Tag Archive | CoolJapan

the panties vending machine & the early cherry blossoms

Found it! During the first weekend on Izu for this year!
When we paddled up the hill with the bikes after a short sightseeing tour, we found a panties vending machine!! Hidden in small, run down shed. What a surprise to find one of the infamous Japanese machines somewhere in Izu… very strange!!

To change the topic – a short summary of the weekend! Even so it was rainy we went to Izu, to visit Kawazu’s famous early Sakura (Cherry blossom) and to do the “Seven Falls Hiking course”. For those who want to see Sakura already: Go to Kawazu now! The Cherry trees are blooming along the river for more than one kilometre down to the seaside!
 
The Seven falls are nice to visit, but do not expect too much! We did the course from the top as described >>here on page 6, but when we recognized, the main part of the hike is a gravel walk we decide to go by bike. Some parts are handable with an Mountain bike in-between and for some parts you have to carry the bike down the wooden stairs (as usual…)
The annoying part starts, when ending up in the real sightseeing zone, where you have to share the path with all tourist. Not recommendable in peak season!
But the small waterfalls are nice to visits and I could imagine it would be great to take a dip in the cold water during summer season. Just not sure if this would be appreciated…

Habe einen der berüchtigten Unterhosen Automaten gefunden!
Wo und wann? In Izu, als wir mit den Fahrrädern den Berg zurück zum Auto hochgetreppelt sind, in einer kleinen runter gekommenen Hütte am Straßenrand. Schräg!

Um schnell das Thema zu wechseln eine kurze Zusammenfassung des Wochenendes! Das erste mal dieses Jahr ging es wieder mal nach Izu, um in Kawazu die berühmte, frühe Sakura (Kirschblüte) besuchen und die “Seven Falls Wanderung” zu machen. Für diejenigen, die jetzt schon Kirschblüte sehen wollen: Ab nach Kawazu! Ca. 1km entlang des Flusses blüht es jetzt schon bis zum Meer!
Die sieben Wasserfälle (Seven Falls) waren nett, aber man darf nicht zu viel erwarten! Wir haben die Wanderung vom oberen Startpunkt (siehe Karte Seite 6) gemacht, aber da der groesste Teil einfach ein breiter Kiesweg war, haben wir kurzerhand beschlossen das ganze mit den Fahrrädern zu machen. Ein paar Stücke zwischen drin gingen gut mit den Mountainbike aber zum Teil muss man das Fahrrad die Holztreppen runter tragen.
Nervig wurde es dann erst am Ende, wenn der Pfad übergeht in den wirklichen Sightseeing Spot – dann sind zu viele Touristen auf dem Weg und es ist besser abzusteigen und zu schieben.
Aber die kleinen Wasserfälle sind auf jeden Fall schön, und ich konnte mir direkt vorstellen wie es wäre im Sommer in die kalten Wasserbecken zu springen.
Allerdings bin ich mir nicht sicher, ob das auf Begeisterung stoßen würde…

omotesando: more than shopping

One of my favourite places in Tokyo is (still) Omotesando. Reason for that is NOT the long shopping mile with all the fancy big labels, but the small side roads. For example the narrow alley from Shibuya to Harajuku, or as well on opposite side. Here you will find second hand stores, small labels, Cafés and Bars to sit outside. Easy to spend a day! Every time I go there, I find a new place and add a new star on my Map 🙂

Especially since January the outdoor event / beer garden area re-opened! This year it’s called commune246 and its a collection of small bars, trailers, a stage and several snack bars. To avoid frosty fingers you can sit beneath the heater during wintertime or enjoy the Tokyo heat during summer time while drinking all sort of cocktails or beers! And if you live here in Tokyo you know how rare it is to have such outdoor places. In this year you can even have a sleep over in a caravan, if you had too many drinks 🙂
Further Tips for those who do not won’t to stick to the standard Omotesando course:

funny food

Zu Beginn habe ich ja immer mal wieder auch Essensbilder geteilt! Zeit wird’s mal wieder für eine Serie “lustiges Essen” in Japan!

At the beginning of my stay in Japan I shared a lot of food pics. Over the last weeks I could again collect a number of funny food & meals which I only saw in Japan. sometimes I still wonder who comes up with this ideas…

powder, powder and powder again!

First of all: Happy new year! Hope you all had a great start into 2015!
Speaking for myself, I had quite a adventurous holiday.
After spending Christmas time in Germany, Sascha & me packed our Camper van for some days in the Hokkaido snow paradise!
Just in case you wonder:
Yes, with the idea of sleeping in the car! Yes, it gets quite cold in Hokkaido in winter time 🙂

Because again we were too lazy to book the ferry from Aorai or Niigata to Hokkaido upfront, we drove to Aomori and took the ferry to Hakodate which goes more often and is more flexible to book short-termed.
Arriving on the northern island, suddenly streets were covered with snow, and I was happy that we came with winter tires and brought snow chains.
After another 2 hour drive we arrived in the Niseko area. Puh, in total our journey took 16hours, and I was not convinced at the first day, it’s gonna be worth it.
The first Ski Area we visited was Niseko Moiwa, known for being less crowded. Which is true, but as well it is somehow small.
But anyway a good, easy start with not as much powder as I expected. This changed over night!

Covered under blankets, the first night was surprisingly warm with only -5 degrees. We parked the Car on a parking area close to the Gondola in Hirafu and next morning we had snow up you the lower door ridge. So therefore the day in the Niskeo Hanazono Ski area was just perfect! Even new powder on the slope and in the backcountry you could totally sink into the fresh powder.
And it continued like this! Only disadvantage was, also the temperature decreased and the wind got very strong for some days, so extra clothes and a hot Onsen bath after the day in the snow was necessary to warm up again.

New Year’s Eve we spend outside with a bunch of Australian people, and a fireworks in front of Mt. Yotei!
And the résumé, of 4 days winter camping in Hokkaido? I have to say, the North of Japan is getting my favourite part of the beautiful country and I’m afraid, I will never have such nice powder snow again back in Europe. Therefore, all the freezing was worth it!

a little bit of craziness

Again some lazy posting weeks…
But a lot happened! Sascha and me visited Comiket, went to Kistune night with digitalism, had a firework in front of our window and most important:
got a lot of visitors in the last 2 months!! which means a lot of sightseeing in Tokyo, karaoke, maid cafe, purikia and one first-time-event: the Roboter Restaurant (ロボットレストラン).

For those who did not visit the place yet. Go there with some friends you can laugh a lot with, have some beer and enjoy the totally crazy, laser, robot, neon coloured, overloaded spectacle.
Thanks Magda & Kai, for convincing us to go there and thanks as well to Eike, Marcel, Vonne & Dely for a great time. Was fun to have you here 🙂

obon 2014 | #1 roadtrip to the south

In march we already travelled to Kyushu. Unluckily it was raining almost all of the time. So we decided: let’s try again this Obon week (Summer holiday in Japan)
Reasons? Even with rain Kyushu was beautiful and we wanted to spend some more time outside of the van, as well we wanted to check out another Camper van in Fukuoka (VW – yeahhh!), to add to our “collection”.

We started our trip by driving to Lake Biwa, close to Kyoto, Japan’ largest freshwater lake. Around Moriyama, there are some nice, stony beaches with barbecue areas, where you can spend your day.
After spending a night on a hidden parking area close to the Okayama port (not a good idea – because I got noisy due to the fisher boats at 5:00), we travelled one day to Naoshima island, to visit the Art projects. If you are somehow interested in Art I would recommend to go there! We brought our own bikes, but you can also rent bikes at the port and do the whole tour of roughly 14km by bike.
And Naoshima Bath house (I♥湯) looks a little bit weird, but Is a nice contrast to other typical Japanese onsen.

Fuji Rock Festival 2014

Ever been to a festival? Wherever you joined one: it is always fun of course!
But the Fuji Rock festival was as well something special for me!
2 days of perfect weather, nice camping area and good mixed line-up.
So what is the difference to a festival e.g. in Germany or anywhere else of the world? The behaviour! Some examples: Everyone is separating their trash, even on the festival area. Labels of the plastic bottles and the caps are carefully separated. No trash in front of the stages the toilets can be called clean – even after 3 days. I never found a toilet run out of toilet paper and I never saw anyone smoking a cigarette outside of the marked areas. Amazing!
And another difference: Everyone brings at least a chair into the festival area. The whole field behind the main stage area is crowded by people with portable chairs, pick-nick tables, their children and plastic sheets. Its like a family event with enormous loud music!
And now, I also understand why musicians love to come to Japan – they just shout “all hands in the air” –  and really EVERYONE is doing as asked. Creating a great mood!
All this packed with a beautiful surrounding, the Naeba skiing area decorated with glowing stars, hippie atmospheric paths trough the woods, stones watching you with painted eyes and on top a really international mix of music. I hope I can go there once more next year!