Samstag, 13. Juni 2009

How do we continue? Nara and the Aquarium

Question to YOU! I could either post what I did during my stay in Japan chronologically (which I think might be a little boring) OR I could order it in sections (food, shrines and temples, museums, cities, sights, food, drink, food, food, culture, food, fashion)
What do you think? Let me know!!
Comment right here!!

Donnerstag, 11. Juni 2009

Expo Park and National Museum of Ethnology (Update)

Thursday. Awesome museum and a nice park commemorating the Expo of 1970. Details will follow! Can't just load up photos this time - I'd rather keep up the excitement ;-).

Although the Expo was almost 40 years ago, the park is still kept up very nicely. It invites to walk not only on ground level, but also above the hights of the trees. This was my favorite part of the part itself, although the natural pond area wasn't bad either.

My absolute favorite, however, was the Osaka Muesum of Ethnicity. I spent four hours with my English audio guide in exhibitions starting in Oceania...

... over America, Europe, Artica, Africa and finally Asia...

with a big section on Language and Music and finally: Japan.

My brain was absolutely numb after that, so I decided to chill and watch a movie about Japanese bull fighting (at which the bulls are fighting and no one dies!)
If you ever go to Osaka: SEE THIS MUSEUM!
Some things are a little confusing - or confused (such as setting up Mexican masks right next to Native American masks without explanation. Of course, these exhibitions can only give a tiny window into a culture. But for a culture junky like me, this museum was heaven!!
Where else can you learn about Chinese hand puppets...

... and how to wrap a Sari in one hour!

Castle and Museum of History

Osaka Castle was rebuilt after being destroyed like so many things in WWII. Osaka was the first Capitol of Japan... for a bit

Guy fishing from the walls of Osaka Castle

Training the future generation of warriors near the castle - A Kendo School

City Museum of Osaka History. From the strange roll, you have an incredible view of the castle!

See? View of Osaka Castle!

Beginning of the rain season - Or: The Umbrella Dance

Osaka - City of water. The city actually runs a publicity campaign that compares it to Venice.

Japanese sweets... a chapter of its own!

These were my Tuesday and Wednesday activities... I'm busy having fun, no time for much blogging ;-). Have some pictures, story will come later then...

Montag, 8. Juni 2009


Arashiyama is a part of Kyoto, which is known for its traditional Japanes style, temples and shrines. Kyoto was not as severely destryoed during the war as Osaka andd Tokyo and so it was able to retain its traditional charm.

We took the Hankyu train to get to the beautiful river and green hills.

The place is quite famous with Japanese tourists as well, as it provides a change for those living in busy cities like Osaka.

... although typically Japanese, they don't necessarily show how emotinally they are moved openly ;-).

We climbed up a little hill and had a picknick among important looking stones whose actualy meaning we were unable to find out.

So instead we watched the boats go up the river into the valley.

Down the hill on the other side, we crossed through a bamboo forest and came upon a temple.

The temple is one of many sites in Kyoto that is declared world heritage.

Of course you have to make sure you are physically clean before you can enter the temple to become spiritually clean!

First Impressions

I've had a weekend to discover a little bit of Japan now and I feel comfy here.
For most people it is apparently a big shock when they first come here and it is indeed an entirely different world. However, I like it a lot. People are nice and friendly (although extremely, sometimes overly polite, but coming from Seattle that's not new ;-)). Everything is clean and very organized (yeah, that's coming from a German...)

Saturday, Iris took me to DenDen City, where tons of cheap electronics shops are and to the heart of Osaka, the most noisy and busy part of town.

In a little back alley we found a Kimono place and ended up in a shopping frenzy, which we rounded up by a meal of Onokamiyaki (?I'll have to check back on that), a Japanese style pancake.

For the night, we met up with some of her friends for Karaoke.
Karaoke in Japan means you and a bunch of friends rent a room with Karaoke machine and go crazy singing without worrying about annoying anyone - much more preferrably than the stage-in-a-bar-version popular in Germany and the US.

On Sunday, we took the train to Arashiyama (near Kyoto) for some beautiful landscape, bamboo forest, temples and shrines and concluded the day with a Japanese style BBQ. More detail and pictures on that will follow :-)