Japan–In the land of the Rising Sun


After a long and tedious flight we finally arrived in Tokyo Haneda, exchanged our vouchers for a 21 days JR pass, which allows you to travel free of charge by train all over Japan, and made our final leg of the journey to the city of Kanazawa…

Totally exhausted after some 22h of travel we were just looking for a bite – so here is a sample of a typical evening meal which you can find on the upper floors of most department stores in Japan…

Sashimi in a bowl on a bed of rice

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accompanied by some miso soup (this time the noble variant with crab)

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Nigiri sushi (the sushi we consider as “classical”) is an invention or more a development forced by the Americans… The “old” type of sushi was pressed rice in larger cakes with fish on top of it. Yet after the 2nd world war war rice was rationed and the amount was just enough for some rice rolls with fish on top; so the Japanese traders in Tokyo then came up with this new concept which spread throughout the world…

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Crab with some gold flakes

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Yummy – yet you have to get used to eat these (no, no worries, they are cooked…)

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In more most places (except the very classic Japanese restaurants) the food is displayed in front of the place

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You still don’t understand, but at least you have an idea what it might be…

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Actually these are all models which are sometimes hand-coloured as well…

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Little pieces of art themselves

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As we do like some soup at night which is not as rich as ramen we you can get some at a convenience store and sip it in our hotel room…

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The soup is a clear broth and the ingredients are made from a ground root called “cognac root”. It has virtually no (for us usable) energy content and tastes very nice. Especially the structure is quite interesting (chewy) Zwinkerndes Smiley

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I like these as well – dried squid…

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As we still had a desire to get out a bit we headed for another hotel opposite the railway station (around those usually all hotels gather as Japanese use the train very much for business travel)

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In this special case it was on the 17th floor thus allowing a nice view over the city

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The downside is that most bars have a cover charge of around 500 YEN per person (approx. 4 €) but that’s part of the show…

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And there is a lot of show

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Classical dry martini

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Another downside is that in most of these places people still smoke and the smell is quite annoying and horrible so we left after the first drink…

… One night later and being a bit more relaxed and friendly with the world…

Ok, so we are in Kanazawa, a mid-sized city which became quite famous due to its castle and garden (Kenrouken), its museum of 21st century art and for its preserved older buildings (at least some parts of the city).

So in principal it’s the classical mix of elements you find in most places in Japan – old meets new, side by side

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In this context temples are usually very interesting as most of them date back several hundreds of years and virtually remained unchanged – aside some restorations. So you can always get a good glimpse for the old there

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As we were still in cherry blossom season the trees were in bloom and adored like everywhere

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Sweet little fragrant things

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Water siphons in dragon shape are quite common and usual 

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Well, I said it’s still cherry blossom season Smiley

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In a 17th century temple

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The typical “doji” gate

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… you know the text …

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The doorway is made from wood covered in cloth and then a coating

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Prayers

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And an individual one…

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Camellia in full bloom…

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We were heading for the art museum but had to discover that there were only 2 exhibitions at the moment… Architecture after the tsunami and a local artists’ show. Shocking… Kitsch pure… And this in an international art museum – what a shame… You were even supposed to pay around 8 € / person for each exhibition…

The only cool thing was their special exhibition (free) for architecture designed for dogs Zwinkerndes Smiley

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Nice and funny things indeed

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So we had some lunch instead…

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Lost in translation once more… What do you order if no one speaks any English… Well, a dictionary is a good start and if that doesn’t help then producing animal sounds and pantomime makes it quite clear what you expect and are supposed to receive (hopefully) Zwinkerndes Smiley

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Yet the final results were rather nice and tasty

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And not too expensive either (business lunch like this is around 12 – 14 € / person)

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As the Japanese are quite mad about their cherries (and plums) they plant different varieties so that the blooming is extended. As it was pretty rainy this led to streets full of petals

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… and another one …

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The Kanazawa castle moat

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Looks pretty tasty Zwinkerndes Smiley

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up to the castle

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Spring is on its way – despite being rather chilly at the moment (14° and raining…)

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A very posh letterbox

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Small side-streets in Kanazawa

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Here is one of the better preserved places – the only downside is that no-one really lives there. It’s more like an open-air museum with plenty of shops

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The rain got harder and we had to shelter…

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West meets East Smiley

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Traditional kimono

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The traditional dress is worn not only for show occasions, but in everyday life as well. It depends very much on the occasion and family. If you go to a Kabuki theatre (classical Japanese theatre form), then you will see plenty of them…

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Old houses from the approx. 18th century

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And a very stylish loo Smiley

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One of the more fascinating things are the inner courtyards which very often have extremely nice designs

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As trees are sacred they go quite some distance for their protection Zwinkerndes Smiley

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When entering buildings (with classical tatami mat flooring) you have to take off your shoes…

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And then you are able to contemplate in old samurai houses overlooking the garden

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Which actually was very nice indeed

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These small gardens are often much more interesting than the big ones

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As they have so much moss, ferns, etc.

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Lost in contemplation Zwinkerndes Smiley

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The path to the tea ceremony

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A water place

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and a wonderful detail

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This is the view from the upstairs rooms over the garden

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Another building with a beautifully aged lion

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And there is the building as well…

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View over Kanazawa towards the Northern Alps

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In the evening we headed to the food district…

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into a typical Japanese restaurant

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Well, without Japanese you cannot achieve a lot. The menu translation (if existent at all) mostly is quite abysmal and the interesting stuff not present Zwinkerndes Smiley

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Like this – slimy seaweed . Yummy!!!

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A local delicacy – squid cooked in broth

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So in general you are in for some blind tastes – most of the time we ask the chef (cook) for suggestions and leave the choice to him… Works in 99,9% – and the 0,1 can be disposed off quite easily.

On the way back we were still a bit hungry and therefore went into another place which was more like a drinking parlour

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And had some small bites & drinks there – funny again… This time admiring the ring we bought at the museum as well Zwinkerndes Smiley

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Another variety of good luck bringing winking cats – we like this one much better than the classical Chinese

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Kategorien:Japan

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