Tokyo Notebook

-・- From My Everyday Life to Japanese Culture -・- Why don't you see the real Japan, not the typical foreigners' version.

-- --



Posted by Kinakinw | --:-- | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | スポンサー広告

31 2011

Boys, be Ambitious!

From Monday to Tuesday, I participated in a workshop held at Hokkaido University (one of the national universities of Japan) in Sapporo (the capital of Hokkaido Prefecture).

I took this Pokemon-jet to Sapporo. The joke like this made me feel myself letting go of tension in a good sense.

I think All Nippon Airways should use this airplane featuring Pokemon, which our country is proud of, for an international flight.

Its campus, with an area of 1,770,000 square meters (about 437.4 acres), located in the center of the city (on the north side of Sapporo Station), and the land area consists of not only university facilities but also tourist spots.

The Statue of William Smith Clark (1826 – 1886), a professor of chemistry, botany and zoology, and also a founder and first president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College

In 1876, Clark was invited by the government of Japan to establish the Sapporo Agricultural College, now Hokkaido University. Although it's not known if he was a person of integrity, as legend goes, and said, “Boys, be ambitious!”, he was one of the most famous American in twentieth-century Japan.

The Strand of Poplar Trees

Sapporo3 Sapporo4
Historic buildings are scattered over the large area.

I visited the university few years ago, but I was in the different area of the campus, so this was first time for me to looking at these famous spots.

The building known as Sapporo Clock Tower

The tower is located in the downtown Sapporo now (on the sough side of Sapporo Station). I mean it was originally built for Sapporo Agricultural College in 1878 and was inside the campus at that time. Well, in 19th century, the university’s premises were far larger….

Well, I didn’t have much free time because I was confined in the school building for a study session in the daytime and brought out for a drinking session after sun went down. But, I tried to feel like a tourist in one of those gaps-between-sessions!


Posted by Kinakinw | 18:22 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

26 2011

Summer’s Almost Gone

Summer’s Almost Gone
One day, even long before, in a southern island

There is a nip of fall in the air in Tokyo, while I'm running around.

Posted by Kinakinw | 23:14 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Tokyo Life

21 2011

Annual BBQ

I enjoyed backyard barbecue at my friend’s home on Saturday evening.

After the BBQ, we did fireworks with children.
I pick up this photo because the flash diffusely reflected due to smoke of fireworks, so the faces are difficult to recognize.

The members are a married couple of American man & Japanese woman and their children (the host), an unmarried couple of American man & Japanese woman, an Austrian man, two Japanese women (including me), and a Japanese woman and her children, half Japanese and half Sudanese. The Sudanese husband was absent because he found a job in Dubai and now lives there. The mother and children are going to go to live in Dubai in near future.


It was an international gathering.

I attend the family’s BBQ every year, and except one Japanese woman, I met attendees for the first time. While the men concentrated in baking meat in the backyard, the women were busy for chatting inside the house. I don’t know why, but the women who have a partner told each other their life story including marriage, children’s education, and agonies or joys of life. (I think don’t have to mention that I was a listener.) Some problems are getting fixed, and the other deep problems still remain.
I realized that life has its ups and downs and such is life.

Anyway, American men really love BBQ. The BBQ grill was their sanctuary.

I made “Chirashi-susi” for the party.

Posted by Kinakinw | 23:10 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Tokyo Life

16 2011

The End of Route 66

Before leaving the States, we stayed overnight at a hotel in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica1

I once stayed there when I went to Los Cabos years ago. At that time, a hurricane hit Baja California the day of my fright from LAX to Cabo San Lucas, and I was held up over LA for a day. I preferred one of Beach Cities for that I didn’t like downtown LA, decided to head to Santa Monica, and liked it.

Santa Monica2

Santa Monica3 Santa Monica4
Third St with many shops and restaurants was lively but peaceful.
ブティックやレストランが立ち並ぶ3rd streetは活気がありながら平和な感じです。

Santa Monica5
Placement of kittens
I hoped all of them find a nice home.

I reserved a cabana table at Whist at the Viceroy, a red-hot restaurant in Santa Monica, in advance.

Santa Monica6 Santa Monica7

I stirred myself, got up early next morning and walked Santa Monica Pier with my friends.

Santa Monica8

Santa Monica9

I found the memorial board in the photo, and I realized it was the end of Route 66.
Route 66の記念掲示板を見つけて、ああ、ここが終着地点なのだと思い出しました。

Santa Monica10
Bob Waldmire is the most prolific and best-known artist specializing in Route 66-themed work.
Route 66, one of the most famous roads in America, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, before ending at Los Angeles.
アメリカで最も有名なルートの1つ、Route 66は、かつてイリノイ州シカゴからミズーリ、カンサス、オクラホマ、テキサス、ニューメキシコ、アリゾナを通り、ロサンゼルス(サンタモニカはロサンゼルス郡に属します)まで延びていました。この記念掲示板はRoute 66をテーマにした作品で有名なBob Waldmireさんに因んだものらしいです。

All my knowledge of Route 66 is the jazz standard number containing many cites and states between Chicago and Los Angels in the lyrics, but I know the atmosphere of a part of it because I went on a road trip from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona years ago. Stopped at Santa Fe, Grand Canyon and many population centers of Native American, my friend and I drove more than 2,000km (1242 miles).
Route 66と言えば、私の知識はシカゴからロスまでの様々な町や州の名前が登場する同名のジャズのスタンダードナンバー位なのですが、その道沿いの一部の雰囲気はわかります。以前、ニューメキシコ州のアルバカーキから、アリゾナ州のフェニックスまで車で旅をしたことがあるのです。サンタフェやグランドキャニオン、ネイティブアメリカンの居留区などに足を伸ばし、友人と二人で2,000キロ以上走りました。

Looking at the Pacific Ocean, I imagined Midwestern United States along the Mother Road, I’ve never been to, at the end of the trip.

Santa Monica11

Posted by Kinakinw | 12:55 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

12 2011

Rambling Photo Exhibition of Las Vegas

Although I’m found of these photos, I cannot write an organized entry with them. So, I’m going to display them with captions in this entry, which is the last one about Las Vegas.

Viva Las Vegas!

"Elvis" in Las Vegas, Mr. Trent Carlini

Mr. Limousine Driver

Dear Ggamblaholics*
* These are slot machines at McCarran. Basically, you can't take pictures in casinos.


The Top of the World
This restaurant is on the 106th floor of the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, which is located more than 844 feet (257m) above the Las Vegas Strip. We had a memorable dinner there, where you can enjoy beautiful night views of the city.



Thrill Rides at the Top of the Stratosphere Tower
These rides extend toward the outside of the tower. Literally, they are thrilling.

Fancy meeting you here, Pikachu

From Four Corner

The Revelation
No one knows if it will work out well or not.


I would come back again!

Posted by Kinakinw | 23:45 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

10 2011

Hotel Stay in Las Vegas

Our party of six stayed at a budget hotel with the common touch near Four Corner for three nights (it’s situated in a good location!). During our stay, we ran the streets every day and only returned for sleep.


After that, while three people left Las Vegas and went to San Francisco, the other three including me moved into Encore at Wynn that’s as sophisticated and intimate as its predecessor, Wynn Las Vegas. Then, our days were transformed from a life of a commoner into that of luxury.
その後、3人はラスベガスを離れファンフランシスコに行き、私を含めた残り3人はEncore at Wynn(アンコール・アット・ウィン)に引っ越し。EncoreはWynnの姉妹ホテル。Wynnと同じ様に(いやそれ以上に)洗練され、落ち着いたホテルです。そこで私達は、庶民暮らし(個人的には雑然とした大衆カジノホテルも好きです)に終止符を打ち、一気に優雅な暮らしをすることになりました。



Encore4 Encore5
It had interior designs based on the modern style with an emphasis on the color red, and butterfly and flower motif, which create an aura of warmth.

We asked a room with a view of the central area of Strip and had the room E6340.

Encore6 Encore7

Deluxe Resort Room with Two Queen Beds
There is a spacious living area on the near side of the beds though the photo doesn’t show that.
ツイン仕様のDeluxe Resort Room

Encore9 Encore10
A spacious bathroom (about 18~20㎡) certainly pleases women. I’m sure I can live in this space.

Encore11 Encore12
The items on the tray and in the fridge that are removed more than 60 seconds would be charged to our account. I called attention to my friend who tried to pick up one without reading that note: the bottle of water would cost us more than $10.

This room was least expensive of all. Because we had one at the top floor, we made the most cost-effective investment.

The View from Our Room on the 63rd Floor
The sister hotel, Wynn, that was located at the same site of Encore. The two buildings were connected to each other via passages.

In sharp contrast to staying at the former hotel, we went out of the site (Encore and Wynn) minimally: relaxing in the room, enjoying the show that was taking place in Wynn, having dinner at Encore or Wynn, and cooling down in a pool.

Encore14 Encore15
We saw the popular aquatic show, Le Rêve at Wynn Theater, which features stunning visuals and amazing acrobatics.
水を使った印象的なアクロバットショー、Le Rêveを観ました。美しかった。オススメです。

Encore16 Encore17
One of the casual restaurants in the hotels, which was good place to have light dinner.


Encore19 Encore20
Wynn has an open feeling and lively atmosphere. Its taste the interiors are a little different from Encore’s.


Encore22 Encore23


Stylish Pool Area at Encore (only for the guests of the hotels)
Renting the cabanas was above our room price, we, of course, didn’t rent it. Wynn also has own pool area.

I think the hotel is perfect for repeaters of Las Vegas who don’t need sightseeing tour.
Stay there at least 3 nights and enjoy facilities designed to refresh its guests.
I’m going to choose Encore again when I go to that town.


Posted by Kinakinw | 15:53 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

06 2011

The Other Sower, a Host of Others

I didn’t have much time for sightseeing in Boston, but I went to Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which was the highlight of the town for me.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston1

After the extension work, the museum becomes extensive than ever before. So, even though I’d decided I wanted to look at, I wondered where to start.

What I was looking for were the other The Sower (Millet, 1850), La Japonaise (Monet, 1875) and Japanese arts crossing the sea including Ukiyo-e prints by Hokusai.

I saw The Sower in Yamanashi last February (see the post “Barbizon, Yamanashi 2011.2.11”). Millet made two Sowers and sent one of them to an exhibition. Now, one is in Yamanashi, Japan, and the other is in Boston. Unlike the one in the small local museum under the theme of Millet and Barbizon school, the other was almost lost among huge quantities of art works. I couldn’t feel like appreciating it at ease because of people bustled everywhere in the room. If I were the sower, I preferred Yamanashi as one’s last place.
今年の2月、山梨で種まく人を見ました(2月11日の記事、“Barbizon, Yamanashi”をよろしければご参照下さい)。ミレーはこの時期、2枚の種まく人を描いていて、そのうちの一枚をサロンに出品したそうです。現在、一枚は山梨県立美術館にあり、もう一枚がこのボストン美術館にあります。ミレーとバルビゾン派をテーマにした山梨の小さな地方美術館にある同作品と違って、この種まく人は膨大な作品の中にひっそり埋もれていました。正直に言うと、部屋を慌しく歩き回る人々のため、ゆっくり鑑賞できず・・・。もし私が種まく人なら、終の棲家は山梨の方が良いな、なんて思いました。

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston2

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston3
The Sower in Boston was one of others among paintings of Barbizon school.

I couldn’t find La Japonaise where it should be, so I went to a visitor center and asked where it was. I looked at it when I visited the museum last time. I didn’t know about it, but I was deeply impressed with that Japonism painting. I’m a complete amateur: I’ve never studied arts or worked in a job that has a lot to do with “Art”. For me, it’s a pleasure to feel a passion and motive of the painter for creation from works. La Japaneis was one of those works that convey the painter’s feelings and thoughts.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston4
It should be around here somewhere….

Unfortunately, it wasn’t shown at that time because the museum is constructing new exhibit spaces and it’ll be shown there. I was disappointed, but I tried to change the mood: the painting might want me to come back. Well, I think the idea that expanding exhibit spaces any more isn’t a good idea. It's already too larger to walk around and reach a room one wants to go to.

Anyway, I looked at must-see paintings.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston8

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston5

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston6 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston7

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston9 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston10

All in all, the selection of paintings reveals myself as Japanese.

After the Europe sections, I went on the whirlwind visits to Asia ones. As you might expect, the museum that Tenshin Okakura (岡倉天心) once belonged to has beautiful collections of tea-things (I couldn’t take a photo due to poor illumination of that room), noh costumes and masks, and Buddhist arts. I was happy because I didn’t have time to look at them last time.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston11

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston13 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston12

However, I couldn’t find Ukiyo-e prints except ones in the photo above. By that time, I was too exhausted to revisit the visitor center, so I simply gave up finding them. Someone who went to the museum and walked through all spaces (!!) the day before I visited it said he also couldn’t find Ukiyo-e. Maybe, the collection was in Japan for some exhibitions?? Anyway, it's preferable to consult spaces of work you want to look at when you go there.

Museum of Fine Arts, Bosto14
There is sunny restaurant in the new building in the former courtyard.

Personally, I prefer to spent time in a small and middle-sized museum or one under a certain theme because there is a limit to concentrate on viewing arts. Viewing a motley gathering of arts in a day makes me feel exhausted. I even couldn’t visit Tenshin-En Japanese Garden.
However, it’s a must-do experience in Boston.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston15

Posted by Kinakinw | 11:50 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

03 2011

Burning Boston

I returned to Japan last Saturday and was busy every day doing this and that since then. Finally, I’m ready to update my blog.


Even though I heard that summer in Boston, the first stop, is hot and sticky, according to statistics, monthly mean maximum temperature in July is 28 °C (82 °F). So, getting out of the hellish climate of Japan, I expected a better one than that.

However, during my stay, Boston got caught in a triple-digit heat wave. Day after arrival, I understood why a captain of a domestic flight said, “Boston is nicely hot”, which I thought it was loaded language, on landing.

Because I paid for all my own expenses in the travel, I stayed at a dormitory-style discount hotel without an air conditioner and exhausted myself due to the heat.


Boston3 Boston4

Except for the problem of an air conditioner, the hotel was nice. The staff members are very friendly and kind. It was in one of the best neighborhoods in the heart of the town (location, location, location). Amazingly, the hotel room rate was $55 including breakfast! It was exceptionally low price in this most expensive city in the world.

Boston is called "America's Walking City". But, I’ve never enjoyed walking: the first time because of my friend who ran me about the town and because of the heat wave this time.

Most of the handful walks were trips to restaurants.


Boston6 Boston7

I find a delight in eating Chinese in China town in every city. I went there twice, and I liked the Gourmet Dumpling House in the photo. This casual restaurant provided a very delicious American-Chinese taste, which also meets Japanese taste. The other one was OK. I felt the small China town in Boston is untouristy and has a laid-back atmosphere.

The sushi restaurant where I had lunch.
It used brown rice with vinegar for all meals. I realized sushi is no longer ours, but it has been a world cuisine.


Boston10 Boston11

My colleagues and I had dinner at a dessert café & restaurant, Finale. It was like Starbucks during daytime, but it became a chic restaurant at dinnertime. Except the entrée, the pizza and salad were also sweet (sweet balsamic sauce was used), but they were interestingly tasty. We were so full after eating the meals and skipped the dessert.

I do want to visit the town again during spring or autumn next time.

Posted by Kinakinw | 23:40 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

© FC2 BLOG / ooq:blog