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Archive for the ‘Asia’ Category

180620062528 As part of the conference we attended in Sendai, we had a bus tour taking us further up North, to the World Heritage sites of Hiraizumi. Our first stop was Chuson-ji, a Buddhist temple located on a wooded hill. 180620062243 (more…)

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Back in Sendai

180619034106 After almost six months, we’re back for a (all-too brief!) whirlwind trip to Japan.
This time, we traveled basically directly after arriving in Narita up to Sendai in the Tohoku area to attend a conference. We had been there once before – ages ago – for a Silver Week Sightseeing trip. This time we were a bit unlucky, chancing on a mayor outage of the (usually famously punctual) Tohoku Shinkansen, which resulted in a 5 hour delay (most of which we spent in Kooriyama Station in Fukushima Prefecture). But since then, things have been going smoothly.
We finally made up our earlier negligence by trying the local sweets – Zundamochi – small mochi balls in a green paste made from Edamame. It almost seems a healthy snack! And it’s quite good, we went back for seconds.

ZundaMochi

Eating zundamochi at Sendai Station

We even went back for a very brief stint to the scenic Matsushima Bay, for a dinner with lots of local seafood.
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Looking towards Matsushima Bay

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Of course we’ve been numerous times to Akihabara back when we lived in Tokyo, but we’ve never used it as a starting point for a walk through town. Today’s walk was a walk of contrasts, showcasing the many faces of Tokyo. Akihabara is so colorful with anime illustrations on many buildings and full of young people. From there, we walked to the Kanda-myōjin (神田明神), a historically important shrine. Today, it was still crowded and busy due to ongoing New Year’s celebrations.

Gate of the Kanda Myojin

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Even though Kyoto is reputed to be the most beautiful city in the world, we decided for once to spend our Sunday not in the old town, but to go see something new instead. Kobe, at only 28 minutes ride by Shinkansen, presented a nearby option. We arrived at Shin-Kobe Station which is located on the slopes of the surrounding hills, and went right on to the Shin-Kobe ropeway, which whisked us up over wooded hills to the Nunobiki Herb Gardens, which present a view of Kobe lying below and its port and bay. The garden itself is in this season not much of an attraction, but one can imagine that it must be nice when it’s all in bloom. The view is of course also good in winter, even though we did not chance upon a clear day.

Kobe Meriken Park and surrounding hills seen from a cruise ship on the bay.

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Unicorn Gundam

Since September of last year, a new giant Gundam statue is standing near the Diver City mall on Odaiba: a 19.7m tall RX-0 Unicorn Gundam. After having paid a visit to the original Gundam one year ago, we obviously had to see the new one, too! It is quite impressive due to its sheer size. Every two hours, its head changes (along with dramatic music and pulsating lights) from Unicorn Mode to Destroy Mode (two horns). (more…)

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Japan is known for things going smoothly and people behaving themselves at all times. But apparently this is not automatic. Train companies for example feel compelled to constantly educate their patrons on how to behave themselves, respectively how not to behave on the train. On a single trip into Tokyo, I noticed three different companies’ posters on how to behave, showing somewhat different takes on the matter.

Totally unacceptable!

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My last trip to Japan was quite a whirlwind trip lasting only a few days, so I couldn’t really do much or go places. But I did manage to eat some of my favorite foods, some quite fancy, some not so much (but still good).

Tendon from Daikokuya in Asakusa

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