, and since I'm a huge fan of coffee, I decided to have lunch here.

When I was in Tokyo, I often dropped by this coffee chain to relax. In Tokyo, you wouldn't have many places to sit on, so you'd end up at a coffee shop.  

This was a view I could command from my seat. We can see the left merry-go-round in winter at the same place every year. 

These are the sandwiches that I ordered. They had corned beef in between. I was thinking of ordering pasta, but that isn't typical of a coffee shop.  

In addition I had this hot dog. I'm relatively tall for a Japanese, so I have to eat more than ordinary people. The iced coffee was a bit too cold for winter. 

I want to try other kinds of coffee in Taiwan to see the difference. I'm a bit concerned about the weather of Taipei as it was forecast it would be sunny with occasional showers.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Taiwanese restaurant (台湾小龍包)

Some of my friends know this, but I'm going to travel to Taiwan next week. So I've been curious about what kind of food I would be able to have there. And when I was online I found this Taiwanese restaurant in a mall nearby, and gave it a try the other day.

Can you read the first two Kanji? It's written as 台湾, which means Taiwan. There are many Chinese restaurants in my city, but this is the only Taiwanese one. I'd like to show what 小龍包 is at the end. 

You might think there weren't many customers, but as I waited for several minutes, the seats started to be occupied gradually.  

There were several lunch sets available. This one I ordered had rice and boiled pork which would have been seasoned with soy sauce and mirin. Mirin tastes a bit sweet, but the sweet pork went well with the soft rice.  

And this is the 小龍包. The Kanji "包" means "to wrap", and as you can see they wrap something inside. The something is again boiled ground pork. It also had a bit of hot soup, and my tongue got burned a bit. Nevertheless I want to try many of this in Taiwan as this is one of the specialties of the country. 

Japan is close to Taiwan, and it takes only 3 hours from Tokyo by air. You might want to visit Japan and Taiwan on one trip.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Yabusame (流鏑馬) in Kasama

Yesterday was a national holiday "Culture Day", and it is a day when cultural events are held nationwide. I like this day as it is usually warm and it's when we can see beautiful yellow leaves on trees. So it's the best timing to take part in an even that is related to something cultural. I had seen an article in a local newspaper that "Yabusame" was going to be held in Kasama, so I went there yesterday.

We could see many events taking place in Kasama, and many of them concentrated in areas near this shrine. The name of this shrine was "Kasama Inari Jinja". "Jinja" means "shrine".

And one of those events was a contest for how much you could make your chrysanthemum pretty. You can see the flowers in various colors lining up the street. This is the main street of the shrine.  

 It was around noon, so we had lunch here. This restaurant was very crowded, and that made us think the taste must be very good.

I ordered this Inari soba. "Inari" means this fried bean curd, and another meaning is a god that safeguards your harvest. There is often a statue of fox in the premises of an Inari shirine. 

 Of course there were many stalls too that can be usually seen in an event like this. She was selling brown sugar steamed bread.

As I said before I came here for the purpose of seeing "Yabusame", but as it was going to be held at around 2:30, there was one hour left. So we decided to kill some time by having coffee here.

Kasama is known as where they produce good porcelain. You can see the iced coffee in the porcelain. The tastes of it and the apple pie were really good. It wasn't like "killing" time at all.

 Now, it was the time for the show to begin. The purpose of this time's "Yabusame" was to thank God for this year's harvest. As I waited on the street, horses and jockeys came one after another and I found myself getting excited.

What do you think of these traditional Japanese outfits? Do they seem really different from the ones of your country?

I shot a video of the Yabusame to let you see what it is like. Enjoy!