Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Meganebashi - Spectacles Bridge

Meganebashi 眼鏡橋 is a compound word formed of megane (眼 eye + 鏡 mirror) = glasses, and hashi = bridge. It refers to bridges having the shape of a pair of glasses. A famous such bridge is in Nagasaki.

I saw one "spectacles bridge":

There was a group of children playing nearby. It was a nice encounter. They showed me their school books, and gave me jelly bonbons, and plucked up courage to speak English. I am saying that because in most cases Japanese people are characterized by delicate shyness.

One child knew one single word in English: peace!

These beautiful children pinned unforgettable moments in my memory.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Kakigouri - Japanese Shaved Ice

Kakigouri かき氷 means "shaved ice" and it is a popular dessert on hot summer days. It is smooth like snow, and various syrups are poured on top of it. I like strawberry and mango flavour, and there is such a wide variety of syrups and tastes. This is a very special one, with matcha - fine powder of green tea - and a pile of sweetened red beans.

Oishii おいしい = Delicious!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hanamaki Airport, Iwate-ken

Hanamaki 花巻 means "flower roll" and it is the name of a city in Iwate Prefecture, in Tohoku. I wonder where its name comes from. Maybe from the hanamaki sushi.

Some photos taken at the airport of this city, starting with its cute mascot:

At the third level, there is a mini-museum of aviation, with photos of old planes:

And a neat playground for children:

From the upper level, one can see the runway:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chinatown, Kobe

There are three Chinatowns in Japan, in Kobe, Yokohama and Nagasaki. The one in Kobe is considered the most colourful and touristy. It was founded in 1868, and about 10,000 people live there.

A favourite spot for taking photos is the pavilion with the 12 stone carvings around it, representing the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac.

There is an explosion of red in the area.

The area is packed with Chinese restaurants and food stands, and there is even one Chinese temple there.

A menu outside some restaurant:

This is some dessert made of rice, filled with sweet paste of red beans, rolled in sesame seeds and deep fried.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Akihabara, Tokyo

Akihabara, also called Akihabara Electric Town, is a famous district in Tokyo. It is a major shopping area for electronic, computer and anime goods.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bridal Wear In Japan

Traditional Japanese wedding customs are called shinzen shiki, 神前式 "Shinto formula" - the three kanji mean: god, in front of, and formula/ceremony, respectively. The ceremony is held at a Shinto shrine.

The western style wedding has become popular as well.

Brides change their clothes three-five times. They first don the traditional white wear with the white hat/hood, called 綿帽子 wataboshi. Wata means cotton and boushi means hat/cap. Then a red kimono, and then the western white dress.

The white dresses look royal.

Sometimes brides wear even colourful dresses.

The traditional wedding kimono is always superb, and red/pink are preferred.

The Shinto wear, with the cap called wataboshi:

This is a daruma without eyes - 目無しだるま me-nashi-daruma. After buying it, people paint one eye while making a wish. When the wish comes true, the other eye is painted.