Next Stop, Japan

Next Stop, Japan

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Soni Plateau

I throughly enjoyed the trip I made to out to Soni in 2013. It's remote, but an amazing spot to do some light (or heavier) hiking. Afterwards, you can reward yourself with a dip in the local open-air onsen. It is a soul refreshing spot.

The Soni Plateau or Soni Kōgen (曽爾高原) is a marshy meadow filled mostly with a tall grass called susuki in Japanese. It is located in a remote part of northeast Nara Prefecture under the west facing slope of a roughly north-south line of mountain peaks that is the boundary with Mie Prefecture to the east.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

The real ones are big

In Miyagi Prefecture for opening the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, the Emperor and Empress on the 14th visited a farm in Higashimatsushima City that received damage in the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. In a greenhouse built after the disaster, they tried strawberry picking.

Strawberry picking is something that is done right in Japan. You pay the fee and wander around snacking on bright red berries. I only did it once at Hirata Farms in Hiroshima Prefecture, but it was a blast.

Monkey Business

The Japanese macaque or snow monkey lives on all but the northernmost of Japan's main islands. Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden on Kyushu is famous for operating a refuge for over 1,300 monkeys in a natural area. From 1953, the monkeys have been kept away from local farms by providing regular feeding.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Relaunch as Next Stop, Japan

“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.” ― Lewis Carroll

Before you read on, go click on the map section. After that, pick a page like the one on Takehara City and have a look at the gallery.

Good! Now for the dreadful explanation. You've just experienced what took me over two months to create. This was a scary project as I knew from the beginning it would proceed beyond just a few corrections to the original articles and adding higher quality photos. It meant imprinting a new perspective and maturity to the pages. The site had always had a discordant voice. It was unplanned and unexpected that I ended up writing so many articles about the places I had visited. I was and remain inadequate to the task of truly communicating in words the experiences one could have from visiting the places I loved enough to write about. I can only hope this latest attempt helps connect you to Japan.

Happy travels. Peace.

Japan's WW2 'Musashi battleship wreck found'

The location of the battleship Musashi has been found by Paul Allen and his private team. it was sunk by American planes in WWII in October 1944. It and its twin were the largest battleships ever built.

It was at a depth of more than 1km (3,280ft) on the floor of the Sibuyan Sea off the Philippines.

The resting place of its sister ship, Yamato, was discovered in 1982 and confirmed two years later. The Yamato Museum in Kure City has a large (1:10) scale model of this ship.

Monday, 2 March 2015

5 men sickened after eating poisonous puffer fish

I've always thought eating puffer fish or fugu is not that appealing. It's a rather chewy and bland fish. It is best enjoyed after a good drowning in soy sauce and wasabi. The idea of eating something that is inherently poisonous is what puts me off the most. I know the training regime for fugu chefs is famously rigorous, but why risk it? As these 5 men proved, one wrong cut and that tingling on the tongue is followed by vomiting and your heart stopping.

The restaurant served the banned, poisonous parts after requests from the diners, the official said.

Never mind. These men are just not that smart.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Tokyo in Dense Fog

I've never seen Tokyo with little more than a haze. It's best not to think to hard about what is in the haze, either. This full fog is a rare occurrence.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Snow Clearing tours in Hiroshima Pref

A problem many smaller remote towns have is that the young people have cleared out. That leaves Grandpa and Grandma with the hard task of cleaning up after storms. When you live in the hills of Hiroshima Prefecture, the snow piles up every winter like clockwork.

But maybe to someone who hasn’t grown up having to shovel heaps of snow each winter, snow-shoveling could be a fun experience too. At least, that’s what the Akiota-cho Sightseeing Association in Hiroshima Prefecture seems to be hoping as they try to lure city-dwellers to their 4th annual “Heavy Snow Region Experience Tour“. However, this tour has some net-users questioning why anyone would want to pay 5,000 yen to shovel snow for someone else.

For an all inclusive (onsen included) day trip, the cost isn't that bad. How very well organized and devious.

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