Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nebuta Festival @ Aomori

After a long ferry ride through the channel from Hokkaido, we finally arrived at Aomori (青森) just in time for the Nebuta Festival (ねぶた祭り)

Its a street parade of colossal illuminated floats accompanied by dancers...

Here are some of the nicer-looking floats:



At night, where the real celebration begins, and all the floats light up....

Here's what the actual parade looks like...
video

Otaru Canal

The symbol of Otaru City. The gaslights and stone warehouses along the canal produce a beautiful and romantic nightscape. Cafes, museums, restaurants & shops stretch along both banks.

Sapporo

札幌
"Capital" of Hokkaido. Busy city, but not as busy as Tokyo, of course.
What better way to see the city than from up above??
And coincidently, we found this ferris wheel at the top of a building.
Hmmm...

so this is what Sapporo looks like from above...
This factory Produces this
the sapporo beer we see in supermarkets and convenient stores everywhere....
and this famous chocolate factory
produces this 白い恋人 "white lover" chocolate biscuit
A thin layer of white chocolate wrapped between 2 soft biscuits... yummy..
There's also a toy museum inside the building...

Other nice sights include this Sappore TV towerand the old Clock Tower

Furano

Furano 富良野. A small town famous for its flowers.
There's nice puffy sunflowers(向日葵)
Nice Lavender fields (ラベンダー)

And a dozen other kinds of flowers of all shapes and colours.
We rented a bike and cycled around the town, fields and rivers... Visited the wine and cheeze factories (for FREE samples of wine and cheeze, of course)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hakodate

During the train ride to Hakodate, we dropped by a windy town.

You can see from the pic how Ahmet and I are enjoying the strong wind. And in between us... ermmm... an AFRO??? oh, its just Kim with her hair messed up by the wind.
haha

Next stop: Hakodate
函館 is probably the most romantic city in the whole of Japan. Coastal town, with nice slopes, marnia and architecture....
Many gentle slopes lead to the sea:
Western/Vintage style buildings everywhere...

Nice architectures of churches/charpels etc etc.

Also did some rock-climbing at the other end of the town
Bought a peach from the morning market. Check out Kim's "before" and "after" expression from eating the peach.

Conclusion: Peaches make pple happy???










At night, everything lights up in neon and yellow lights, increasing the romantic atmosphere...

This pic is taken from the top of Mt Hakodate. This small town is in between to arched coast. you can get a bird's eye view from here.
With this, I can conclude that Mt Hakodate is probably the best out of the "Top 3 night views" in Japan. (Refer to my previous blog entries, the other 2 are Mt Rokko in Kobe and Mt Inasa in Nagasaki)

Capsule Hotel

Yet another Japanese invention.
(From wikipedia) A capsule hotel (カプセルホテル) is a hotel system of extremely dense occupancy. The guest space is reduced in size to a modular plastic or fibreglass block roughly 2 m by 1 m by 1.25 m, providing room to sleep. Facilities range in entertainment offerings (most include a television, an electronic console, and wireless internet connection). These capsules are stacked side by side and two units top to bottom, with steps providing access to the second level rooms.

This is what it looks like from outside:

And the inside:
My feet is in the pic, u can use it as a reference for its actual size. Facilities:

Small personal TVControl Panal: Radio, alarm, lights, TV control
Its small and cosy, and provides basically everything u need for a night's sleep. Its kinda small - or like an enlarged coffin - not for the claustrophobic pple. haha.

Matsu-shima Bay

MaTsuShiMa (松島) is voted one of the most scenic places in Japan
This is why....
It has an amazing scenery for the bay and some small islands surrounding it...

Back on land, there are some nice shrines nearby













A ferry brings you around the islands... its a perfect opportunity to feed the seagulls then.


This is a bridge that connects the mainland to one of the smaller islands. Legend says that you will find your loved-one on this bridge while crossing it. But sigh... it was a weekday, and there was no one else around except us.
This stick of BBQ fish meat is one of the local specialty there.

Sendai

Sendai(仙台)
one of the busiest cities north of japan above tokyo. When we reached there, the whole place was decorated to celebrate their 七夕(TaNa-BaTa) Festival a few days later. Its the same festival as the chinese's 牛郎织女.

At another corner of town, there was another small street parade..(not sure what they are celebrating, but it sure looks interesting)...

video

The most famous local speicalty in sendai is 牛タン (Cow's tongue).
And what can be more authentic than actually eating it from this shop which created/originated this dish decades ago:
Here is what the set meal looks like. Rice, soup, and meat. The soup consists of bean sprouts and some pieces of beef meat. The main dish consists of some veg and a few slices of barbequed cow tongue's meat!!












It taste quite good actually.. very chewy...

After shopping, we went to a nearby tower to see the night view of the whole city.