Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Fukuoka Motor Show: Western

Fukuoka Motor Show: Japanese

On Sunday, Larissa, Joel and I went over to Fukuoka for the Tokyo Motor Show. It was HEAVING....so many people, and the queue to get in was astronomically long! Good news is that we had Castella Cake to keep us going! There were two big venues, the Japanese and the Western Cars. The Japanese side was full of awesome square cars like I see all over Japan, as well as cool new swanky cars, that I am very unlikely to ever see in Yamaguchi!

Gluwein...in Chinatown

We stumbled across the acrobatics show in one of the squares just south of China Town, and after, we stayed to watch some of the other acrobatics on the big TV screen they had set up there. There was a lot of food stalls there, but the best was the one selling "Hot Wine" - or Gluewein! It wasn't very Chinese, but it did remind me of the German Markets at home, perfect for a cold market day!

Candles and Dinner in China Town

We all met up and went to dinner in China Town, after a massive, long wait, and we had proper, greasy Chinese food! It was such a nice restaurant, and had sooooo many floors! It was my first time to have Champon, which is a traditional Nagasaki dish - it's kind of a cross between a soup and a ramen! It was fun to meet all of Joel's friends in from Kumamoto too!After dinner,we wandered the streets, getting some street food. My favourite was the pork buns which I wish I could have every day! Then, we looked at some more lanterns, just the ones near the other bridges, and had a lovely time taking photos, untill we retired for the night, shattered after walking so much!

China Town in the daytime

China Town in Nagasaki was great, and lots of fun to be in and around. By Saturday afternoon, it was getting pretty busy in China Town. We stood with all the crowds to watch the Emporer's parade, which was full of pretty dancers, and people in costume. We caught up with some of the girls after and they were more than happy to pose with Joel!
I just liked to look at all the lanterns again, I wasn't sure I would ever get enough photos! The lanterns definitely have a completely different look in the day time! Plus I got to explore some of the different areas of China Town, and buy some souveniers for Shelby!

Down at Nagasaki Harbour

The next day, we wandered out to the Harbour, where it is supposed to be beautiful in the Summer....we had a nice wander around, but it was quite brown in the winter, so it wasn't the best place to visit!I think I will have to go back and go up the ropeway, so I can overlook the harbour in the summer!

Room of Reflection

This was one of my favourite places we visited in our weekend. There is a large reflecting pool outside the museum, but you can actually go under it and walk around in these long tunnels, until you get to this room of reflection. Actually it took us a long time to find, and we were wandering around in the tunnels for a long time. It's an amazing place, big pillars of light, and you can sit in silence.

Cute Characters!

Every place or big city or train line, or any important place in Japan has a cute character....it was so nice to see the Nagasaki one outside the Peace Memorial, and we also found the female version of the character outside the TV Museum. We weren't quite sure what their names were, but they were super cute!

Colourful cranes

I love cranes, and they are so beautiful, and a great symbol of peace. It's quite common when kids come on a school trip to Nagasaki or Hiroshima, to make 1000 cranes, and then leave them as a gift at the Peace Memorial. It was so beautiful in Nagasaki, they have a large area set aside for all the cranes, and I had to go and spend some time taking pictures!

Nagasaki Peace Park

I assumed Nagasaki Peace Park would be similar to Hiroshima. But, they don't have a large, building still standing, in order to show the destruction. Instead, they have a smaller park, and lots of fountains. At the centre of the park is this large coppery blue guy, who represents peace, and
they also have lots of sculptures from around the world depicting peace. It was really nice to see the different interpretations of peace from around the world. It was nice and quiet, and good to sit and think.It was just so very different from Hiroshima, and yet the same thing happened in both places. The museum was very upsetting too, but in a different way. I can't quite explain it.

More Lanterns

There were two main areas, where all the big lanterns were, and when we finally reached them, they were so impressive! They were hanging from this large red and white tent, where you could sit and watch the dragon dance or some other related shows!

Animal Lanterns

The Chinese Zodiac has 12 animals which represent the years, and each of them was represented at least once in a really cool lantern. They were made up of thin coloured paper, and lit up from the inside, it was such an impressive sight!

At the Spectacles Bridge

For the weekends trip, we had planned to go to Nagasaki for Chinese New Year. It started on the...Tuesday I think, but Chinese New Year lasts a long time, so we went down for the Lantern Festival, which was being held on the Saturday. I met Joel, Larrissa and Keri there, and after checking into the hostel, we explored the city some. It was pretty cold, so Joel gave us all some whiskey to warm our tummies before we set off! The Spectacles bridge is a really famous place in the city, on a calm day, the reflection in the water looks like glasses. But with all the lanterns put up, it was exceptionally pretty!Joel wandered into the middle, where there are these cool stepping stones, and I did too, eventually...it was a little daunting carrying my camera over a river, but I made it! The other side was really good too, they even had beautiful lanterns lit up in the water!

At least 12 inches of snow!

I went out to Tokusa, which is one of my high schools way up in the mountains. I kinda fell asleep in the car, and when I woke up, there was snow everywhere! It kind of looks like Narnia! It snowed all day, we got up to 17 inches in places. It was great to go out and wander around the streets, taking photos, but I was very grateful for the warm bus after!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Feeding the deer

The deer in Miyajima, love food, and sometimes you see a tourist feeding one, but generally it's a no no. But they are fed grain once a day, so I was lucky enough to get some, and convince them to come eat out of my hand! It was a little scary, they would easily knock into each other and me, but it was super cute too!

It's Momijimanju time!

I love Momijimanju, they are basically cakes filled with some filling in the shape of a maple leaf. But I discovered that there are chocolate covered ones, normal ones, and deep fried ones! I must have eaten 3 of these in the day, because they are so darn good! They even have a cute mascot outside where you can put your trash when you are done! Kawaii ne?

Back at Itsukushima

The red torii in the water, is actually the gate to Itsukushima shrine, but people often forget this. I have never actually paid to go into the shrine, because near the exit you can stand and take some nice photos of the red walkways and pretty lanterns. It's quite a popular photo to take, and I really like it!

A black and white collection

I messed around with the settings on my camera a bit and found the black and white one. The red gate is always THE RED ONE so I thought it might be interesting to take some detailed black and white photos of the gate. How, people rest rocks on the braces for good fortune, or leave money in the gaps for the Gods. It was really interesting to see how the wood had been affected by the water, day after day. And boy was it beautiful!

Down at the gate

I love the big red gate, and I had said that I wanted to stay until sunset, because it usually is very beautiful here. However, the tide was out, so we decided to walk through the sand to go up to the gate. When the tide goes out for a few hours, you can walk right up to it! You can see from the pictures that there really aren't very many people there in winter, so I thought it was a great time to visit! It is so impressive and so tall..and quite...magical? Mystical maybe? But either way, it was nice to go down and get an entirely different perspective than normal..and it turns out that the tide came back in after we left...so we timed it perfectly!

Out at the water...

Because we got to Miyajima so late in the afternoon, maybe about 3 o clock, the light was really pretty, and it was very empty actually. I had expected, for a weekday, to it to be very busy...but I guess not many people want to go out traipsing around in freezing January!I thought these lanterns were really pretty in the afternoon light, as well as looking back across the water to Hiroshima!