- 04 May 2013
Golden Week is the only long holiday in Japan and so this was our chance to go on a tropical holiday to the southern Okinawa island, Ishigaki. Flying to Ishigaki takes two hours from Osaka, and the subtropical island is located almost next to Taiwan. Ishigaki is surrounded by smaller islands, some formed by coral. We went there for five days to enjoy the sun, sea, beaches, palmtrees and fresh pineapple juice! The island of Ishigaki is surrounded by coral so on the beaches you can find all kinds of dead coral which has the weirdest shapes (some look like brains!). Also beaaautiful huge seashells. There was a huge beach right next to our hotel so the first day we took a long stroll along the shore. I took a hand full of really pretty shells to the hotel room when they suddenly started walking!! Seemed all the shells are inhabited by hermit crabs :-0 I had to return them all to the sea… :-/ (they were so beautiful…) The next day, we took the boat at Ishigaki port to one of the neighboring islands, Taketomi. This island is formed by coral and is really small, though people live there and there are even some schools. We walked around this beautiful island where all the houses are built in the traditional Yaeyama way (Yaeyama is the name of the island group). These houses are really sturdy with strong tiled roofs to protect from the many heavy typhoons that occur in this area. But even more interesting is the Shiisa Lion, the little roofguardian on top of all the houses. He is kind of a mix between a lion and a dog and according to the Yaeyama legend, he protects the people form typhoons and earthquakes. But, one of the coolest things of Taketomi is the star sand beach!! Only two beaches in [...]
- 20 April 2013
We visited the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo and saw our first panda ever They look extremely cute I have to say, sitting there on their butts and eating bamboo all day. They’re so cool! They are the main attraction of Ueno Zoo, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any other exotic animals around: I really enjoyed this zoo! The animals seemed quite happy too, being very active and playing around (unlike the zoo in Kyoto with its small cages…). I’d recommend a visit when you’re in the Ueno area
- 07 April 2013
I just love how Japan changes in color and atmosphere during the year. The blossom time is fantastic, in February the plums are all blooming bright and around the end of March the beautiful cherry blossom trees go in full bloom. Everyone is having fun and sitting underneath the trees, barbecuing, drinking beer, having a good time . First some photos of the plum blossoms. These are near Osaka castle, where there is a huge plum grove. I remember when we both were walking around here a year ago, we had no idea we would be living and working in Japan a year later. (you can read the old post here!) Plum Power: But then, there’s more! Only a month after, the sakura season starts. The cities in Japan are filled with sakura trees, and they all turn in to beautiful blossoms. The sight is truly amazing. Here are some impressions: People sit around a are picnicking underneath the trees. In Tokyo: During the evening they light up the trees to get an even more magical effect: Unfortunately I didnt have the chance to see the sakura in Tokyo, but Ward came to Osaka and we had a real Osaka dinner on the 32nd floor in Umeda, overviewing the city <3 !
- 10 March 2013
♪Happy(｡´＿●`)ﾉ┌iiii┐ヾ(´○＿`*)Birthday♪ March 2nd was Wards birthday and we celebrated it with a lot of delicious foods We started the day by going to Takano, a very famous fruit and delicacies store that sells strawberries for 100 euros a box (!). If you don’t want to pay that much but want to have a chance to taste their fruit, you can try the delicious parfaits. We chose the strawberry and musk melon parfait and loved it!! After that we headed to a very special location: A fancy restaurant located on the 52th floor in the middle of Tokyo. The view – and the food – was fantastic. How can you beat that view?? We took the fantastic 7 course dinner, with some very Japanese style dishes! Appetizers (not sure what everything was but it tasted good : Sashimi: Shrimp with miso and potato: Fish hotpot: Green tea jelly desert: It was really delicious. The atmosphere of the restaurant was also amazing, it felt like being in a movie about cybercity Tokyo. The cool blue entrance: Look, there, on the top floor, that’s where we had dinner We ended the night with some awesome karaoke!! Happy birthday Ward!! ♪Happy(｡´＿●`)ﾉ┌iiii┐ヾ(´○＿`*)Birthday♪
- 19 February 2013
I went to Singapore for 5 days to attend the FZD workshop “concept art for next-gen videogames”. I went with a colleague and we really had a wonderful time, learned a crazy lot and even had some time to do some sightseeing in this amazing city. During the day, we were attending a concept art workshop, lead by Feng Zhu, with talks and demos performed by the amazing artists James Paick and Kekai Kotaki. I really admire the work of the three of them, so meeting them and seeing them in action was a fantastic experience. We couldn’t take pictures during the seminar, however one of the artists posted the work he did during the workshop online, so here’s an impression of what we learned about! Kekai Kotaki drew this amazing piece in about 6 hours while chatting and talking about concept art with Feng Zhu: During the evenings and night however, we had free time to stroll around Singapore and do some sightseeing. One thing that really made a an impression on me: the buildings are craaaazy in Singapore!! I love the Marina Bay Sands building, the three skyscrapers with this boat shape on top. The top is actually a huge swimming pool and club. The design is so cool! I guess if you don’t have the threat of earthquakes, you can go more way out there with your architecture. I was really amazed walking around Singapore how every building had these unique shapes and materials, to stand out from the buildings next to it. Also the mix of old European style houses, Chinese temples and huge golden shiny skyscrapers is jaw dropping. Everywhere you look there is something interesting to see. This was the concert hall, covered in spikes, like a big pineapple! Singapore is a [...]
- 11 February 2013
Armed with flashlights, we did a scary hike this weekend that followed the tracks of an abandoned railroad, right through the mountains and with several long, dark and creepy tunnels! It was a very exciting trip, and beautiful too since the old tracks follow a wild river that flows through a green valley. The railroad starts right behind some houses and farms, on a small road with warning signs: “This is not a hiking trail! Dangerous!” The railroad used to follow the river through the valley until it was not used anymore after the completion of a faster more direct railroad track: And so, the old railroad got abandoned and overgrown, leaving this interesting trail. The trail isn’t dangerous at all, unless ofcourse you forget to bring your flashlight! This railroad crossed a total of 6 tunnels, some so long you really can’t see anything… Bravely we entered the first tunnel… Time to turn on the flashlights! Until after some time, making our way through this moist tunnel with cracks in the walls, we finally saw the end of the tunnel Along the way, we crossed several abandoned buildings and rusty structures. We even found an old motorbike. The river and mountains next to the trail are really beautiful, a nice contrast with the rusty tracks. And there’s Ward approaching the next tunnel Sometimes there were side-tunnels, that were flooded and even scarier than the normal tunnels… Who knows where these tunnels lead?? After the fourth tunnel, we were surprised by this rusty structure: An old rusty bridge! Kind of scary to cross it, hoping it wouldn’t collapse :p We followed the trail for about 2 hours until we arrived at a small village in the mountains. The sun was already setting. The final tunnel was the [...]
- 29 January 2013
We didn’t climb mount Fuji, but we did hike to the top of Takaosan, a slightly smaller but also beautiful little mountain in the outskirts of Tokyo! Japan’s steepest train tracks took us to halfway up the mountain from where we walked all the way to the top. The view from halfway up was already amazing. the temperature was slowly dropping the higher we got, and even the statues were wearing a winteroutfit! The roots of the trees on Takaosan resemble an octopus, so there were these cute statues of octopusses everywhere. Ofcourse, also on this mountain live the Tengu, a mountain demon from Japanse folkore with a very creepy long nose: Getting higher and higher up the mountain, snow began to appear! Almost there! Finally we made it to the top! With a spectacular view on Tokyo and the sea! Walking around the top of Takaosan we also had a beautiful view on .. Fuji!! And back down! Afterwards we went for a spectacular Tempura dinner in Shinjuku. It was by far the best tempura I’ve eaten in Japan!!
- 22 January 2013
I went urban exploring in Japan for the first time. Urban exploration is the exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned ruins or not usually seen components of the man-made environment. This is very exciting and not entirely legal, which makes it even more exciting. I was invited by Ikumi, a very experienced urban explorer. Check out her site for a lot of awesome urban exploring photos. We were joined by Hiroshi Asai, Eriko and Chris Luckhardt, please check their sites as well. Japan is full of these modern ruins, inluding abandoned themeparks, love hotels, temples, military facilities etc. We went first to an abandoned temple, which dates back before the war. We had to jump over a fence in order to get to the temple. A difficult task to do unseen as the temple was surrounded by houses. You have to be very careful because you’re trespassing and don’t want to get caught! The temple was already pretty decayed so we had to watch our step. There was a big metal swastika symbol lying around the temples whereabouts. Finding our way through a shack next to the temple. We could enter the temple room through this part. This was the temple altar. To be in this room was kind of scary. It had a very gloomy atmosphere. And can you believe al this gold stuff is still there after all those years? Only in Japan… I really felt a bit like Indiana Jones here. Next to the altar hung this portrait of I believe Emperor Taisho of Japan. He reigned from 1912-1926. I guess this place must have been abandoned around that time then? We also found this mounted turtle, completely covered in dust. The skeleton of a Japanese sliding door. These newspapers date [...]
- 18 November 2012
Yes! It’s autumn again and that means an explosion of bright red leaves! Today I went with some friends to Minoo, a lovely place in the mountains north of Osaka, and a famous momiji viewing spot (momiji being the bright red leaves). It was amazing! These photos have not been altered, these were the actual colors:
- 08 October 2012
Yay this weekend was my birthday and I had a wonderful time! Lucky it was ” Health and Sports Day ” here in Japan so I had an extra free day to enjoy. Last year I celebrated my birthday in a real traditional Japanese way by dressing up like a Maiko, this year I wanted to celebrate in a really traditional Dutch way! And what do you know, in Osaka is a real Dutch restaurant!! It’s actually the only acknowledged pancake restaurant outside of Holland and besides pancakes they serve all kinds of really Dutch dishes. The owner is Japanese but lived in the Netherlands for quite some years before opening this restaurant in Osaka in 1996. The restaurant is called ” Oude Kaas” and I had such a good time there!! Een patatje met mayonaise! Home-made bitterballen en kaassouffles! And then Sate Babi… And also a pancake… It was too much but sooooo good to taste those Dutch flavours again. The restaurant is really close to my house so I’m definitely going there more often to try the stamppot, blinde vinken, zalm, mosselen etc etc. We also visited the World Expo Park ’70 this weekend. This park has a huuuuuuuge and kind of strange statue in the middle, that represents the sungod… Kind of creepy but impressive! Really huge!! And creepy The park was beautiful, lots of flowers! And ofcourse we also ate cake :3
- 25 September 2012
We went to the Tokyo Game Show!! This massive and popular game event shows all the new and upcoming (Japanese) games and is ofcourse a must-see for us All the big Japanese game companies were there, showing their new stuff: Square Enix… Konami… With Hideo Kojima ofcourse Level 5… And ofcourse: CAPCOM! I have to say I felt a litte proud, Capcom had the biggest and most elaborate stand of them all: A complete Monster Hunter village with monsters and game characters: A real courtroom where you could play Ace Attorney! In this shady bar you could try Biohazard 6: And here are the Capcom employees :p We all wear this at work And now for the COSPLAY! People always like to dress up as game characters at these kind of events, but wow there were a lot of cosplayers at the TGS!! Here we go! Hello? He doesn’t look happy… Brick-guy! A sad mermaid: Poor girl, she couldn’t afford a top that fits…:p And a loooot of Final Fantasy cosplay! Yuna: There were THOUSANDS of old guys with cameras taking pictures… Some Metal Gear (with caloriemate and facewarmer!): But this one was my favourite! Silent Hill cosplay:
- 17 September 2012
This weekend was holiday-time, since monday was de day of the elderly and all of Japan had a day off! Jurgen, Carlijn and Ward came to Osaka and together we went on a daytrip to Kobe! Kobe is not so far from Osaka (about 30 minute trainride) and it’s a lovely town with a big harbour and surrounded by mountains. Kobe used to be the biggest harbour of Japan, but never recoverd to that status since the huge earthquake of 1995. Nowadays, Kobe is a very nice city with an international atmosphere! There is a bustling Chinatown with delicious Chinese delicacies, and almost every country has it’s own “house” on the hills of Kobe. Ofcourse there was also a “Holland house” with wooden shoes and stroopwafels. We took the ropeway all the way up the mountains from where there was a beautiful view over the city! You could look all the way to Osaka. Walking down the hills through the Kobe herbal gardens, enjoying the view and a nice rose cider! In a park near the sea are replicas of old ships and nice architecture:
- 26 August 2012
Summer in Japan always means lights; whether it’s amazing fireworks shows or lanterns floating on a river. This weekend, the park around Osaka castle was lit up with thousands of small lanterns. You could buy your own lantern and place it in beautiful patterns on the fields around the castle. There was live music and food stalls, people picknicking under the stars! And a lasershow too! During the day it’s now incredibly hot and it’s almost impossible to walk in the sun during the day without fainting :p The very hot weather also brings very heavy thunderstorms, sometimes lasting for hours. Ward and I were taking a stroll in beautiful Minoo, a nature park north of Osaka, when suddelny a huge thunderstorm occurred! Luckily we could shelter in the bug museum Afterwards we had a nice cup of coffee in a very old Japanese teahouse. The coffeefoam had the image of a “teru bozu”, which is a Japanese doll which brings good weather. And it did, the sun came out ^^
- 12 August 2012
Today I went to Comic Market. The biggest comic event in Japan, and maybe the world. It’s absolutely massive, there where so many people! I took some shots of a couple of cosplayers for everyone to enjoy !
- 12 August 2012
Summer in Japan means fireworks and festivals! And not just any fireworks, the bigger the better! Each fireworks festival attracts thousands of people and the viewing spots are already full with people hours before the show starts. We went to the Tokyo Sumigawa fireworks show, one that has a long history and is said to be held for the first time as early as 1732! It’s not just about the fireworks, it’s the whole atmosphere. People gather around on their ” leisure sheets” (plastic sheets to sit on), buy some beer and yakisoba (fried noodles) and have fun! When the fireworks start, everyone is cheering and screaming, really funny
- 18 July 2012
It’s been a month since I moved to Osaka, time flies! So many things happened, I moved to my own apartment, started a new job and became an aunt! In the meantime summer kicked in, and that means temperatures of above 35 degrees during the day (and it does not cool down at night). Almost too hot to go outside but still some energy left to do some sightseeing in Japan. I live almost next door to one of the most popular places in Japan: Osaka Castle. Located in the middle of a huge park, this castle was built in 1597. Damaged and destroyed through the ages, the current castle is a reconstruction that was finished in 1997. The building is a really impressive sight to see, especially since it’s located in the middle of the concrete jungle of Osaka. Beautiful isn’t it?? Ward is overlooking the view from the park that lies high above the rest of the city: We also visited the Botanical Gardens of Osaka, the biggest greenhouse in Japan. It was built during the World Expo 1990. The funniest part of the Expo Park was the area with all the tiny gardens dedicated to different countries (even “countries” like Bavaria and Hamburg :p). But since the park was clearly not maintained since 1990, everything was overgrown and broken :-p Here was the Dutch garden: Which was a weird sluice with a sunken boat haha! The windmill was splendid though: A little bit of home in far away Osaka!
- 20 June 2012
A couple of days ago I arrived in Osaka, which is completely different from Tokyo! Osaka is a harbour town, the people are more rough but also friendly and open. Also, Osaka is not nearly so big as Tokyo, so I can basically go everywhere by foot. That’s pretty nice since the public transportation costs a lot more than in Tokyo! But wow, there are many shops in Osaka!! Basically the whole road between the north station Umeda and the south station Namba is one loooong shopping street. You can walk for hours and you’re still in a shopping street. All the major chainstores in Tokyo can also be found in Osaka (UniQlo, H&M, Ikea, Zara, Tokyu Hands, Loft etc), but the big difference is that here they are all alongside the same street. I got this map that gives an impression of the shops in Osaka. it covers only about 1/3 of the main shopping street. Alongside this street are more shops, and to the north the street extends even further. I spent my whole day just walking alongside this street haha.
- 15 June 2012
Today I went for a stroll in the neighbourhoods Meguro and Ebisu, and came across some very nice parks and green areas. On a hot day like today, these are the best places to go! The National Science Museum of Tokyo has an institute for Nature Study, which basically is a huge park filled with a variety of trees, plants, flowers and all kinds of insects and birds. I went there and it was the most beautiful park in Tokyo I’ve seen so far. It’s actually more of a forest than a park, with large ponds and even a swampy area. The noise coming from the busy streets surrounding the park were a bit of a shame, but still it was a beautiful place!! The name of the park is “Shizen Kyoiku-En”. It’s in Meguro and really worth a visit!
- 13 June 2012
We’re spending a week together in Tokyo before Marthe goes to Osaka to start her job! The first day, we went together to the area where Wards work is located, Odaiba. Odaiba is near the ocean and harbours, and it’s a very wide and spacious neighbourhood with huge buildings and malls. We had beautiful weather! Wards building: Right next to the harbour! We visited the huge mall called “Venus Fortress”, and the interior was completely in Italian style with fountains, pillars and even an artificial sky that turns dark in the evening! Outside of the mall stands the 18 meter tall Gundam, a robot from a popular anime series. When the weekend was over, so was the good weather and our time together. Ward works each day untill around 10 pm (those are Japanese working hours to get used to!!), so I went exploring on my own! UENO Ueno has a huge park that is surrounded by many of the top musea of Tokyo. A very nice place to visit! I went to the Tokyo National Museum to see some Japanese art and archaeology. The museum itself looks like a modern Japanse temple: Beautiful kimonos: Colourful prints: This creepy mask was used in Noh, a traditional Japanese type of performing arts. The garden behind the museum: ASAKUSA Near Ueno lies Asakusa. Here, one of the most famous temples of Tokyo: Senso-ji. It is very surprising to see such a beautiful structure amidst the concrete buildings, and it was very crowded there. Almost reminded me of the temples in Kyoto and Nara! A five-storied pagoda: Next to the temple you can see Tokyo’s newest and highest building: The Tokyo Skytree. In the streets near the temple is “Kappabashi”, a shopping area specialized in kitchenware and plastic food. I don’t [...]
- 28 April 2012
Yes, we succeeded in fulfilling our goal, we both got a job as a concept artist at a Japanese game company! Marthe will work at a huge gamestudio in Osaka, and Ward will work on an exciting new gameproject in Tokyo. We were interviewed about our adventures in Japan by Karel Millenaar and Niels t Hooft for their podcast on bashers.nl. Click here if you want to listen to our stories ( in Dutch) podcast
- 23 March 2012
This will be the last post I’ll write from our lovely house in Kyoto! Tomorrow we are going back to the Netherlands. However, there is a big big chance we’ll return to Japan this summer :-p So it’s not really goodbye! March is the month of Plum blossom! Just as beautiful as the cherry blossoms! We had a farewellparty/picnic in Osaka Castle park last week, which was very nice. In this park, there is an actual “plum grove”, a huge field filled with blossoming plums in all different kinds of colors. So beautiful!! So here are some photos
- 14 March 2012
Even though we’ve lived in Kyoto for 1,5 years now, we still discover new and beautiful spots in the city. Today we walked to the river and crossed a secluded temple area where a wedding was going on. It was beautiful! Alongside the river we were surrounded by bird of prey trying to catch fish, herons, all kinds of ducks and a cute muskrat Kyoto is such a peaceful city, we’re really going to miss this place!
- 10 March 2012
“We went to the countryside”! Our good friend Tokutaro-san took us to his grandmother, who lives in the countryside of the Kyoto prefecture. He took us by car through the most beautiful areas of Kyoto. First we went to Miyama-cho. This is a lovely village surrounded by misty mountains and water. The area is famous for its thatched roof houses, which all bear a different family crest. The shape of the roof is unique in Japan, and it is this way because of the heavy snow in winter. If the roofs would be flat, the houses would collapse. When we visited the village, there was actually still a thick pack of snow on some of the roofs (even though in Kyoto it has been aournd 15 degrees lately!). After Miyama-cho, we drove further to the west and stopped by a lovely soba-place. The restaurant was hidden in a small village between the mountains, a place you would never discover without a car and someone telling you about it (Tokutaro’s brother recommended this place). The soba was absolutely delicious!! The road continued alongside the beautiful Yura river, which has a very deep green/blue color because of the minerals in the ground. We had a brief stop at the Ono Dam, an incredible sight to see especially since there was more water because of the rain. The dam was really impressive! The Kyoto countryside: Beware of bears!! It was raining a lot, causing these beautiful mists in the mountains: Finally, around 3 pm we arrived at the traditional house of Tokutaro’s grandmother. His aunt and uncle also live there and they showed us around the beautiful houses they own. The Tokutaro family has a famous piano player: Aisa Ijiri. This piano belongs to her mother, and in this beautiful space she can [...]
- 07 March 2012
Dotonbori is a huge shopping/eating/drinking/partying area in Osaka. At night, the thousands of neon lights are lit and hundreds of people are walking around looking for a place to eat. Restaurants make the most elaborate signs on their walls to hopefully stand out amidst the neon craziness. Hmmmm where shall we eat… Maybe some takoyaki? Or crab… Blowfish… Beef maybe? Or barbecue? With intestines I might add, mmmm…. Or perhaps we’ll grab some sushi… Chinese food… Okonomiyaki sounds nice! Ramen: And I don’t know what you can eat here but the guy seems very pissed off… (We went for the okonomiyaki )
- 06 March 2012
Joris is trying the ultimate Japanese food challenge: Natto! Natto is smelly fermented beans, and is often eaten with breakfast in Japan. Not our taste in food though…
- 02 March 2012
Yay happy birthday Ward! We celebrated by going to a “kaiseki” restaurant called Grotto, located near our house. Kaiseki is a very traditional Japanese multi-course dinner. Our dinner had 9 courses of the most delicious and real Kyoto style foods. Ofcourse we made a lot of pictures We ordered some fantastic Japanese sake. Ofcourse, the bottle was handed to me because in traditional Japanese cuisine, the woman always poors the sake for the men haha. Course 1: Turnip dumpling with soup: Course 2: Kyoto Specialty Scallion Dumpling. The scallions had a fantastic taste, according to the (english speaking!) chef this was the scallion season The red-white thing was ginger, really tasty: Course 3: Sashimi. Red snapper and tuna in this case, and wow that tuna was delicious… Course 4: Sea eal roll in a sauce of eggs. Absolutely amazing :-p Course 5: “Seven items”. This was definitely the most exotic dish! There was mountain herb tempura, wasabi leaves (really spicy!), chicken liver (really nice soft taste), Oil sardine, baby octopus on toast, seashell sashimi and chicken breast in sea weed dressing: A closeup of the baby octopus Course 6 (by this time I was getting quite full :-p): Baked Spanish mackerel covered in mountain potato (which looked like and tasted a bit like marshmellow ) Course 7: Fresh Pork in a vegetables-miso pot. Wow, this looked fantastic and tasted even better! It was served with course 8: butterbur rice (and the chef gave us two more portions of this delicious rice to take home and eat later ) Course 9, the final course was a delicious dessert of sweet red bean soup and baked sweet potato ice cream! We sat on the counter, so we could see how the chef prepared all these lovely dishes: The brothers liked it
- 18 February 2012
When we woke up this morning, Kyoto was suddenly covered in a big pile of snow! So we went outside and made some photos in our neighbourhood Our neighbours made a snow Totoro The beauty of our neighbourhood: My attempt at making a snowman: And then the sun came out and everything melted :0 It was raining with melting water!
Part 2: The Manga Museum Here you can see the works of cartoon and manga artists, as well as the work of the animation department and ofcourse Ward’s manga and the cover illustration we painted together! TADAAA our works are in the museum as well: The cool thing is that this is actually the work of the students we met 4 years ago when we were on exchange at story manga. Back then, they were first year students, and now we’re back to see their graduation works! Cartoon art: The SEIKAWEEK exhibitions are really impressive, so if you’re in the neighbourhood, please visit!
In Japan the schoolyear ends in february, and this is the time when you can finally see what all the students have been working on! The graduation exhibition of Kyoto Seika University is huuuge, located on several places in Kyoto including the Kyoto Municipal Museum and the Kyoto Manga Museum. Our work are exhibited as well!! Part 1: The Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art: Textile department: Printmaking: This was painted on a very long scroll! Nihonga (Japanese Oil Painting) Oil Painting: I think this was in Media Arts…: With a surprise underneath :-p Architecture: Armor design :-p This was in the sculpture department! A friend of ours is studying to become a car designer and his works are really cool!: The digital creation department (where I studied too) developed videogames and this cool digital comic: Another friend of ours made these supercool origami-bags in the product design department: Mirror design Cakes! The Illustration department made some very cool stuff too, here are some impressions: Look at all the detail!!
- 14 February 2012
Since we both finished our projects, we have some time to travel around! So, we went to Osaka Aquarium! Osaka Aquarium is a huge building filled with bigger and smaller tanks that hold the most magnificent seacreatures. You start at the top floor and walk your way down through the different aquaria. Here are some impressions! Colorful fish! A closeup Smiling fish: This one was cool, with the weird shapes on its head: There was a beautiful tank filled with these white floating squid: I really loved this face :-p: And then there were the bigger tanks, with huge sea creatures. We were there right around feeding time, so the big whale shark was eating his lunch: This huge manta ray was floating around the aquarium, it reminded me almost of a spaceship! Only 4(!) aquaria in the world display this gigantic alien-like creature, and it was a very impressive sight to see. The dolphins were playing with the water This was also amazing, a huuuuge tank filled with thousands of little sardines that were swimming together in a swirling formation! A little hiding lobster: Giant crabs with long legs, really cute: These fish were really cool, they were metallic, reflecting all the light in the tank! My favourite creatures are always the jellyfish… they are so elegant and beautiful!!
- 12 February 2012
Today was a very special day, first we had a fantastic lunch at a Michelin-star restaurant and afterwards went to a piano concert in the Kyoto Concert Hall! Kyoto has more than 100 Michelin restaurants (with a total of 149 stars) and most of them are very tiny establishments with just one cook and a couple of tables! The food there is absolutely amazing and since we have the guide, we really wanted to try one of these restaurants. The most expensive Michelin restaurants can cost up to 700 euro p.p. (!!) but there are far cheaper ones as well. We went to Jinroku, a small soba place that serves home-made noodles with fresh ingredients and spices. Our elaborate lunch was only 15 euro and was by far the best soba we have ever eaten! After this fantastic lunch we went to the Kyoto Concert Hall nearby, to visit a piano concert. The concert was the final examn of piano students from Kyoto, ranging from age 4 – 65, and was free to visit! It was really cool to see how talented some of the students were, and the piano music was beautiful!
- 10 February 2012
Yaaaaaay we passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test we took in December! And both with a triple A score! This means we now have official proof that we can speak, read and understand basic/intermediate Japanese. And this is how we celebrated
- 09 February 2012
Near the center of Kyoto lies Pontochō, a restaurant/bar area, and traditional Flower District, home to many geisha. There are secret alleys leading to all kinds of hidden bars and restaurant, we discover new things every time we go there!
- 08 February 2012
At the beginning of February Ward’s family visited us in Kyoto! Even though they were only here for a couple of days, we’ve seen so much fantastic things. First of all, the Setsubun festival! This festival is held to welcome spring, and is celebrated by lighting up huge fires, throwing beans and eating lucky sushi rolls . After the celebration, we visited the Gion area and spotted three Maiko and one Geisha! Unfortunately, we couldn’t take pictures in time… We went to the Kyoto Nishiki Market, a fantastic fresh food market where they sell the most wonderful things. There are all kinds of foods: fresh food… fake food…. plastic food…. and octopus babies! Ofcourse we also visited the beautiful temples in our neighbourhood like Ginkakuji. And had some nice kaitensushi! toasting with some nice cloudy sake: to a wonderful time in Kyoto.
- 18 January 2012
Three years ago, during our exchange, we met a very nice family here in Kyoto, the Okuda family. Yesterday, after all those years, we met up again! It was so nice to see them again! They took us out to dinner to eat absolutely delicious shabu-shabu (raw meat dipped in soup). Also we tasted crab, sushi and tempura, wow! It was really nice to catch up, and unlike three years ago, we were able to have conversations in Japanese This is Taeko and Natsu! Natsu is showing photos from her trip to Europe, when she visited France, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium. Hopefully next time she will also come to Holland
- 08 January 2012
To conclude our Tokyo trip we went to Yokohama, the second biggest town of Japan, and Tokyo’s neighbour. Actually the two towns are really intertwined, so it feels like one big town. But where Tokyo’s city center is busy and flashy, Yokohama feels like a more relaxed place, with a lot of water, wide areas and theme parks. Also, there was the Cupnoodle Museum, which was actually really nice and well designed! Inside there were a lot of children making their own noodle tastes and packaging. There is also a big Chinatown in Yokohama, where we had some nice Butaman (a steamed pork bun). The atmosphere is really nice with all the lights and lanterns.
- 08 January 2012
Oooo the Parasite Museum in Tokyo is really nasty… :-p The museum is filled with bottled up parasites, growing out of all kinds of animals and body parts… The museum shop has some funny souvenirs, including tapeworm keychains haha. We had fun, but I also felt a bit queezy afterwards Parasite artwork! So many different parasites… Parasites have been around for a long time, deforming human bodies…. I don’t know what this is and frankly I don’t want to know…. A nine meter long tapeworm! This disgusting parasite lived inside a man after he ate sushi….
- 06 January 2012
We visited Shinjuku, the business district of Tokyo. This area has the world’s busiest station (!!) and the area is filled with huge skyscrapers, really impressive! The view from Tokyo Metropolitan Building, 45th floor, 202 meters The fantastic buildings of Shinjuku: Tokyo Tower 2012! Tokyo is so big, even from the 45th floor there is city as far as you can see: Shinjuku style buildings Camera shops Even children are impressed by Shinjuku We ate shabu shabu (dipping raw meat in boiling soup), really delicious! As dessert, a fresh fruit fondue!
- 02 January 2012
Today we visited Akihabara, a lively, loud an colorful neighbourhood in Tokyo, completely filled with electronics, manga, anime and game shops! Here are some impressions of this hectic area. Thousands of weirdly shaped buildings filled with games, dvds, books and electronics Neon lights and signs everywhere Extravagant manga cars The benches are all filled with people playing games on their Nintendo DS’s! This radiant cocktail is called “Tokyo Skytree”, named after the huge tower in Tokyo It’s not all huge bright stores in Akihibara, there are many of these tiny alleys with small electronic stores and stalls. Some fresh yakitori (chicken skewers), in a tiny restaurant built underneath the traintracks
- 01 January 2012
Happy 2012, the year of the Dragon!! We travelled to Tokyo to celebrate the new year! We took the shinkansen, the fast bullet train, and bought a nice ekibento, which is a lovely little lunchbox especially made for train travel. Kyoto and Tokyo have no snow, but the area in between was completely white! New year is celebrated really differently here in Japan. It’s very quiet, no fireworks at all (in Japan fireworks are more a summer thing). Instead, people all go to shrines at 0:00 to pray, eat and have fun! These decorations are found everywhere during new year. All the shrines and temples are crowded with people, standing in long lines to pray at the temples and ring the bells. Many different stalls with all kinds of food, if you’re still hungry at 2 am :-p We burned some incense for the new year!
- 01 January 2012
Our family visited us in Kyoto and again we discovered a lot of new and exciting places in our beautiful city! We ate Kyoto sushi with Jurgen and Carlijn. Because Kyoto is located far from the sea, the traditional sushi is not made with fresh fish but prepared fish and herbs. This sushi has so much taste it doesn’t need soy sauce or wasabi! We visited a beautiful teahouse near our house, where we had our own private room with a fantastic view of the garden. The traditional Green Tea is very bitter, but tasty! With Ben and Rina, we biked to Arashiyama, a nature-area in the west of Kyoto. The view on the way was amazing, some of the mountains were covered in snow. In Arashiyama we climbed the mountain to the Monkey Park. Lots and lots of hungry monkeys! Afterwards we walked through the green bamboo forest. On the last day Ben and Rina were in Kyoto, we went to Nara, a small town near Kyoto which used to be the capital of Japan. Nara is famous for it’s temples (the biggest wooden structure in the world is located here) and the many many deers walking around. This creepy guy is Pindola, a monk who specialized in occult arts and now has a statue in Nara. You have to touch the statue and then your own body to heal that part of the body Inside the biggest wooden temple of the world was the biggest bronze Buddha statue of the world! At the end of the day we had a nice cup of green tea and warabi mochi, which is jelly-like food made from the roots of plants, covered in toasted soybean flour!
- 29 December 2011
Merry Christmas everyone! There are often nice concerts at Kyoto Station, and during Christmas we went to this one. Even the tiny girl in the middle sang a Chistmas song (in English even!). Really nice!
- 29 December 2011
Well, the past couple of months we joined an online drawing class by James Paick, a very skilled and famous artist in the game industry. We both took classes in Environment Design. Because the classes were held in America, we had some time difference issues, and we had to get up at 4:00 am to follow the classes But it was all worth it! Here is some of the work we made: Ward: Marthe:
- 30 November 2011
Whoa it’s finally autumn in Kyoto! And wow, the city transformed into bright red colors, with all kinds of flowers and trees bursting with fruits. It’s really spectacular. Here are some photos we shot in our neighbourhood, which is one of the most beautiful areas to see the colors of autumn!
- 28 November 2011
Here is a small Dutch documentary about Japanese manga, and our school and teacher is also featured in this video. Ward was asked for an interview as well, but unfortunately we were in Korea during the shoot Of bekijk de flash versie.
- 19 November 2011
The past few week we had a lot of visitors, first my family came by and then our friends joined us for over two weeks. Together we discovered a lot of fantastic new things in and around Kyoto! Some highlights: Arashiyama and it’s nature is fantastic. The bamboo forest is enchanting! We even saw a real “tanuki” (Japanese racoon dog) running acorss the street. We also visited a very peculiar temple there that had a garden full of little stone statues. Those statues turned out to be gravestones for thousands of orphans, apparantly this temple collected all their abandoned bones and holds candle ceremonies for the lost souls every year… Fushimi Inari is one of my favourite places in Kyoto. The long row of bright red torii across the mountain is fantastic. We followed the whole route and halfway ate a nice boiled egg and an apple at one of the small teahouses. The Imperial Palace is a place you can visit for free a couple of days a year. It’s a beautiful palace, especially the gardens! Although no royal family lives there anymore, the palace still has ceremonial functions. We climbed the mountain behind our house again, showing this beautiful view over Kyoto. And visited Kyoto Station at night: I already mentioned in earlier posts that the Japanese are experts when it comes to candle and light festivals, and here is yet another example of this A couple of famous temples are now open untill 22:00 and decorated with beautiful lights! So magical And ofcourse we saw a lot of animals and creatures :p In Maruyama park we saw a little Kingfisher (ijsvogel)! We encountered a lot of Praying Mantis, getting bigger and bigger. The spiders are also growing, very colourful with skulls on their bodies! Their webs are huuuge, with several layers. And there was this bird of prey, that swooped [...]
- 17 November 2011
Finally, I’m allowed to tell a little bit about the project I have been working on the past couple of months! The news has been officially released by Sony last wednesday. They even posted pictures of our team : With a team of 12 people we are developing a game idea of mine for a new game console: The Playstation Vita! I’ve been working on the concept art for the characters, monsters and environments, and been drawing the ingame backgrounds too. I can’t show anything yet though During our classes, there were always photographers making photos of everything, so now suddenly I see myself on Japanese websites haha: I will post more info on my project as soon as I can, but for now I have to keep that secret :-)
- 23 October 2011
I celebrated my birthday in a very special way this year: me and my twinsister Dorith did a Maiko makeover! A Maiko is an apprentice Geisha, with a beautiful white face and red lips, elaborate hairpieces and a really colourful kimono. We’ve seen them strolling around in Kyoto, but what is it like to dress up like that? Dorith and I wanted to know, and we went to a place called “Yumekoubou” for our Maiko transformation! The whole thing took about 2.5 hours, it’s quite some work to get all the makeup and dressing done! First, they put on a thick layer of white makeup on our faces, including the back of our necks. It looked very ghostly After that, they apply the makeup consisting of red and black lines. When I opened my eyes I could hardly recognize myself Then, we chose our kimonos. My sister had a beautiful dark blue one and I went for bright red. A Maiko kimono consists of many layers and all in all it’s a very heavy thing to wear. Also we felt a bit like presents, being wrapped up in beautiful paper, haha. Lastly, they put on the wigs. They’re like helmets, fully ornamented and also, very heavy! And now we are Maiko! On high sandals, we walked around a bit (you’re barely able to move in the kimono since it’s so tight) and made some pictures before going to the professional photoshoot. A photographer made tons of pictures, with many props and different poses. The photos turned out really nice After an hour or so, we got quite tired of the heavy dress and wig, and decided to turn back in to our blonde selves . But we had a great time, it was so much fun [...]
- 10 September 2011
I know I post a lot of creepy creatures, so I promise this will be the last one: there was a huge snake next to our house!! （；゜０゜）
- 02 September 2011
After visiting Busan we took the high-speed train right through South Korea to the capital Seoul. This city is absolutely amazing!! It’s almost unbelievable how this city has grown into such a vibrant metropolis, when you consider that it has seen so many devastating wars and it wasn’t before the 1990′s that is was properly built up. Seoul is very international, with many different areas and restaurants, a lot of foreigners (especially in the neighbourhood Iteawon where our hotel was located). It has beautiful musea, artworks in the city and parks alongside the river. I love this city! Our hotel had a very cool style, and a fantastic view! It was located in Itaewon, in the center of Seoul. It has many different bars and restaurants in the neighbourhood, and the first night we dined at “Mad for Garlic”. You can imagine what the main ingredient of all the dishes was :p My cream pasta had at least two whole garlic in it (!!). Koreans love spicy foods, but still… The second day we visited Bukchon Hanok Village, an area in the center of Seoul that still has many of the traditional houses. After our visit to Hanok Village we had dinner at a nice dakgalbi place. Dakgalbi is spicy pan-fried chicken that is prepared on your table by the busy waiters. It was so spicy!! Seoul comes to life in the evenings, especially the area around Cheon-gye-cheon. This is a park and stream that runs right through the heart of the financial district of Seoul. People gather here and play in the water while surrounded by huge skyscrapers. At night, there are two videoart shows. One of them is “Fractal Flowers”, a projection of growing flowers on the wall, and the other, “Digital Canvas”, is an amazing lasershow. The [...]
- 02 September 2011
After spending a couple of days in the west of Japan, we took the ferry to South-Korea. This boat only takes three hours to soar across the sea to Korea! Our hotel was located at the beautiful beach of Haeundae. Busan is a lively and huge port town, the second largest city of South Korea. It has a fantastic fish market with the weirdest creatures you’ve ever seen. We still haven’t figured out what these disgusting looking things are :p Busan also has a very nice Aquarium, which displays the most different colorful seacreatures in Korea. We have so many cool photos, but I’ll show only a couple
- 02 September 2011
We have just returned from our amazing trip to Kyushu and South Korea! First we travelled to the far west of Japan to Fukuoka. This harbour town has the most delicious ramen (noodles) and a beautiful beach. We met there with Yoshiko, and she took us out to dinner for motsunabe, a hotpot made of intestines… It sounds awful but it was actually very tasty! During our stay in Fukuoka, we took the train to the nearby town of Nagasaki. This city was hit by an atomic bomb during WWII, but has grown in to a beautiful and vibrant city. It’s located between hills and at the seaside. First we went to the A-bomb museum, which reminded very much of the museum in Hiroshima. The images there were horrible, and things like pieces of deformed glass with the bones of someones hand molted in to it because of the incredible heat the bomb caused. After this museum, we visited Dejima, the fan-shaped artificial island that was built in the bay of Nagasaki and was actually a Dutch trading post. It was so funny to see all these Dutch things there!
- 14 August 2011
The Japanese know how to celebrate summer! This time we visited the candle festival in Nara. Nara is the old capital of Japan, and is a very traditional town with a huge park filled with wonderful temples. For this occasion, the beautiful park was completely decorated with candles and lanterns! The atmosphere was amazing, wandering around these candle-lit temples. They also lit up these really impressive wooden statues that stand guard at the sides of the great wooden gate that leads to one of the major temples of Nara. Almost creepy! And ofcourse a picture of the deers Nara is famous for! They even walk around the festival area (and steal your food and paper..)
- 09 August 2011
Yesterday we went to Otsu to view a fireworks show. Otsu is a city on the other side of the mountains from Kyoto, and is beautifully located next to a huge lake (the biggest in Japan). Every year there is a fantastic fireworks show above this lake, and this time we went to see it! 300.000 people came to the show, and so the trains to Otsu were PACKED with people (I really couldn’t move!). After everyone gathered on a big field in front of the lake, the show started with a bang! It was absolutely AMAZING!! The theme of the show was the seasons, the spring section had for instance fireworks in the shape of flowers, and the winter theme was all blue and starry. They even had fireworks in the shape of octopusses, cats, pigs and apples! The fireworks were huge, filling up the entire sky. The sound was extremely loud, you could feel it in your chest and it echoed on the mountains surrounding the lake. Car alarms went of because of the pressure. After an hour, the show ended with more fireworks than I’ve ever seen in my life, and the 300.000 people all walked back to the station…. We stood in line for almost two hours before catching a packed train back to Kyoto, but wow this was fun! I made some movies of the fireworks with my camera, please ignore my voice (wooow…wooooooow…woooooooow :p) But listen to the enthusiastic reactions of the crowd, it was really atmospheric!
- 04 August 2011
Last week we travelled to the mountain town Kibune, north of Kyoto, to visit the temple there and see the water festival. During the festival, the temple is lit with hundreds of lanterns and people can write down their wishes and hang them in beautifully decorated trees. It felt like a fairytale walking there! Kibune is famous for its restaurants on the water: The river is covered with platforms on which you can enjoy a luxurious diner. It was a bit too expensive for us (around 100 euros for one dish!), but we managed to make some beautiful pictures! We even spotted an Geisha (or Maiko?) who was apparantly hired by some businessmen. Unfortunately we missed the last bus home and had to walk for half an hour in complete darkness alongside the river to the nearest trainstation. Scary but somehow also very atmoshperic :p
- 25 July 2011
Today we went to Anraku-ji, a small but beautiful temple right behind our house, to the special Pumpkin Memorial Service. This tradition is over 200 years old. Visitors can eat special cooked pumpkin and drink cold tea while viewing the beautiful garden. It is said that by eating these pumpkins, you stay healthy for the rest of the year. Let’s hope it’s true, at least it was very delicious! The gardens of Anraku-ji are amazing with beautiful stone statues:
- 25 July 2011
In Japan, summer is very noisy! This is the time when the cicadas emerge from the ground, climb in the trees and start making intensive noises that sound like electricity… Some sound like an alarm, but most remind me of engines or fridges or something :p It’s sometimes so deafening!! We managed to make a picture of these noisy creatures, the’re quite big and look freaky!
- 25 July 2011
Yes, it is July, so it’s time for Gion Matsuri again! Last time we celebrated Kyoto’s most famous festival wearing yukatas (summer kimonos), but this year we decided to go in our normal clothes Gion Matsuri is celebrated by a colourful parade of over 60 different floats. We went to the evening festival before the parade, called “Yoiyama”. The streets were extremely crowded, but it was so much fun walking around there and seeing/smelling all the stalls selling all kinds of food and candy. Some impressions:
- 09 July 2011
Yesterday was the opening party of the Exchange Student Exhibition at Kyoto Seika University! Our work can also be seen there. We printed some of the work we made so far during our stay here If you’re in the neighbourhood, come see, and if you’re not, see these photos
- 06 July 2011
We encountered this monster last night in our kitchen!!! The only way to kill these dangerous creatures is to poor hot water over them… Now it’s like a boiled shrimp :-s
- 26 June 2011
Today we went to a beautiful temple high up in the mountains! It was so secluded that no one was there, a really calming experience. Also there was a picture of the temple’s guardians, the monkeys that live there. Before that we had a delicious lunch in an old soba (Japanese noodles) restaurant. We even had a private room, looking over a nice garden.
- 22 June 2011
I bought a nice children’s book about Japanese bugs now I can look up the names of all the creepy, nasty and way too big insects we encounter here …
- 17 June 2011
Finally made a picture of a firefly (hotaru). June is hotaru season and a lot of them magically float next to our house.
- 13 June 2011
More cute candy! Not so delicious though, there’s some weird jelly stuff inside…
- 04 June 2011
Our teacher gave away presents today: mini gameconsoles
- 04 June 2011
We don’t update this blog very often, mostly because we post on Facebook as well SBut I will try to post those messages here too! We’ve been busy the last couple of weeks, mostly with our school projects, but also learning Japanese and working on our own art projects. Here is some art we made last month! Also we are doing a lot of sightseeing, such as the aoi matsuri, one of the three major festivals in Kyoto. Lots of people in traditional clothing and even more people watching! We went to the insectmuseum in Osaka, which was pretty scary. I’ve never seen such big insects before… except maybe in our bathroom the other day, when a HUGE spider emerged, as big as my hand (really!). :-S Japan has many many bugs, some scary and some beautiful, such as the butterflies as big as birds and the fireflies that hover around the rivers at night. We visited the beautiful gardens of the Heian shrine, one of the most famous gardens in Kyoto. The pond with thousands of waterlillies is amazing! Here are some photos:
- 02 May 2011
Time goes by so fast! We’ve been here for over a month now and have been quite busy with school. Ward is drawing a 40-page manga for his class about Dutch folklore, and it will be exhibited in the Manga Museum next year! The story is about “de Solse gat” and it’s going to be a bit of a horror manga Marthe is working in a team on her own game concept which will actually be published next year, though anymore details are secret since she had to sign an NDA… The teachers guiding this project have worked at major Japanese companies like Square Enix and Nintendo, and have been part of huge titles such as Chrono Trigger and the Mother series. Very busy with school, but spring break is here! In Japan, the spring holidays are kind of at the same time as he Dutch ones actually, though the meaning is different. For instance, April 30th is Greenery Day, and May 5th is Children’s day. May 3rd is Constitution day, and together they form GOLDEN WEEK, the Spring break for whole of Japan. Well, since we’re right in the middle of Golden Week right now, we thought why not visit some nice places here in Japan? So, we went to Kurama, a place slightly north of Kyoto. Kurama is an important place in Japanese mythology, as it is the home of Sojobo, King of the Tengu.Tengu are supernatural creatures, they have a very long nose, and can appear human/bird like. The legend tells that Sojobo taught the art or war and swordmanship to Minamoto no Yoshitsune, who later became a famous Japanese General. This is just one of the many stories. Maybe we should ask him if he wants to teach us the art of drawing and painting someday [...]
- 11 April 2011
This week, the sakura (Japanese cherry blossom) started blooming! Since there are so many sakura trees, it is truly an awesome sight to behold. The trees, that are actually somewhat bland during the rest of the year, suddenly explode with pink/white flowers. The trees stay like this for about a week, and then the flowers fall of, creating a blizzard of petals. I guess this makes Sakura so special, one day the trees suddenly bloom and just as quick they are back to normal. The Japanese themselves are very fond of this special time of the year. When the first flowers appear, so do the first cameras. Our house is next to the famous “Philosophers Path”, a trail in Kyoto that visits a lot of different temples and is full of sakura trees. During the day, hordes of Japanese tourists walk by for “Hanami” (cherry blossom viewing). How nice that they also decided that Hanami is a great time to be picnicking and partying! Especially in Maruyama park the atmosphere is truly fantastic. All different kind of delicious food is prepared and everyone is enjoying their beers, during entire day and night. At night the lamps show the most beautiful tree of them all; an very old sakura tree that almost looks like it is emitting light. The tree is so old that it needs to be supported by a lot of wooden poles. We also had our very own Hanami party/picnic with our friends Yoshiko, Eri and Jesse. Yoshiko made a large bento box (a box with food to go) with all kinds of delicious things, and the weather was also very nice. Also yoshiko got us these special ancient Japanese hats for earthquakes and disasters, made by her grandmother! Really neat, you might recognise them if you have [...]
- 10 April 2011
Together with our friend Tokutaro, we had a trip to Lake Biwa, the biggest lake of Japan. Tokutaro has a car, so he showed us places we didn’t go before, and it was a lot of fun! One place in particular was fascinating, a mountain with a large temple build on to it. When we got upstairs I lost count of how many stairs there were, but it was truly worth the climb. The temple looked as if it walked straight of of a Ghibli movie. The setting sun also provided an impressive view on Japan below. We had a delicious dinner at Tokutaro’s parents. Also, his father had a Ukiyo-e print that was hundreds years old about Dutch traders! You can tell they are Dutch by their skin color and big noses, but also on top is a small dictionary that translates Japanese words into Dutch. For instance “Akai” (Japanese for red) translates to “Rooto” (Dutch red is rood). Luckily he made a print for us!
- 07 April 2011
This is a very funny video, made by Kyoto Seika students. It shows the university’s library and surroundings, but most of all it’s a very entertaining video So watch and enjoy and taste the atmosphere of Seika University!
- 01 April 2011
Gotta catch ‘m all! While walking through Gion, the old entertainment district of Kyoto, we stumbled upon two Maiko. Maiko are Geisha apprentices. At the height of the Geisha era, the 1930′s, men came from all around the country to compete with each other to be with the most popular geisha. From what we saw today, it seems the Maiko/Geisha appeal is still very impressive! Dozens of Japanese people with their cameras tried to get some shots of the two Maiko, who were collecting money for the tsunami victims. The same mentality can be found with cherry blossoms, or sakura. Sakura season is just about to begin, and where the flowers start blooming Japanese people with cameras seems to be popping up just as fast. All of them are trying to take the best picture they can, every year. Almost like bird spotting for the entire nation, or catching pokemon .
- 31 March 2011
Yesterday we arrived in beautiful Kyoto, and as the taxi dropped us of at our new home it started to snow! We live in a lovely tradtional Japanese house with tatami mats, futons and no chairs . The surrounding are amazing, there is a very nice and quiet temple in our backyard (Honen-in) and Ginkaku-ji is just a couple of minutes away. Our house is next to the Philospher’s path, a very famous tourist attraction, where beautiful cherryblossom trees line a meandering path and river. Today we went downtown, a 15 min. bike ride from our house. After eating several plates of delicious sushi (the salmon tastes completely different from the ones in Holland, and the fish-rice ratio is way more in favour of the fish :p), we went shopping but were interupted by the sirens of firetrucks. The bowlingcentre was on fire! Hundreds of Japanese gathered with their phones to make pictures as the firemen tried to keep everyone away from the area. We made some pictures too. Luckily they got everything under control quickly. It is very nice to be back here, the food, people, area, it’s all so amazing!