Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sa Tabitabi na Tabi (旅)1

I don’t have that much spare time but I would like to at least make an account of all the travels my husband and I have done while we were in Japan. And since there is always food in our travels, I might as well put my accounts here at Mangantayon even though sometimes, there won’t even be any mention about food. We both love to go to new places especially during the seishun juhachi kippu season when we can go anywhere in Japan in one day for just about 2300 yen. We have been to so many places that if only I have the time, I would make scrapbooks of all of the souvenirs and pictures we have taken. But since time is of the essence, let me just compile the things that I have found charming, rare, weird, and out of the ordinary from each place we have been.  Between the two of us, there is about more than 10 000 pictures thus, the challenge lies in unearthing 4 years worth of documentaries. All of the places we have been are interesting but here are things that do not usually get mentioned in travel brochures.

*Note: Tabi (旅) is Japanese for "travel"or "journey"

Matsue (Summer 2009)
I love Matsue. There is a different air here compared to other cities. Perhaps it’s the sea air or the setting of the place. It is a mixture of European and Japanese architecture. In one word, it is so charming. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is the home of Lafcadio Hearn, the first ever foreigner to be given Japanese citizenship. I found books of his works at the Shizudai library and I was immediately enthralled. We found this at his old residence in Matsue. At first I thought it was just another case of Japanese English but no, they are really referring to his hairs!

As usual, our primary destination is the Matsue Castle. The hotel we were staying in have bicycles available for customer's use. It is much more convenient, cheap and fun to go around Matsue by bicycle. But it was summer so when we were done taking pictures, we were so hungry. Fortunately, there is a restaurant in the grounds, aptly named Ni no Maru (二の丸). They serve delicious Izumo soba at a very reasonable price. What's more, one order comes in 3 stack of bowls called the Warigo-soba!

In addition, these danggo are tummy pleasers for all seasons. Prices vary though. These were quite cheap at 150 yen. We found them roasting infront of a very charming house which kinda reminded us of home, a sarisari store and a barbecue stand.

Tottori (Summer 2009)
All over Japan, when the clock strikes 7AM, 12PM and 5PM, a bell or siren is heard. Here in Tottori, you will here the bell rendition of “Furusato” (My Hometown). I have liked the song ever since I heard it and correct me if I am wrong but I think it is only in Tottori that you will hear this unique time ringer.

We are always on a tight budget when we go on travel. And in the western part of Japan, there are towns which do not have the convenience of contemporary fastfoods but there is always that one-coin (500 yen) meal somewhere. This one is at the Tottori Station where they serve freshly caught and cooked fish over rice, complete with salad and miso soup.