31 12 2009

While in Sendai we visited Zuihoden, the mausoleum of the first feudal lord of Sendai. The first lord of Sendai, Date Masamune, was born in 1567. He conquered much of the Sendai area and brought it under his rule. He had a huge income but only one eye (he wore a patch, making him look like a pirate samurai.)

In the Zuihoden surrounds there are momuments to 11 feudal lords in the Date lineage. They ruled over Sendai for a long time.

Eat more greens

30 12 2009

On our way home from Sendai we had dinner with Benno’s friend in Tokyo at Eat More Greens.

Nokogiri-yama return

30 12 2009

Today we returned to Nokogiri-yama.

Sendai Winter Illuminations

28 12 2009

In December Sendai hosts some beautiful winter illuminations during their ‘Pageant of Starlight’ festival. We caught the Loople Sightseeing bus to the main street with lights and walked down the avenue of lit up trees. It was pretty cold so we stopped off at MOS burger and had some fries to warm up.

Earlier in the day we had lunch at Ohisamaya, a vegan organic cafe near the station.

For dinner we stopped off at Soup Stock Tokyo, a soup/curry shop in Sendai station. We had rice with minestrone – it was a vegan soup although not all of their items are vegan-friendly and they rotate their menu often.

Matsushima- scenic sights of Japan

27 12 2009

The three scenic sites of Japan a.k.a. “Nihon Sankei”:

1. Matsushima, the pine covered islands near Sendai.

2. Miyajima, an island with floating shrine near Hiroshima.

3. Amanohashidate, a sand bar covered in pine trees in northern Kyoto prefecture.

We have now visited 2 of these scenic sites. We caught the train from Sendai to Matsushima and went on a 50min cruise around the bay. It was rather quiet for a Sunday morning (there was only one other couple on the boat) and the tour guide kept trying to say things in English for us (except she had to check all the words with the other Japanese couple before saying it to us).

We had reserved our tickets online and got 10% off the cruise. See http://www.marubun-kisen.com/english/matsushima/basho.html

It was lovely weather – blue skies and sun shining. We walked around Matsushima after the cruise and wandered on some of the islands that were accessible by bridge from the mainland. Then we hopped back on the onigiri-samurai-trainline to Sendai.

Christmas lunch

25 12 2009

Christmas wasn’t quite the same this year… it was a normal workday for most of Japan, and it was just the two of us for Christmas lunch.

Still, we had cashew nut loaf with roast sweet potato and hassleback potatoes, gravy and broccoli with “cheesy sauce” followed by mini pumpkin pies with strawberries and maple syrup.

Week of quakes

24 12 2009

Recently we’ve had lots of little tremors. The longest earthquake I’ve ever felt (although not very strong) came this morning while I was still in bed. We also had one late at night while sitting on the couch that felt like rolling waves underneath us. Fortunately, none of the earthquakes have been stronger than 2 in magnitude by the time they reach us. It’s easy to see how you could be lulled into a false sense of security with all these tiny quakes, forgetting that sometimes huge earthquakes hit Japan and destroy houses and lives.

Later this morning another quake hit and its effects were felt all the way along the eastern edge of Japan – from Chiba-ken up to the top of Hokkaido.

This week I’ve been busy preparing foods for Christmas day luch. The day after Christmas we head off to Sendai to view the Winter Illuminations and one of the 3 scenic sites, Matsushima. After New Years we travel to Hakuba to go skiing for the first time and visit the famous snow monkeys.

Fuji-san at 6.45 in the morning

19 12 2009

Today was the last day of term 2 exams and the last day of school for students. As I was eating breakfast I saw Fuji-san from the dining room window and so walked up to the carpark below the buddhist temple near us and took some photos. The sun was just rising in the east and the sky still had a pink tinge to it. Mt Fuji was very clear and it was very cold that early in the morning! Since the forecast for today was 7 degrees, I’m guessing it was something like 4 degrees when I took these photos.

By lunchtime he had disappeared under cloud and the sky was no longer crisp and clear. But after lunch was also the start of yuki-yasumi so it’s a happy day!

Mt Fuji from Kisarazu.

Mt Fuji in the dusty pink skies of sunrise.

Winter Lights in Harajuku

15 12 2009


14 12 2009