Friday, November 30, 2012

Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday, it was the third anniversary of our wedding. It is amazing already three years have flown away... it feels like I got married just yesterday!

To celebrate such an occasion, I made a reservation in the same restaurant where we celebrated our wedding banquet: Asakusa Imahan Bekkan, next to the famous Sensoji 浅草寺 in Asakusa 浅草, the heart of Tokyo's Shitamachi 下町. We had a nice sukiyaki dinner with gorgeous Japanese beef in a beautiful tatami private room!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Color changing leaves in Gunma  群馬県で紅葉

This weekend we are in Gunma-ken, watching color changing leaves and visiting several spa towns. We are visiting Ikaho onsen, Kusatsu onsen and Shima onsen and areas around them! Good food, relaxed time and beautiful scenery!

From De viaje por el mundo

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Toeicho 東栄町

Last weekend, we went with some friends (part of JLA) ;) to Aichi-ken. When you talk about Aichi-ken, everybody thinks about Nagoya, but actually, we went to the border area between Aichi and Shizuoka, and Nagoya was pretty far away. The objective of our trip was to meet a friend who has just been mother and to meet her child too.

On Saturday, it was raining all day pretty heavily, but still we managed to do some sightseeing and see some color changing leaves (kouyou 紅葉) in Yuya onsen 湯谷温泉.

We got to our friend's house pretty early and we could enjoy a nice time with her and her family.

Her mother also prepared some of the local delicacies...

...including rice with bugs, which was actually delicious!!!

The house was really cool, with a large orchard and gardens.

After visiting her, we went to the place where we would spend the night, Star Forest. The place was really cool. It is like a little astronomical observatory in the middle of the mountains. They even have a planetarium and a 60-cm telescope to watch the beautiful sky in these isolated mountains. Unfortunately, because of the rain, we could not use the telescope and we could just go for the planetarium. We stayed in some pretty bungalows...

and had a nice nabe dinner after the planetarium session.

On Sunday, the weather was perfect, with blue skies, and we could enjoy our time in Aichi much more. In the morning, we went to a local festival (maybe the town did not even have 1000 inhabitants!!!) which consisted of some guys dressed up as demons and dancing to the songs the crowd was singing. 

Later on the day, we went to a famous color changing leaves spot, Assuke 足助, in Toyota (yes, the original place of the largest car marker in the world). The next photos show you how beautiful that place is in autumn. No further descriptions needed... :) Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mt Fuji from NAOJ  天文台から富士山

Today, weather was great in Tokyo and Fujisan could be seen clearly from the city. According to one friend at work, Miyachi-san, the roof in our building is one of the best places to see the famous mountain! So today I asked him to show me if the view was so great, and it was! I took the lab camera and took some photos. These are some of them.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

七五三 Shichi-go-san

七五三 literally means 7-5-3 and it refers to ages. On 15th November every year, girls aged 3 or 7 and boys aged 5, celebrate their age. Normally, the celebration is actually held in the weekends around 15th Nov. The celebration consists of a visit to the local shrine and then, a family lunch or dinner. Of course, kids wear beautiful traditional clothes and female relatives usually wear kimono.

Last Sunday, we joined our niece's celebration. She is now 3 years old. In the morning, grandparents and kids took photos in a studio near their home and then, we all went together to our shrine, Nezu Jinja.

In Nezu Jinja, we went inside and listened to the priest singing and blessing all the kids one by one.

Finally, we all went together to a nice kushikatsu restaurant near Nezu station.

Friday, November 9, 2012

North Sado

This post will finish describing the beautiful and historical island of Sado in Niigata. Yesterday, I described the Southern and Central parts of the island (or the places we visited), so now it is time for the wild North!

The way to visit the isolated and wild North is by following a narrow coastal road which cuts through small towns and ends up becoming in a single lane track at the Northern tip of the island. Driving in this last area is not for the faint-hearted. Once at the tip of the island, it is better to come back on the other side, to avoid driving again in the same "road"!

The largest town in the area is Aikawa 相川, the town which flourished in the Edo period due to the famous Gold and Silver mines in the mountains nearby. The mines are actually the main attraction in this area. They have already been inscribed in the UNESCO tentative list for the World Heritage registration. That means there are high chances they will become a UNESCO World Heritage in the near to mid future. The Edo period mine is pretty interesting and has lots of robots trying to show us the working conditions in the mine tunnels. They even mined below sea level and needed complex drainage systems to make exploitation sustainable!

After wandering in the underground tunnels for around 1 hour, there is an informative museum which explains how the gold was extracted, processed and traded. And there is also a chance to grab a 12 kg chunk of pure gold!

The mountains nearby looked beautiful with some reddish colors...

Further North, there is the beautifully scenic Senkaku-wan, with a small aquarium and some games for kids. These are some of the nice views.

The coastline becomes really rough and wild with many rocks jutting out of the sea.

Even tunnels are the roughest made you can probably see in Japan! Just a hole through the rocks!

In the Northern tip of the island, there are two beautiful places with huge rock: Onogame 大野亀 and Futatsugame 二ツ亀. Onogame is actually the largest rock in Japan. It is the huge rock in the photo just below. There are hiking routes to the top if you have the time to climb up there. View must be pretty good!

The other rocks, Futatsugame, are two rocks connected to the island by thin strips of black sand when the tide is low. When we went, tide was high and they looked just like two small islets.

Two more photos of Onogame and Futatsu game.

At this point, we were pretty near from Vladivostok, in Russia! That sounds far!!!