Thursday, April 1, 2010


"Writing it as 'A Man's Dream', you read the kanji as 'fleeting'"

"Ace Attorney Investigation: Miles Edgeworth"

Been a busy week, being the final week of the vacation and people leaving Japan. Last Tuesday (or the week before, because my sense of time has shown no signs of life lately), we went on a trip to Kumamoto. Which actually allows me to use the "kumamoto" tag again. First we visited the Suizenji, a somewhat quaint Japanese garden within Kumamoto-shi, with a large lake with giant carps and a lot of miniature landscapes. This, for example, is supposed to be Fuji-san (no no no, not mr. Fuji).

Afterwards we traveled to Asosan, intending to climb it (again), but due to the bad weather, we had to cancel that and for some reason, we played a drinking game (without the drinking) in the vulcano research center, before we left again. Few things are as scary as riding in car, on a winding mountain road, in a thick layer of fog. Especially if the car-navigation guides you to the wrong place on said mountain.

Finally, we proceeded through countless of mountain roads again (still in the fog, but now with extra darkness) to Kurokawa Onsen, a onsen village hidden away in the mountains. The village really consists only of onsen houses and small restaurants. We visited the Yumerindo, which at least had the most impressive building in the village. After a hour of soaking in the rotenburo, everyone was amazingly relaxed. Especially the drivers looked somewhat worrying too relaxed. Somewhat disappointed in the total lack of murder though. No bodies floating in the rotonburo? No people bludgeoned by death by a frozen towel or piece of ice that has molten in the onsen?

Kumamoto foodtips: if talking about Kumamoto food, what comes up is unmistakenly basashi (sashimi of horse meat). It's tasty, somewhat fatty (not as fatty as whale meat though) and a must-eat if in Kumamoto. In Kurokawa I tried a chidori meshi, which was steamed chicken rice and it was godly. Was it because it was still being steamed due to a set of burners beneath the steam baskets? Was it because I was so relaxed by the onsen everything could've have tasted godly? In any case, unforgettable meal.

Another Kyushu trip was to Nagasaki. As I said to Jimmy, which, in chronological order, was after Nagasaki, but anyway, there is not much to visit or see in Fukuoka. However, Nagasaki appearently has loads of touristic spots and as we only went half a day to Nagasaki, we only picked visited a couple of things. The small China-town was err... small. Especially compared to the Yokohama one. Of course we tried chanpon, which consists almost of the same ingredients as sara-udon, which I prefer personally. Then we walked towards the Glover Garden, while passing through the Oranda Zaka ("Holland Slope") which was indeed a slope. But not much Dutch stuff there. Before we arrived at the Garden, we also visited the famous Ooura Church.

Which.... was a church. Yeah. Then we at last arrived at the Glover Garden, a big park where a British entrepeneur and contributor to the modernization of Japan lived. Being on top of a hill, it also provided a nice view of the city.

Finally, we visited the Nagasaki Peace Park, where the atomic bombing of the city is commemorated.

And skipping to and fro in time, it's time for the sakura to bloom in Japan! The best place for the sakura in Fukuoka is Maizuru Park, where the old Fukuoka Castle used to be.

Other Fukuoka-attractions we visited the last few days, like the Fukuoka Tower or the Hakata Port were not very interesting, besides a small aquarium and a (free, but not very high) lookout tower, but maybe must-see things if you've been living here for a while now. When Jimmy visited, I had much trouble actually finding something worth visiting in Fukuoka. And people usually don't believe me if I say I'm from the Netherlands ("but you're Asian...right?"), but the surprised face of the Japanese who asked us both where we were from was almost worth it. Maybe having two Asians from the Netherlands is just too incredible. Globalization still has a long way to go.

Food tip: when making takoyaki, strawberry-yaki is not a good idea. Really, it isn't.

And finally, yesterday, we had to say goodbye to two members of the JLCC program, as they had started half a year earlier. It's surprising how fast half a year went by. But of course, if you're having fun...

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