Skip to main content

Winter Vacation Part 1

I left Yokohama on December 28th at 11:30 pm by car and headed up to Gifu. We drove the long way, which was via the Tomei Expressway through Izu and Aichi Prefecture then Nagoya where we took a break in order to reassess our bearings. By this time it was already 1:30am, and with very few love hotels in sight we continued our heading up another freeway where we ended up in a small town with three hotels. We got one, got some sleep, and woke up the next morning and continued our drive to Gifu. Our first destination before check in was a town called Shirakawa-go, a world heritage, famed for having houses with old thatched roofs. Visiting this place was a real treat. We stayed for four hours taking pictures of everything beautiful we could get our camera lenses adjusted on. I was dragging around a tripod and a backpack trying to maintain my balance on slippery ice frosted footpaths.

 As the evening wore on, the temperature dropped significantly to below zero as winter’s icy breath began to sting our hands, so we quickly packed our things back into the car and headed back towards the freeway. Driving towards our destination we noticed a sudden burst of snowfall out of nowhere cover everything around us. I knew for a fact this was Gifu! An hour into our drive I start loosing traction because I still have summer tires. So gradually I pulled over and turned my hazards on. By this time the sun had completely set leaving me with only the light of oncoming vehicles to put on my snow chains. I managed to chain all two front tires in less than ten minutes with the help of only three oncoming car lights. Finally arriving at our ryoukan, three hours after check-in, we were greeted with smiles and eager hands waiting to carry our bags up to the room. I sighed a deep breath of release, flopped on the bed and exhaled. A few minutes later I enjoyed a nice onsen and a delicious meal. I stayed for two nights in this hotel. Checking out on the 31st I was refreshed and ready to check into our other hotel which was right up the street. But we had five hours to kill, so we drove to Takayama city to enjoy some nice Hida Beef yakiniku, which is famed as some of the best beef in Japan. I rate it an 8 on a scale from 1 to 10. My all time favorite is Yonezawa Beef of Yamagata, though. If you are ever in the area you’ll find that there are many such shops all over Takayama city and I’ve been to all of them, but hands down the local favorite is the one in this picture:

Comments

  1. I like Shirakawa, it's a magical place, especially during winter. Beautiful photos, I like the shadows, the reflections and the colors.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the comment Muza-chan!
    I will be checking your photos out very soon.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Shin-Okubo: Little Korea

So I finally got around to going up there to Shin-Okubo,  the land of Seoul via the Yamanote Line.  Been putting this trip off for years for personal reasons;  I am not a fan of Hanlleyu.      I knew why I came up this way, and for none other reason than the food, and maybe to bask in the nausea of Korean romanticist who steal Japanese Jukujo's souls.    But honestly, I like spicy food and stews and pickled vegetables that challenge my taste buds.    I also love the little funky cafes that line the main thoroughfares and alley ways, each with their own little eclectic menus and interior decor.     This place is Korea.  





Shin-Okuba represents more than just a place to relish in Korean culinary delights and K-pop culture, but a place where Koreans can express themselves through their culture.    You can feel the local vibe in the air as you're walking down narrow walkways and footpaths.    I have personally been to mainland Korea six times, so a lot of the nostalgia was there …

August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, especially  in places like Tohoku and Kanto regions.  August is also  the most contentious month of the year in Japan; with the end of the war and war-related guilt.    Then there's the great exodus back home for millions of Japanese.   Obon season is what it's called in Japan, and it's  where families return to their hometowns to remember their ancestors and to spend time with loved ones.  Gravestones are visited, cleaned, and washed; rice or alcohol is often placed on  miniature altars next to a  headstone.  This is a way for Japanese to reconnect with their roots; a way for them to stay grounded and founded in the ways of tradition and cultural protocol.   

For the foreign tourist, some places will be overcrowded and expensive to reach; for Japanese, this is normal and can't be helped.   Wherever you go there will be lines and h…

Japan Board of Education: Amazing Grace...?

Japan Board of Education Textbook.
Amazing Grace
Shuken Shuppan  Polestar textbook English Communication

Preface:  Japanese / Japan is  one of the leading donors in humanitarian aid around the world.   They have donated billions of yen to charities, developing countries, and startup business to just about every country on the globe.  Some Japanese have even taken matters to the extreme  to the point of poking their noses into hotspot areas like Palestine and Isreal, things the Japanese may want to avoid.  Had Japan shared its borders with an ethnic minority with its own government, the relative peace and calm of this country would be questionable.   No other country can be like nor emulate Japan.   So, where does this spirit of charity and altruism come from exactly?   Why do the Japanese feel they need to save the whole world, while caring very little for its own people?   It's the Board of Education...?  The essay below is one such example of what Japanese kids learn in school,…