Japan

Nov. 11th, 2005 12:32 am
riontel: (Default)
Собрала все свои японские записи на одной страничке, специально для родителей. Поразвлеклась заодно.
riontel: (Default)
In my travels around Japan I came across quite a few memorable sights most of them impressive and some awe inspiring. But among them stood out those that sent me into quite unseemly fits of laughter and it wasn't just Lena's handling of chopsticks. Japanese signs were so outstanding that I thought they deserved a separate entry. Unfortunately not all of them I was able to capture but those few that I did will still give you an idea, the rest I left to other travelers to marvel at.

Signs )
riontel: (Default)
According to the guide book it takes 40 to 60 minutes depending on the train to get to Nara by JR and the trains run every 15 minutes. We must have gotten extremely lucky because our train ride took over an hour. In addition to that we missed one train by a minute and the next one was scheduled in half an hour. On the other hand, it gave us a chance to get some breakfast, which consisted of Belgian waffles that we smelled out in the station and some freshly squeezed juice.

Lots of pictures of Nara )

Complete album:
Nara
riontel: (Default)
Saturday morning greeted us with pouring rain. Disappointed but not discouraged we dragged ourselves out of the room and in search of umbrellas. Search ended very quickly: hotel lobby sported an umbrella dispenser. BTW, umbrellas in Japan are ubiquitous, you can buy them on practically every corner, most public places have umbrella stands at the entrances (you just stick your umbrella in and when you come back it's still there!), and places that don't have stands give you special umbrella bags. After arming ourselves we slightly revised our planned itinerary and headed to Nijojo (Nijo Castle).

Pictures )

Complete album:
Kyoto, Day Two
riontel: (Default)
We intended to prepare for our trip to Kyoto beforehand, get the tickets, seat reservations, hotel. Well, few days before we were leaving Lena was on the phone calling each hotel recommended by the guide book one after the other. Online reservations fell through - everything was booked already and travel agent gave up. Finally it seemed that we lucked out, one place, a guest house, agreed to put us up on the requested days. However, Lena's closer inspection the next day revealed that the place only had communal bathrooms, which we found unacceptable (yes, we are spoiled) and she had to spend some time at work looking for a hotel with the bathroom, now specifically checking for that amenity. But she came through and the Gion Hotel offered almost everything I could ask for from a hotel room: clean room, clean bathroom, good location, and a comfortable bed. Although, after sleeping on Lena's couch for a week and a half any bed where no part of me would be hanging off every time I turned would have been comfortable.

Kyoto )

Complete album:
Kyoto, Day One
riontel: (Default)
A fast approaching end to the trip forced me to put some efforts into my search for souvenirs. I had a list of things to buy and very vague idea of where to look for them. So, Thursday was set aside for a shopping excursion. However, to sweeten the deal a bit, first stop of the day was the Japanese Sword Museum.

The proclaimed mission of this museum is preservation and popularization of Nihon-to. The preservation part they got down pretty well, all the items on display seemed to be in excellent condition. Popularization part, however, needs some work.

For starters, the museum is out of the way of any but the most determined tourist, it is not advertised in any tourist guide books or pamphlets that I've seen, it has no English explanations to go with the display pieces, and no literature in English in the museum store. Basically, only somebody who already has a strong interest in Japanese swords would find himself at the exhibit. And that is sad because they did accumulate a beautiful collection of blades and sword fittings. It's not large, just one moderately sized room, but it's the largest collection I've ever seen in a museum. The blades seemed to cover the golden age of Japanese sword making. I say 'seemed' because there were no dates that I could read attached to the swords, which makes me think that they were designated by eras, in Japanese. Terribly useful. And by myself I can miss dating a blade correctly by a few hundred years.

Also, there was no photography allowed, which I find completely idiotic. I understand how flash photography can be damaging to, say, paintings. What possible harm can photography do to a steel blade? And if you are not letting people photograph, why not have a color brochure available with pictures of all the exhibits? In English. And some other languages, too, actually. Not here, though. It was completely infuriating not being able to take anything away from there except memories. And since I don't have a photographic one, in a few weeks all I will be able to remember will be the fact that I visited the museum and liked it a lot.

Shopping )
riontel: (Default)
After a somewhat less than successful first attempt at seeing Nikko I was determined to see everything there was to see of Nikko's shrines and temples on the second day, so on Wednesday I made the now familiar track to the town and went straight to every good tourist's first stop - Shinkyo.



Pictures alert. Proceed at your own risk. )

Complete album:
Nikko. Part Two: Shrines and Temples.
riontel: (Default)
I've packed. I've repacked. Then I repacked again. But now, in a few minutes, my cousin and then Lena are supposed to show up and I'll be on my sad way home. Still owe myself, and whoever else is reading this, I suppose, five days worth of adventures but that will have to wait till I am safely in New York. I loved it here. I'd love to stay longer (a year or five, maybe). Desperately hope to come back again. I have a pocketful of small change, might not be a bad idea to find some fountain and dump it in there. For now it's a good bye, though. See you all soon.
riontel: (Default)
Nikko is Nippon, or so the posters plastered all over the Tokyo metro proudly proclaim. After reading a bit about the place I was impressed enough to set aside two days for exploring it. First day I planned to go up to the Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Waterfall and then go on a hike in the park, and second day was to be devoted completely to the temple areas. With that in mind I took the Shinkansen (bullet train) then the local train route and arrived in Nikko two hours later.



Intrigued? Read on. )

Complete album:
Nikko. Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Waterfall.
riontel: (Default)
During the planning stages of this trip I decided to visit Yokohama if I get a chance. There really isn't any rational explanation for my desire to drop by this fairly young modern city unless you know that Yokohama is a sister city of Odessa. And it's very close to Tokyo. And it has a very nice Japanese garden (I have a weakness for Japanese gardens) that was created in early 1900s but actually contains some very old historical buildings that were moved to the garden from other sites, restored and artfully arranged to display them to their best advantage. So, all those reasons combined to give me a perfect day trip from Tokyo. On Monday I hopped onto JR train and a short ride later was getting off at Yokohama station. Additional half hour on the bus, after some confusion I did manage to first get onto the correct bus and then get off at the correct stop, and I was at the Sankeien Garden.

Pictures )

Complete album:
Yokohama
riontel: (Default)
Since a_lazy_legendLena has a lot more free time than I do, she beat me to the report on our Sunday trip to Mount Fuji and Hakone. Also, since she is the beauty in our pairing, I am not going to bother posting any pictures of myself. Actually, now that I think of it, I don't have any pictures of myself, they are all in Lena's album. I have a whole bunch of pictures of her and she was too shy to share them with you, so I'll fill in the gap.

Pictures )

Complete album (and there is more there than just Lena):
Mt. Fuji/Hakone
riontel: (Default)
Asakusa (pronounced Asaksa) is a very lively neighborhood that I already visited two days ago to take in the Sensoji Temple, Asakusajinja Shrine and a famous shopping strip of Nakamise. So this is where I came back tonight deciding to stick around to see if the temple looks nice in the dark with the spotlights. While waiting for the dark to settle I had dinner.

Since our previous efforts at dinners were rather unsatisfying I decided not to experiment too much and just stepped into the first respectable looking sushi place I came across. It was one of those spots where the small plates with sushi go round on a conveyor belt and you just pick up whatever you like and then pay according to the number of plates you accumulated. Different colored plate - different price. (We used to have one of these in the World Financial Center, but I don't know if it's still around.) Somehow most of the stuff I liked fell into 120 yen category, there were also few cheaper items, like regular tuna, for instance, and some really expensive (500 yen) disgusting looking things. Beauty of this sort of place for a foreigner is that you don't have to know a word of Japanese to feel completely comfortable. As long as you know enough to recognize all the items you need, you are all set.

Don't know how high this joint would be rated among Japanese but as far as I was concerned the food was better than the average fare you would get at a typical New York Japanese restaurant. I was rather hungry and managed to accumulate about 8 plates before getting my fill, which basically meant that my dinner cost me 1,000 yen or less than $10, and no waiting time. Not a bad deal if you ask me.

So far I've had sushi three times. First time Lena's friend Ida took us to a nice place for lunch, sushi there was excellent but she had to order for us. Second time we got a take out with my cousin, prepackaged box of sushi. That was barely passable even by NY standards and included some stuff that I don't eat, like octopus (too chewy even for me) and sea urchin (too disgusting even to look at). And this place. I only picked the stuff I recognized: yellow tail, some other white fish (I like most of those), eel, shrimp (the normal kind, not the gellied one that they seem to prefer), crab. All of it was very good.

After refueling I walked around Asakusa for about an hour, browsed through all the tiny shops lining the streets and decided on what I wanted to get for myself before leaving. Didn't buy anything yet, though. And, of course, I did get to see the temple and the surroundings. Quite pretty:

Pictures )

Complete album:
Asakusa
riontel: (Default)
Discovering that the rain had not abated while I had been busy admiring Japanese Arts and Crafts I decided to add another museum to my experience. Since I still haven't figured out how to get to the Japanese Swords Museum I had to settle for Edo-Tokyo one. It's a fairly new museum situated in a very modern looking building.

Pictures )

Outside the rain had finally stopped and instead of looking for another indoor activity I decided to go for a walk.

TBC

Complete album:
Edo-Tokyo Museum
riontel: (Default)
A sad sight of wet Tokyo that greeted me this morning upon waking up decided my itinerary for today. I decided to load up on some culture and with that in mind set off towards Tokyo National Museum. It's one of the museums located around Ueno Park and according to the guide "if you are only going to visit one museum, make it a Tokyo National Museum". Museum is actually comprised of four separate buildings but I only visited the one dedicated to the Japanese Arts.

Pictures )

Overall I came out of the museum very satisfied with the experience. However, it was only 2pm and my day was far from over.

Complete album:
Tokyo National Museum
riontel: (Default)
Went to Kamakura today. Since I am once again following in a_lazy_legendLena's footsteps I'll skip all the main attractions, they haven't changed since two weeks ago, and explanations, Lena is a much better storyteller than I'll ever make, and just add few touches to her story.

For today I had a very ambitious plan, which I didn't complete because my back can handle a lot less than my brain wants it to. So I didn't hit any of the lesser temples in the area. Guess I'll just have to come back there one day. I had to settle on seeing all the usual tourist spots, starting with a walk along Dankatsura (cherry lane that was sadly lacking any trace of cherry blossoms) to the Hachiman Shrine.

Near the Shrine I ran into a girl from Albuquerque (I easily recognized a fellow American by the prominently displayed Frommer's guide to Japan) and she nicely agreed to take my picture, right after I took hers. We stuck together for the rest of the day too.

Pictures )

Complete album:
Kamakura

Dinner

Oct. 20th, 2005 11:36 am
riontel: (Default)
Yesterday Lena decided to pick a place for dinner out of the guide. The place she chose supposedly had an English menu but didn't have an English sign outside. Since Tokyo can boast one of the most bizzare building numbering schemes, we did not want to trust our dinner chances just to the address, so Lena copied down the Japanese sign to the best of her calligraphic abilities and we went searching. There we were, walking down the street, Lena busy carefully inspecting all the signs, me just trailing along. At this one spot she decided to ask for my advice, which I readily offered saying that to me it looks just right (those wiggles all look the same to me, to be quite frank). Wrong answer, apparently, because I was told I was crazy and then dragged on farther. Two blocks later, when we finally started paying attention to the numbers, we figured out that we must have missed our destination and after some hesitation decided to turn back. Well, after realizing that it indeed was possible to follow blocks 3-9 and 3-8 with a 3-4, we located the restaurant easily enough. You probably have guessed by now, it was the exact same spot I mentioned earlier and had Lena listened to me it would have saved us some fruitless wondering around. As it was, I got something to gloat about for the rest of the evening. Food, btw, was terrible, by the end of dinner I was wishing we never found the place.
riontel: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] a_lazy_legend already did her take on this attraction but I was in the neighborhood and decided to stop by despite her unfavorable account. I came to the neighborhood to activate my JR pass but like a complete idiot I forgot to bring along my passport so that had to be postponed.

The park was a bit scary. It's overrun by a huge number of homeless people, who made quite a home out of it. You can see small huts all over the place, complete with clothes lines and other features of human habitation. Along with hordes of homeless the park is teaming with cats, who look a lot cleaner and better taken care of than humans. So visitors admire and pamper ubiquitous cats and studiously ignore fellow human beings.

I also didn't make it into any museums because it was getting a bit late and I didn't want to get stuck in the area after dark, but I did stop by the courtyard of one of them to capture some sculptures of owls.

Pictures )

Complete album:
Ueno Park
riontel: (Default)
My first full day in Japan started pretty early, Lena leaves for work around 8:30 am and in an effort to get my bearings and some breakfast I walked her to work in the morning. We stopped for breakfast at a French cafe, decided to meet up later for lunch and went our separate ways. My chosen destination was Marunouchi or, more specifically, Imperial Palace and the East Garden. To my surprise I managed to get to them, see everything I planned and get back without getting lost ones! I think this was the first for me. I compensated for it later.

Pictures )

TBC

Complete albums:
Imperial Palace
East Garden
Bonus
riontel: (Default)
As [livejournal.com profile] a_lazy_legend already reported, I am in Tokyo, got here yesterday 2.5 hours later than expected, tired beyond belief. Will try venturing out by myself today. If there is no update tonight, the trip probably didn't go as planned :) Will keep you posted.

Profile

riontel: (Default)
riontel

December 2016

S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
1819202122 2324
25262728293031

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 27th, 2017 08:29 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios