Tag Archives: Japanese

Something fishy…

22 Feb

Today we met up with Dayffd, Kye and Sam (?) who we met last night at Bonsai Guesthouse to go to the aquarium.

We grabbed some food for lunch on the way.  Indian again, not as good as the last place but still delicious.

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We then walked to the aquarium.
The aquarium surprised me, I didnt think I’d like it but there were definately some kawaii (cute) animals there. I even got to see a whale shark! If you’re in Osaka I definately recommend going here.

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This was the whale shark feeding!

After the aquarium we headed back to bonsai guesthouse to grab our bags and then jumped on the train to Hiroshima.
We got to Hiroshima, found the ryokan we are staying at and then called it a day.

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Art Galleries

22 Feb

Today I did my own thing and went to check out some of the art galleries in Osaka.
My first stop for the day was the National Museum of Art, Osaka.
They had 2 exhibions on while I was there,  their collection and one called What We See.
I really enjoyed their collection.  They had done great works by artists that I knew of as well as a few that were new to me that I noted down to research later.
One that I was a bit surprised to see was Marcel Duchamp’s work L.H.O.O.Q. I’ve only ever seen it in text books.  It was quite funny to see the Mona Lisa with a moustache even if it was only in pencil on this version.
They also had Andy Warhol’s portfolio Marilyn prints, a George Segal sculpture,  Wolfgang Tillmans, Roy Lichenstein and many more!

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The second place I visited was the National Bunraku Theater of Japan.  There were no shows in but I did get to see a very interesting exhibion. Bunraku is one of Japan’s  representative traditional performing arts,  designated as a World Intangible Heritage by UNESCO in 2003. It is a closely collaborative form which synchronises narrative recitation, shamisen music and puppetry in one performance.

After this exhibion I went in search of a post office as I had some postcards I needed to send. It seems that post offices are either rare of well hidden in Japan! I searched for an hour and a half and even asked a few people but still couldn’t find what I was looking for.
I then have up and stated walking back to the train station and ta-da! right in front of me was the post office!

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So I posted of my postcards which people will probably get after I get back to Australia and headed off to try and find the Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum.
The museum turned out to be pretty easy to find which was great because it was getting late.
I viewed a “exclusive premiere exhibion of Osaka prints fun the edo era” which were all amazing.
We recently had a Ukiyoe exhibion at the art gallery I work at so I was familiar with the idea.
Originally, prints represented (all male) Kabuki actors that were much appreciated by female audiences. Edo (today’s Tokyo) was the cradle of Ukiyoe prints,  nevertheless, Kamigata (today’s Osaka) was also a very industrious and creative area.  Where Edo represented style and elegance,  Kamigata stood for delicacy and a sense of humour, sometimes almost caractured, showing a desire to render the actor’s personality.

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After a day full of Art I grabbed some dinner from a place called Italian Tomato (since tomatoes are my favourite food it seemed perfect) and then headed back to bonsai guesthouse.

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Back at Bonsai Guesthouse I had a shower and got ready for bed and was hoping to talk to my boyfriend but the Internet was being terrible. After playing around with it for a while trying to get it to work I went upstairs to the common room to get some tea.  To my surprise I was doing into a farewell party for a Korean girl named Kim who I think worked at the guesthouse.  There were a lot of people there and I was in my pajamas.  They insisted that I sit with them and have some cake and a drink. I sat down next to a Japanese girl named Nami and talked to her for a long time.  She kept telling me that I was kawaii, she was lovely! She asked me if I have a boyfriend so I showed her a picture and she said that he was handsome. I asked her if she had one and she told me no,  she was not popular with the boys which surprised me because she was pretty.
Anyway,  I met many other people as well,  some staying at the guest house and others just party guests.
I met two guys from Chilli (their names were difficult to remember), two girls from Germany (Charlotte and another name that I had not heard of before), Daffyd from Wales who lives in Spain, many lovely Japanese people and one guy from the states.
It turned out to be a fun night.  I got to bed at about 1.00 as I knew I had to check out in the morning. 

Rain, Rain and Temples!

19 Feb

I woke up this morning with hope that it wouldn’t be raining. My hope was short-lived when we walked outside. I needed to do my washing today, I couldn’t put it off any longer so I had found out where a coin laundry nearby was and put all my clothes in a bag. There was just one problem: all I had left to wear was a shirt and long socks with a top and jacket. I was going to freeze!
I headed outside and to my dismay it was snowing! Great. Now I suppose I will understand how the Japanese school girls must feel everyday.
Luckily the coin laundry was only a few blocks away so we rushed they’re in the snow and packed all the clothes in the washing machine and then headed to a cafe in the same block for some breakfast/lunch.
When the meal came out I couldn’t belive how big it was. all this for only 800yen! There was no way I could eat it all. But I have it a good go.
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After trying to kill some time while our clothes were in the dryer we went back to the guesthouse with the warm clothes and I immediately got changed into some jeans. Much warmer!

We then headed off to go and look at Isshin-ji Shrine and the buddha statues that I thought were made out of human bones. The bones idea nearly made me not visit this shrine but Lock really wanted to see it so we went. I was happy to find out that it was much less morbid than I thought it was going to be and the statues were made from ashes and not full bones.
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Our next stop was Shitennoji Temple which is the oldest Temple in Japan!
I found out that the Temple was founded in 593 by Prince Shotoku and dedicated to the four guardian kings aka shitenno. Over centuries the buildings and structures have been distroyed repeatedly by various disasters, but the people’s devotion had always made it possible to rebuild.

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All of this took much less time then we thought so we headed to the Umeda Sky Building. We got off the train at Umeda Station but couldn’t see any signs pointing us in the right direction so I asked the closest person. The high school boy, Numda (?), tried to show us on a map how to get there but when we looked confused he offered to take us there.
10 minutes later, he’d taken us to the sky building and I’d found out he was going to college next year to study economics and today was his one day of school for the week so he was “sight seeing collages”.
We thanked him and then walked into the building. I don’t think I realised just how big it was going to be until we got to the 5th floor and entered the lift to get to the 35th for where we brought our tickets.
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The view from the 40th floor was amazing. I was feeling very faint though and a little bit nauseous though it was definately worth it!

After this we went on a hunt for some dinner. We found a cafe and had some pizza and cake. Yum yum!
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Tomorrow I think I will head to a few at galleries!

The Day That Nothing Much Happened.

18 Feb

Today we had to check out of Osaka Central J-Hoppers because they were closing for a few days for a staff retreat.  We jumped on the train around 11.30ish after a bit of a sleep in and then packing up our room.
The new accommodation want far away so we headed there in the pouring rain,  without umbrellas and with all our bags!
We got to where we were staying and asked to leave our bags as we couldn’t check in until 16.00. They let us do that and we trekked through the train yet again to find some lunch. Lock had done Maccas but I held out until after he had finished and grabbed a donut and a cup of tea from Mister Donut. It was good because we were able to spend a fair bit of time inside this way and not get too drenched.
We got back to the guesthouse at 15.00 to see if we could sit in the lounge room but they said we could check in.  Our rooms seem to keep getting larger at every place we stay at!
We cranked up the heater and tried to stay warm while making plans.
We decided to go to a Mexican restaurant I was told about which was only one train stop away since there was really nothing and the guesthouse. The restaurant was awesome, and the food even better! It was very Mexican themed with graffiti from visitors covering the walls.

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I ordered a burrito and a Mexican lemonade. The lemonade was amazing!  It tasted a bit like a spider.

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After dinner we stumbled across a place where we could play pool,  so we went in and played a few games.
We then headed back to the guesthouse for a bit of an early night and in an attempt to stay warm.

Monkeys!!

14 Feb

Today started out as a washing day.  I spent most of the morning washing my clothes and drying them.
At 14.00 the day took a huge turn when I met up with Lock, Rach and Haniko and it was decided that we would go to the monkey park!
We took a very long bus ride to the other side of Kyoto (I shouldn’t complain,  it was nothing compared to the trip to Sapporo). We arrived at arashiyama monkey park and trekked up the mountain path for 15 minutes to reach the top where you were able to feed the monkeys! It is 155m above sea level. There is also an amazing view of Kyoto City and the surrounding mountains.
There are about 130 Japanese monkeys at the park. One of the staff was telling us that they all have names and they can tell the difference between their faces. They also know the date of birth of every monkey!

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We had decided last night that we were going to cook dinner in the kitchen of the guest house instead of eating out as it was Rach’s last night in Kyoto.  we went to the suppa near our accommodation and brought all the things we needed for spaghetti bolanaise. It was quite difficult setting as everything was in Japanese. Once we managed to find all the ingredients we went back to the guesthouse to cook.  The meal actually turned out really well and we were all a bit surprised that we hadn’t accidently brought the wrong ingredient.

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After dinner we went out to kareoke for a few hours then came back to the accommodation and after an ice cream we all went to bed.

Hannah x

Kyoto Historical Adventures

13 Feb

Today was surprisingly productive.  We got up at 11.00 and met Rachel from Australia and Hanika from the UK who is staying in Kyoto to go out on an adventure.  After kareoke last night we had agreed to meet up for Moss Burger so off we went! After brunch we decided to be dedicated tourists. We jumped on the bus and headed to the Golden Pavilion.
The Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku) is a Buddhist Hall containing relics of Buddha. The area which it resides was originally a site called Kitayama-dai and was owned by the 3rd shogun of the Muromachi period. The villa was converted into a Temple by the priest Muso-kukushi after the shogun died.  In 1994, this Temple was registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site.
Gold foil on lacquer covers the upper two levels of the pavilion and a shining pheonix stands on top of the roof.

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This was a lot of fun.  I tried many times but after the 4th turn I got my coin into the bowl.

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I decided to have my fortune told. I got one that said “quite good” do I folded it up and hung it on a wire like I was told to do.

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Nijo Palace was amazing even though there was quite a bit of scaffolding around as they are resorting the castle. My favourite part was the nightingale floor which made bird sounds as you walked on it. This was so that when they were sleeping they would be able to hear if and intruders entered the castle.
The castle was built originally in 1603 as the official Kyoto residence of the first Shogun,  Ieyasu, with the addition of some structures transferred from Fushimi Castle. Nijo Castle is full of amazing paintings and carvings that were generously commissioned by the shogun. The castle was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

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We weren’t allowed to take photos inside but trust me when I say it is amazing!

We went to the Gion District next with the hope of seeing a Giesha. We didn’t see one but we did see a lot of people in traditional dress which was wonderful in itself. It stated getting very cold in Gion so we heading into a Starbucks to warm up.  We managed to entertain ourselves by playing checkers with coins on the table.

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We then headed off to a tea ceremony and leant about “the way of tea” at a Japanese-style tea house called En. We were able to watch a traditional tea ceremony.  I was surprised at how long it took and how many different movements were involved! We were then able to make our own tea! It was hard to wisk the tea so it had enough froth. I also found it interesting that the tea scoop is named at each ceremony with a name from nature.
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We had dinner at Sukiya after this. I had a vegetarian curry. After that I went to bed and had an early night.

Hannah x

Welcome to Kyoto

11 Feb

After another very long train trip we finally arrived in Kyoto at 13.00. I’m very glad that there won’t be anymore train trips that long any time soon!
The first thing I noticed about Kyoto while traveling in on the train was the amazing mountains surrounding it. Although you don’t notice that as much once you get into the city as there are so many skyscrapers to block the view.

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We spent the next hour or so trying to find accommodation.  Thankfully a very nice elderly gentleman pointed us in the right direction or it would have taken us a lot longer. After we organised out accommodation for the night at the new miyako hotel we only had to have some lunch before it was time to check in.

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We spent the next few hours enjoying the luxury of having a bath and then decided to have a look in Aeon Mall that was just across the road from us.
We grabbed some snacks from the local suppa (supermarket) for dinner and then made out way back to the hoteru (hotel). We are some dinner while watching tv that we did not understand and then called it a night at about 20.00. We were utterly exhauted!

Hannah x