Tokyo Notebook

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

30 2012

Impressive Grilled Fish Lunch


A Japanese restaurant, Takishita, is a hot spot for lunch in Azabu-juban, which serves voluminous fillets cooked over a charcoal fire.
ボリュームたっぷりの焼き魚定食が食べられる人気の麻布十番で人気のランチスポットが、「旬の味 たき下」です。

The restaurant usually has five kinds of seasonal fish dishes including, for example, salmon, Japanese horse mackerel, mackerel, brevoort, marbled sole, red sea bream, true sardine, scombrops gilberti, and so on. All dishes are the same in price (1,260 yen), and each of them is served with rice, miso soup, and a couple of dishes such as cooked vegetables, grated Japanese radish, and some pickles (it’s traditional Japanese home cooking).

I chose large Japanese horse mackerel this day - I couldn’t resist the attractions of the appetizing large fish, though the photo doesn’t convey the size well. The other fillets were also 2 - 3 times as large as ones served at regular restaurants. Watching voluminous fishes on a charcoal-burning grill make me heart jump. It’s a moment I realizes I'm Japanese.

Takishita_2 Takishita_3

Not only the rice has free refills, which is common, but the grated Japanese radish also has free refills! I was very happy since I love it. The radish is a popular garnish that complements a grilled fish in Japan. It provides a refreshing aftertaste and stimulates digestion.

It’s always crowded, but if you feel I should like a grilled fish for lunch in Azabu-juban, go there. This is the right place to have it.

Takisita (たき下)
2-1-11 Azabu-juban, Minato-ku
Lunch: 11:30~14:00(L.O.13:30
Dinner: 17:30~23:00(L.O.22:00)
Close: Saturday


Posted by Kinakinw | 12:14 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Tokyo Life

28 2012

Takayu Hot Spring Resorts


While the trees broke into blossom in Hanamiyama Park in Fukushima City last week, in Takayu Hot Spring Resorts, which was in the mountain area of the same city, there was snow on the ground. According to a local, it had snow at the beginning of April.

Takayu Onsen was also a long-cherished place in Fukushima.
Discovered 400 years ago, the pot spring located 750 – 800 meters above sea level is one of celebrated spas in Tohoku. It’s relatively small resorts dotted with a little more than 10 inns, and you can enjoy abundant amounts of fresh milky white water having a sulfurous odor in all those inns.

The building with steep raftered roofs in the opening photo is a bathhouse of a historical inn named Tamago-yu (literally means “egg water”) with 140 years of history. Though it features several baths with atmosphere beside it, we could take only this because when we dropped by it at the end of opening hours for day use.

The appointments of the bathhouse are simple like one existed since ancient times.

We stayed at Kagetsu Highland Hotel that was the biggest and located in the highest place. It had wonderful water and great view!

Takayu4 Takayu5
Left: It had the style of mountain resort.
Right: Many swallows were in the middle of nest-building along the eaves.

I awake to the singing of the nesters early in the morning and found the glow of sunrise and sea of clouds. It is pity the photo isn’t good. The town of Fukushima could be seen when it cleared off.


Posted by Kinakinw | 12:49 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

24 2012

Account of World Team Trophy


Team Japan skated off with the gold as competition concluded at the second ISU World Team Trophy (WTT). Along with the first and second day for which I purchased tickets in advance, I attended the third day after all and indulged in the gorgeous competition with top-class skaters who stood on a par with Grand Prix Final and World.


While highlight of the first day was men’s SP, especially Joubert, Abbott, and Daisuke, those of the second day were Davis/White’s FD and Daisuke’s FS. They were just I was looking for! I laughed off my pain and gave them a standing ovation. It’s secrets that I wasn’t supposed to be there on the third day.

I was watching these skaters from my seat while they were writing a letter on their the abdomen for the kiss & cry show.

The competition had been really exciting not only because of excellent performances but also cheering groups of skaters (France, Italy, and the USA) and the enthusiastic Japanese audience. France and Italy teams’ elaborate acts at kiss & cry excited us. Thank you!

Now for some generalities of figure skating event.
Firstly, visitors have a lot of stuff: some carry a winter clothe, rug, and cushion, and the others also bring a flower bouquet and present for a skater one likes. My luggage is usually as big as one for an overnight trip.
Secondly, most visitors are female. Eventually, there is a long, long line for the toilet at intermission. Hundreds of people are waiting. So, I try to cut down my use of the toilet. Even if I feel elated by an event, I restrain myself from drinking. Not only beer, but also I refrain from cold drinks, coffee, and something that have a diuretic effect. I’m sipping hot herbal tea I’ve brought quietly during intermission.

The 2011-2012 season has ended with WTT. I was happy to watch excellent performances, and I’ll spent next 6 months in expectation of the next season.

One final message for Mr. Scott Moire – if you don’t want to participate in WTT, just don’t. I prefer Weaver/ Poje.

Posted by Kinakinw | 21:12 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Figure Skating

19 2012

Shangri-La in Fukushima


I could finally visit a long-cherished place: Hanamiyama in full bloom.
Hanamiyama centered on Hanamiyama Park is known for the magnificent cherry trees in Fukushima City.

Hanamiyama Park is a privately-owned field for growing flowering and ornamental trees, located in south-east of the center of Fukushima City. The 92-year-old landowner (Mr. Ichiro Abe) generously turned the area into a park in 1959 to allow visitors to enjoy the beautiful flowers he grew. Hanamiyama has been preserved through the cooperation of local residents. A leisurely one-hour stroll will take you from the foot of the hill to the summit through groves of flowering trees and other flowers in full bloom. (Fukushima Prefecture Tourism & Local Products Association) Information of Hanamiyama in English

The park is closed this year because of curing period of flowering trees, but as usual, you can walk on the trails from which you see the park and surrounding fields for flowering trees.

Hanami-yama4 Hanami-yama3

There are many volunteer guides. They always answer you politely.

It isn’t just a tourist spot but a village where farmers growing flowers live.

It was Mr. Shotaro Akiyam, a late photographer, who made the park famous. He said, “I found a Shangri-la in Japan” and visited there every year. In April, trees including cherry blossoms broke into blossom: plums, forsythias, cherries, magnolias, Japanese cornels, peaches, field mustards, and so on are in bloom one after another.



Hanami-yama8 Hanami-yama9
A few-minute climb from the trail then brings you out at a cafe with a view where you can relax.

Until 2 years ago, hundreds of thousands of people both from Japan and abroad visited there, but Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident discourages visitors from other prefectures from visiting there after 3.11.



No matter what has happened, flowers do come out beautifully. They were beautiful like a dream. The farmers grow flowers as usual, and locals greet visitor as usual. I have sincerely found worthwhile to visit it.

Posted by Kinakinw | 23:55 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

15 2012

Report on Progress


It’s been about 40 days since I broke my wrist, and I’m recovering steadily.

I can raise my left pals upward!
I can hold a 500-milliliter bottle though I cannot open it.
I can screw water out of a wet towel though it’s not enough.

I still cannot put some muscle and twist left hand. It hurts when I do this because the joint is distorted in shape.

I’ve been undergoing rehab!

Posted by Kinakinw | 23:50 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Tokyo Life

10 2012

The Day Riddled with Mistakes

Cezanne and Matisse1

It was a beautiful spring day, and I decided to get a day off.

I headed to the National Art Center in Roppongi this afternoon because I had a ticket for an ongoing exhibition of an art group (the works sought from a member). Additionally I looked at the web this morning and came to know an exhibition of Cezanne is also held at it. I really loved to watch his works. His atelier is revived in a corner of the hall! I thought it was the right place to go to.

Before visiting the museum, I had lunch in Roppongi. Soon after the lunch ended, I noticed I forgot the ticket back at home.

Well, even if I couldn’t watch the group exhibition, I felt worthy enough to go there just for the Cezanne. However, I fount the museum was closed at the entrance - it’s closed on Tuesday. Oh my goodness. I did look at the museum’s HP, but I didn’t check that.

Frustrating thing was people who have a special invitation for the Sezanne could get in.

Cezanne and Matisse2
The security guards sorted out “a special person” from common people.

The sign at the entrance says that starting with "The Red Room (Matisse)", the 89 masterpieces from State Hermitage Museum’s collection will be exhibited from April 25, so I come back the end of this month for both Cezanne and Matisse.

This wasn't how it was supposed to be.

Posted by Kinakinw | 23:50 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Tokyo Life

08 2012

Cherry Trees in Full Bloom in Tokyo

Cherry Trees in Tokyo1

Sunny Sunday afternoon I visited my friend who lives beside the Meguro River that’s famous for long row of cherry blossom trees. The cherry blossoms are just at their peak.

On the way to the house, I saw many people hanged out along the river, and that made me feel excited.


Cherry Trees in Tokyo2

Posted by Kinakinw | 23:45 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Tokyo Life

05 2012

The Fun Continued

Though World Figure Skating Championships ended, there is an event I've been waiting for: ISU World Team Trophy 2012 (19 - 22 Apr, in Tokyo, Japan) that is a figure skating team competition by selected skaters from the six countries with the best results during the season. This year’s participating countries are (in descending order of finish) Japan, Canada, Russia, USA, Italy, and France. It’s a friendly match rather than a serious one where skaters enjoy each other's company and cheer for own teammates - it’s included among Olympic events in Sochi, though.

I got the tickets for 2 days with the aim of men's singles and ice dancing though the participants were unsure. As for men’s singles, I want to watch Daisuke Takahashi, Brian Joubert, and Jeremy Abbott.

And more than anything, I'm looking forward to, an American ice dance team, Meryl Davis & Charlie White, that was the world champion of ice dancing in 2011 and got silver medal in the last World. The couple is undoubtedly the best in the world and my motive to watch ice dancing!

Figure skating fantastically penetrates to the inner heart of audience when well-cultivated skills through years of strenuous efforts and fine expressivities meet. That’s why I’ve kept watching it no matter how many times I had been disappointed in inexplicable scores.

This couple is one of such skaters who can move people's hearts.

Their masterpiece, Die Fledermaus (The Bat) by Johann Strauss II in World 2012

Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!
Even though I've seen it again and again I still become moved to excitement.

While the member of USA team hasn’t been announced yet. I do yearn for their participation in the event.

Posted by Kinakinw | 22:06 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Figure Skating

01 2012

News from Cote d'Azur


The 2012 World Figure Skating Championships in Nice came to an end except for the gala tonight. Of course, I’m living according to France Time in recent days. :D

Here are the events that have left a strong impression on me.

Thrills and Pleasures 興奮と喜び
・The grandstand finish of the men’s free skating
Yuzuru Hanyub who grabbed the bronze medal did the great, great performance with youth and enthusiasm. Daisuke Takahashi’s breathtaking skate struck a nerve with the audience. The other joy was that the 27-year-old Brian Joubert showed us his clean Matrix and occupied a position of 4th! I hope he’s fully stood ready to respond to the scoring system.

・Our first medal in a senior pairs competition of the World
Narumi Takahashi / Mervin Tran in third place made the history which was worth publishing extra editions. Sitting in front of the computer alone at dawn, I got excited over their wining. I was one of happy ones who watched their FS and reactions in kiss & cry live. Narumi who exploded in joy and hopped around surly impressed figure skating fans in the world just as their performance did.

Heartbreaks 傷心
・The tragedy of the Satos
Did someone voodoo skaters work with Nobuo and Yuka Sato?
Mr. Sato’s pupiles, Takahiko Kozuka and Mao Asada, couldn’t show their abilities.
Daughter Yuka’s pupiles, Jeremy Abbott and Adam Rippon who ended up 8th and 13th, respectively, couldn’t respond to the expectations of American fans wishing three places at the next World that determines a spot in Sochi Olympics.
I can’t think of what to say to Alissa Czisny. She missed almost all jumps throughout SP and FS and ended up 22nd.

・The tragedy of Russian Men
The SP of pairs in which all three Russian males fell was the prelude, but that wasn’t really matter. Russian pairs finally kept three places. In men’s single, however, the team lost one place out of two because Sergei Voronov and Artur Gachinski ended up 17th and 18th. Who could expect that? Again, the next World determines a spot in Sochi Olympics, and it will be held in enemy territory, Canada. Oh, no….

Well, the battles are over.
I’m going to open a bottle of wine and watch the gala with the afterglow of the competitions!

Mao, I give you a boost through hard times and good times.

Posted by Kinakinw | 17:35 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Figure Skating

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