Tokyo Notebook

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

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01 2013

Mougins and Grasse



The village has been famous for “gastronomic village” in the wake of that the famous shef, Roger Vergé, founded his restaurant in 1969, which was only seven restaurants in it at the time. Now, there are more than fifty restaurants in this small village. Originally, it was already an important strategic point in Roman times, due to its proximity to the Aurelia road, and then, it became one of the richest centers in the region in the 19th century.

In general, to the village by public transportation, one has to take a walk for 15 to 20 minutes from “Val de Mougins (in outside of village)”, a stop of bus No. 600 running between Cannes and Grass. It was convenient because the bus comes every 20 minutes, but the subsequent walk, especially under the burning sun in this season, would threaten the survival of us. So, I looked for a way to get the village using other bus, and found it!
一般的に、公共交通機関でこの村に行く場合、カンヌ、グラース間を走る600番バスを使い、村外れにあるバス停“Val de Mougins”で降り、村まで15~20分歩きます。このバスは20分おきに出ているのでとても便利なのですが、降りてからの徒歩が問題です。特にこの時期炎天下を20分も歩くのは、私たちにとって命とりです(笑)。で、村まで行くバスはないのかと思い探したところ、ありました!

It’s Sillages, a zone-based bus service in Mougins and Grasse region. The Sillages bus No. 26 and 27 run between “Val de Mougins” and “Mougins Village (at the entrance of village)” on weekdays though the operation is less frequent.
ムージャンとグラース周辺地域限定のSillagesというバスサービスがあるのです。平日のみで本数も少ないですが、Sillages の26番と27番が、“Val de Mougins”と村の入口にあるバス停“Mougins Village”間を走っています。

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From Nice, you can go to Cannes first then take the bus No. 600 and change buses, but I took an alternative route: taking a train from Nice to Mousan-Sartoux SNCF station, which is next to the last station of Grasse, and then taking the bus No. 26 at 11:25 to the village. Using this route, you have a lay-over for about 40 minutes in Mousan-Sartoux, but don’t worry. The Mousan-Sartoux village is within a 2-minute walk, so you can stroll around it. We had coffee at a café in the village. The No. 26 bus swings by “Parc d’activites de Saint Martin” after leaving “Les Braquieres” on the way to “Mougins Village”.
まず、ニースからグラース行きの電車に乗りMousan-Sartouxというグラースの一つ手前の駅に行きます(カンヌを出るとグラースまでは各駅)。そこで、Mousan-Sartoux駅前発Sillagesの 26番に乗ります(私達は11:25のに乗りました)。どうしても駅で待ち合わせ時間が出来てしまいますが(私達は40分ほどありました)、ご心配なく。Mousan-Sartouxの市街地は駅から徒歩2分。散歩していればあっという間です。私達は街のカフェでお茶を飲んでいました。26番バスは、“Les Braquieres”というバス停を過ぎると一度“Parc d’activites de Saint Martin”に行き、そこから引き返して来てムージャン方面に改めて向かいます。


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There were two buses including No. 26, so I asked the driver which would go to Mousins.
Time tables and routes for Sillages

We met an English lady living in the village in the bus. She talked to me and asked if we came from Japan when we got off it at “Mougins Village”. She said that her son used to live in Japan and has loved our cultures. His girlfriend is Japanese, and she is going to meet her in autumn for the first time.
バスで一緒だったイギリス女性はムージャンに住んでいるそうです。“Mougins Village”で一緒に降りた時、「日本から来たの?」と話しかけられました。彼女の息子さんは、日本に滞在経験があり、日本の文化が大好きなのだそうです。彼のガールフレンドが日本人で、この秋に初めて会うのだそうです。微妙なニュアンスなのですが、彼女は息子さんが日本に夢中になっているのを、「やれやれ」と呆れている感じでした。差別的というのではありません。わが息子が、何か母親が知らない世界の事物にどっぷりはまっている、という状況を考えると、世のお母様方は彼女の気持が良くわかるのではないでしょうか。

It’s one of my back shots with the lady. It took about 1 minute from the bus stop to the center of village.

I asked her recommendation for a place to have lunch, and she told me two options: (1) L'Amandier, a fine restaurant with a lovely view from terrace tables (you can see the view of the opening photo from it) and (2) Le Restau des Arts, a relatively reasonable restaurant many locals visit.
彼女にお勧めのレストランを尋ねてみたところ、2件紹介してもらいました。一つは、村の入口にある高級レストラン、L'Amandier。テラスからの眺めが最高だそうです。恐らく、冒頭の写真のような景色が目の前に広がるのだと思います。もう一軒が、地元の人々もよく利用するというLe Restau des Arts。比較的リーゾナブルな価格。


Le Restau des Arts

This time, we preferred a restaurant locals use daily, so we chose Le Restau des Arts that was a perfect place to have casual lunch.



It had a different name, but it was chicken curry. The taste was familiar to me. In Japan, japanized curry and rice is one of Japan's most popular dishes.

After lunch, we strolled around the village with narrow streets that seem to roll up like a snail’s shell.




Many artists including Picasso, Cocteau, Léger, Man Ray, and Yves Klein and celebrities including Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Winston Churchill, Catherine Deneuve, and Édith Piaf lived there. It’s famous that Picasso spent the last 12 years of his life (1961–1973), where he died.

We took a bus No. 27 at 14:45 to “Val de Mougins” and changed buses to Grasse.
帰りは27番のバス(14:45のに乗りました)で“Val de Mougins”まで行き、600番のバスに乗り換えグラースに向かいました。




The name of the town reminds me of a novel, Perfume, I read back in the day. It was not until I read the book that I knew about the town.

As we all know, Grasse is a capital of perfume. The town, the largest one in the nearby area, has had a prospering perfume industry since the end of the 18th century, and some major perfumeries are still based in it. Especially for tourist facilities, Fragonard wildly opens door to tourists. There are several museums operated by the perfumery including free ones.


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“Fragonard streets” where its museums and shops (clothes, interior goods, accessories, and so on)

We went to three Fragonard museums for free: Villa-Musee Fragonard, Musee Provencal du Costume et Bijou (it was definitely worth seeing), and L’Usine Historique. The last one features a shop that sells their products at ex-plant prices. I was surprised that many visitors made a large purchase. In Japan, perfume including eau de toilette and eau de cologne doesn’t reach masses as compared to Western countries. Some people daily wear them, but most of them use ones by cosmetics makers and Fashion brands, not by a perfumery. Except few fragrance connoisseurs, most Japanese (including me who have stuck with Guerline from my twenties) don’t know about products of long-established perfumeries such as Fragonard, Molinard, and Galimard.


Posted by Kinakinw | 18:32 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

29 2013

Tende where Tendasques live


We took a train of Linea del Tenda (Ligne de Tende in French) from Ventimiglia and visited a village of Tende near Tende Pass.

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After a while, the train went deep into the mountain valley. The next station of Tende was in Italy. The train threaded the border. There was a branch line to Nice, and we took it on the way back.


Tende with a population of 2,025 (2008) was a fortified town guarding an important pass into the Piemonte. When Nice was a part of Italy, the route passing the pass was used for transporting goods from Mediterranean region. Especially it was called “Salt Road”.


We picked up a map of the village at the tourist information center and headed to the Musee de Merveilles next to the office where we could see archeological and ethnological exhibitions around the area for free. People have lived there from prehistoric times, and there has been a long history of the cattle breeding.
観光案内所で村の地図をもらい、隣のMusee de Merveillesへ。この地域の考古学、民俗学的資料を展示する博物館で、無料で入館できます(日本語のリーフレットもありました)。この辺りには先史時代から人が住み、牧畜の歴史も長い。



After leaving the museum, we walked down the main street toward the village on the flank of the mountain.



On the way, an old lady walking a little in front of us seemed to shoot glances at us. I thought she felt uncomfortable with people walking behind her, so we passed her. However, after a minute, I found she was in front of us again. When I found a fountain and stopped at it, she talked softly to me in French: “take a picture of this fountain, and there are two more in the plaza, so go to see them, too.” I understood that she wanted to talk to us who came to her village all the way from somewhere in Asia.


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Following her advice, we crossed the main street and rambled along the plaza for a while.

It’s a lovely little Italian-style medieval village. I liked this place the most throughout the trip.

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My friend took many my back shots during the trip. This is one of them.




On the way bake to the station, I dragged in a bar by the monsieur in the right in the picture. Apparently, he suggested taking a picture of them…. The madam of the bar who was in astonishment said, “he is drunk, but don’t worry, he is a nice local.”

I’m strangely aware of that the monsieur in blue T-shirt reminds me of my deceased father.

I examined the history of the village and found that it coped with difficult times. From 1861 to 1947 it was part of Italy and the last commune to join the French Republic in 1947. The people identify oneself as Tendasques, not French.

When I stayed there, just for few hours, I felt extremely welcome.

The village and railway line with view are on a major guidebook, and some Japanese visit it (actually, a Japanese couple in the train on the way from Ventimiglia got off it with us). I strongly recommend that you spend one day visiting the village including the other ones along the line, such as Sospel and Saorge if you stay in Nice for several days. I definitely stay there next time.


Posted by Kinakinw | 23:26 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

24 2013

Ventimiglia / Vintimille

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“Why don’t we go to Italy for lunch?”
With that word, we visited this Italian town (Ventimiglia in Italian and Vintimille in French) that was just off the border. This is a border station, a final destination of both Trenitalia from the direction of Genova and SNCF from the direction of Nice.

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That was my second visit of the station. Many years ago, I changed a train there on the way to Nice from Roma. After a long train ride, I set foot at the station late at night and wondered if I would come back there someday in the future. Then, the answer was Yes.

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I heard that at the time of the Arab Spring, few years ago, many people who escaped from the former French possessions in North Africa to France stayed in the town because they weren’t allowed to enter the country. But, it seemed not to be what the town used to be.

There was a midmorning market for locals between the station and seaside, which carried a variety of items. The items were fresh and in good condition, and I saw the prices low: tomato per 1 kg was about 2 euros and mackerel per 1 kg was 5 euros.

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This is one of my simple beliefs. If a town has a good market for locals, it’s a nice place to live. Especially, if its fish merchants and butchers treat items cleanly, that place is deserving of living. Seen in that light, Ventimiglia was worth enough to stay for a lengthy period. Someday, I want to rent a studio there and use it as a base for French and Italian Riviera sightseeing.

Ventimiglia _Vintimille9 Ventimiglia _Vintimille10

We planned to visit an inland village in the afternoon, so we didn’t have time to walking around the old town and seaside. We just had lunch a café near the market and left the town.

Too see the electric cables, I felt that I was in Italy.

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By the way, there was a happening of a sort on the way to Ventimiglia from Nice. The door leading to the operator's seat of the train suddenly opened, and then, I was absolutely amazed at the young operator who took responsibility for the train. In Japan, an operator always wears a uniform and work diligently, and we can see that from a glass window. But, the boy who wearing shorts and a T-shirt stood up and came to shut the door at the next station seemed to be a collage boy spending his summer vacation. I imagined if he were asked by his father (a real operator who caught a cold) to operate that train in place of the father and told that he didn’t have to worry about to be lose his way.

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

22 2013

Monaco, the Town of Set Decoration


No one can tell all about a town only with few hours of stay. But, if you have traveled from place to place for many years, sometimes, you might feel if you get along well with a town or not at once. I knew by that intuition I had little reasons to like the small country of 2,020,000 square meters.

Firstly, the country gave me a cooped-up feeling. The relatively-new tall buildings were concentrated, and the streets were all narrow. High-rise luxury apartments were being built here and there. The apartments were built on the roads, I mean, on a tunnel roofs (those apartments might be cheaper than the others). Additionally, the port was jammed with boats.

Secondly, things demonstrating Monaco-style gorgeous cast a chill over me. For example, I found it pathetic and sad that the scene of fancy cars in front of Casino, tourists cluster around the cars, and the nasty-nice door men of Casino looking the people dryly.


“Gorgeous” was stereotypical and bling-bling style of incomers. It seemed to me that some people swarming around Monaco are more likely to embody typical celebrity-like life to flash around than those who living the other high status housing villages. For them, visitors looking on them with envy are another important merit to live there in addition to a tax break. So, “Gorgeous” must be easy-to-follow: common luxury cars, brands, social lives, and social eminences.

Actually, I expected that “gorgeous” and thought I could enjoy the absurdity of it. However, in reality, I couldn’t do that by the thought of that Monaco that was on the threshold of bankruptcy has been increasingly prosperous by both sides of people.

Anyway, we came back to Monaco from Roquebrune only to go to the open-air summer concert at the main courtyard of the Palace by Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo. Though the palace was compact and looked like a museum or college library, the concert was pretty nice. I enjoyed not only music but also observing people.


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Getting disappointed with the town, I didn’t take many pictures. Sorry for the all out of focus ones.

I was planning to catch a No. 100’s night bus for the return trip. The staff at the tourist office we stopped by in the morning said it was available on Sunday, but it wasn’t. We were told that from a driver of Monaco bus when we waiting at the bus stop. He suggested us to get a train, but I knew it was already late for the last one. We couldn’t be helped so, after having drinks at a café in front of the bus stop, we asked a waiter to call a taxi.

Bad luck often brings good luck.
Fortunately for us, the good quality female taxi driver saved our night. She drove her car, in which classical music was played, in a gentle manner, and we enjoyed night views along the cost in nice and cozy space on the way our hotel.

Posted by Kinakinw | 22:48 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

20 2013

Getting Roquebrune-Cap-Martin from Monaco


There are many fascinating towns and villages in Cote d'Azur, so one might be unable to make a quick decision about where to go within a limited amount of time.

This time I chose untouristy Roquebrune in preference to Eze that abounds in visitors. In common with Eze, Roquebrune is so-called a village of eagle's (vulture's) nest located in a steep hill facing the sea. However, it doesn’t have better access by public transportation compared to the other one. There are three ways: 1. Climbing a long steep hill for more than 30 half-hour from Cap-Martin-Roquebrune Station (SNCF), 2. Using a bus No. 100 (you can cut in at the middle of the hill), 3. Taking a Zest Bus (Menton city bus) No.21 that takes you to the village on the hill top.
今回は、人で溢れかえるエズをパスして、のどかなロクブリュヌ・カップ・マルタンに行きました。エズと同様、ロクブリュヌは海沿いの丘(というか山)の上に位置する鷹巣(鷲巣)村です。でもエズより公共交通機関でのアクセスが悪い。主な行き方は3通り。(1)海っぺりにあるフランス国鉄のCap-Martin-Roquebrune駅から延々30分以上山を登る。(2)ニースとマントンを結ぶ100番のバスで途中下車し、坂道を多少ショートカットして登る。(3) 山の頂上の村まで、Zest(マントン市バス)21番に乗って行く。

I took the Menton city bus, not from Menton, but from Monaco. The bus No. 21 (former 113) runs between Menton- Gare Routiere and Monaco- Place de la Cremaillere. Place de la Cremaillere, a starting station from Monaco was just beside of “Cremaillere” Station of Monaco bus. We could easily find the place by walking up stairs in front of the tourist office near Casino. However at first, we couldn’t find out where the bus stop was because there was no bus stop sign, and that run us ragged for a while.
Zestの21番(以前の113番)は、マントンのGare RoutiereからモナコのPlace de la Cremaillereを往復しているコミュニティバスのような小型バスです。終点であり、モナコからの始発でもある停留所Place de la Cremaillereは、モナコバスの“Cremaillere”というバス停のすぐ脇にあります。カジノ近くの観光案内所正面の階段を上がってすぐのところです。ところが、“Cremaillere”のバス停はすぐに見つかったものの、21番のバス停が見当たえらず、しばらく右往左往してしまいました。道行く人に聞いても誰も21番バスを知りません。でも、私達がいる場所は確かにCremaillere広場。???


There wasn’t the bus stop sign. Instead, there was a little parking space beside the station of Monaco’s bus, and the bus No. 21 parked there when reaching from Menton. From next bus stop, there were signs. Some bus stops and a bus route map still said No. 113, but don’t worry. It means bus No. 21.
Time Tables for Zest Bus (Menton city bus)

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We paid 1.5 euros for each to the driver, and the bus took us to the village situated on the hill. It went out from Monaco only after few stops and then run on a tranquil road.

Don’t even try to ask about bus No. 21 at the tourist office. They know nothing about the one run by Menton city. I can bet that they just repeat “take the bus No. 100”. For that matter, you shouldn't place much reliance on what they say about bus schedule except Monaco bus.

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Getting off the bus at Le Lavoir in front of the village square (you can see it in the photo), we headed to Hotel Les Deux Freres where I reserved a table for lunch. The village festival would be held on the next day, so there were many locals preparing for it (maybe, it was lunch time).
村の広場前、Le Lavoirというバス停(写真に小さく写っています。城跡に行くのも最寄り)で降り、ランチの予約をしたHotel Les Deux Freresに向かいます。私たちが訪れた日の翌日に村祭り(大勢の村人がキリストの受難劇を演じながら村を練り歩く)があり、広場には準備のため人が集まっていました。ちょうどランチタイムかな。

The Restaurant at Hotel Les Deux Freres


What a view!


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If you go to the restaurant, it’s better to reserve a table, especially on the weekend.

Château de Roquebrune-Cap-Martin


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Château is located at the top of the village, and you can’t miss it. From a square next to the restaurant, we could see it.

As people who visited there say, you can get sensational views including the opening photo’s one from the chateau.




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Going back to Monaco

Leaving the chateau, we went through the village into the bus No. 100’s route. Don’t forget to get a map of the village at a ticket counter of the chateau.


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The first wide street wasn’t that route, so we continued to go down along a pathway.



The second wide street was the bus route, and we found the bus stop near a gas station and went back to Monaco.

Posted by Kinakinw | 20:20 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

18 2013



The beautiful resort town, Villefranche-sur-Mer, located in about 6 kilometers east of Nice is within a short bus ride from Nice. Taking a bus 100 or 81 from Segurane and getting off it at Octori, it’s a gateway to the village. The bus station is in front of an upland park where a tourist information office stands. Get a map of village at the office and go for a stroll!


The bus from Nice runs along the picturesque route. Since we took a bus 81 without an indication and announcement of bus stops, I couldn’t take a picture on the way due to paying attention to our actual location. The photo was taken on the way back.

The village that had multiple aspects was interesting. Basically, it seemed to be a peaceful port village. There was a calm sand beach which was rare for the area and appealed to families. The old town was nicely small, and the village had the common touch. There weren’t many hotels.

The general store near the bus stop where we bought bottles of mineral water just looked like one in a small seaside village in Japan.





However, there were many nice restaurants and café near the port and also in the old town, which seemed too many for visitors. There were many souvenir shops, too.




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Now I know this is because that the deep-water port is one of main anchorage sites of cruise ship3 in Mediterranean region. From 1948 to 1966, it was the home port of US Sixth Fleet. Well, I remember I saw many excursion ships at the port, so maybe, there are more day-trippers from the sea including private boats and yachts.

Cocteau Chapel コクトーの礼拝堂


My main purpose of the visiting was the chapel with murals painted by Jean Cocteau. The chapel was originally built in the 14th Century, but then it was used as a store for fishermen’s nets for many years until Cocteau decided to paint murals in 1957. He stayed at the Welcome Hotel in front of the chapel during his work.
ここを訪れた目的は、コクトーが壁画を手掛けた礼拝堂です。この礼拝堂は元々14世紀に作られたのですが、その後1957年にコクトーが壁画を描くまで、漁網の倉庫になっていたということです。コクトーは壁画制作中、この礼拝堂の向かいのWelcome Hotelに宿泊していたそうです。

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I've always dreamed of going to Cocteau Chapel, but to tell the truth, it was the one in Fréjus which was his last work. When I visit Cote d'Azur again, I’ll certainly go to see it.

We took a breather over cold beer.

I heard that many repeaters choose this village for staying instead of crowded Nice. Given the attractiveness of the village, I think it’s a good idea.

At last, here is real estate information.
A 110 -square-meter apartment with a view of the ocean on the hill in Villefranche costs 600,000 euros. That is almost double the price comparing with the one in upmarket seaside resort in Japan.

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17 2013

Bon Jour, Cote d'Azur


Visiting Cote d'Azur was latter half of our trip to the south of France follow upon the last year’s one to Provence. We wanted to visit Mediterranean region last year but abandoned that because we didn’t have enough time.

We got to Nice with one of European famous LCCs, EasyJet, from Berlin.

It was my second visit to Nice. In my mid-twenties, I took a train trip around Italy and Spain for a month with my friend using Eurail Youth Pass. We just spent couple of nights (at a hotel front of Nice Ville) in the staging post for going a coin-operated laundry and getting rest since I wasn’t interested in this expensive resort area.

At initial visit, Nice didn’t leave much positive impression. I thought Promenade des Anglais imitating southern islands, the stony beach, theatrical hotels, and restaurants for tourists were out-of-date even at that time. I had no idea why many people yearned for the resort. So, this time, I chose the city as a convenient base camp for sightseeing surrounding villages and was hardly looking for the city per se.

I regretted that I didn’t visit the old part of Nice in the first visit. If I had visited there, I would be bake earlier!

The old part of Nice 旧市街


Come to think of it, Nice is old and historical city locals live for generations. Promenade des Anglais and its surroundings are just little parts of it.


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The old town was also a tourist spot, but in the area I felt energy of the city and lives of the people.




Parc de la Colline du Chateau ニース城址公園


The Castle Hill where not much is left of the Chateau itself is now a recreation area and an elevated spot with sweeping views of Nice. You can walk to the top of the hill, but there is a free elevator.

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Spring water came out there, and it was a little bit cooler than in the level ground.

If you want to take a photo, I recommend you to go there not later than early afternoon. We got there in the evening, so I had to take a picture against the sun. Anyway, we could see the incredible views of Nice!


Hotel Helvetique ホテル エルブティーク

After visiting Germany where I had little to complain about people in hospitality industry, I got rough deals here from the minute I arrived Nice. First thing was a toilet attendant in a lackadaisical attitude at the airport who ignored people waiting in line and splashed water on the floor. Though there were many toilet rolls in storage, she left the empty holders. Then, a taxi driver took the long way using a highway. Damn, damn, damn! Since I was in the country of the honest up until few hours ago, I forgot to direct the route. When one uses taxi abroad as a tourist, it frequently happens, but in recent years, at many airports in US, taxi fares are set by destinations. I strongly want Nice airport to MODERNIZE its demode taxi system (I e-mailed about that to the airport).

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All told, I felt relieved when I welcomed by friendly staff at the hotel. Completely different from Westin Berlin, I chose the economy hotel that had the good access to transportation. Though it had drawbacks to water supply systems that are common to this kind of hotels, front desk clerks were kind and worked smart (French, Italian, and English are available). It was a pleasant stay, at least, without psychological stresses.

Hello again, Promenade des Anglais プロムナード・デ・ザングレ


We stopped by this area for a while on the previous day of departure. If I had taken a walk along the street early in the morning, I would have enjoyed the spot a little bit.

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15 2013

Concert at Berliner Dom

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To be honest, I wanted to go to a classical concert like Berlin Philharmonic that was in the off-season at that time. I couldn’t find any notable one during our stay, so I had an eye on a pipe organ concert held at Berlin Cathedral near the hotel though I wasn’t one for pipe organ music (I went to a pipe organ concert in my childhood and was bored to death).

I didn’t buy tickets on line in advance in consideration for the case something would prevent us from going to it. Instead, we stopped by the cathedral during daytime of the concert day and got them at the ticket counter (I think the tickets can hardly be all sold out). Well, considering an entrance fee was 5 euros, the ticket price, 10 euros was tolerable.

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All seats were unreserved, so we followed presumed local repeaters and grabbed chairs in opposite end of the organ. For me, time that elapses before the concert was the main event for enjoying the atmosphere of the cathedral in a sense.

I realized that no matter how the venue was traditional, the organ was valuable, and the player was great, I just couldn’t fond of that sound. After listening it for 40 minutes, we applauded two times for the second time and left the cathedral inconspicuously.

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When we waited for a bus on the way back, there was the sound of a roar from the roof of a building across the street.

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Posted by Kinakinw | 12:31 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

13 2013

This or That in Burning Berlin Vol. 2


Though River Spree might be less symbolic for the city than the Thames for London and la Seine for Paris, the riverside seemed to be scenic not far behind from them. Unfortunately, I found that a course between the city center and Schloss Charlottenburg down the River Spree, which runs roughly east to west across the city, was available only after arriving in Berlin. If time permitted, we could take it at least one way and visit the palace.

Walking in Former West Berlin 旧西ベルリン散歩

Brandenburg Gate ブランデンブルク門



Brandenburg Gate that once divided west from east was located within walking distance of our hotel that was in former East Berlin.


Tasting German Cuisine ドイツ料理に挑戦


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I think I ordered typical foods: cooked pork, a potato ball, and sauerkraut. They were ok, but ….

Trying Again and Bingo! 二度目の挑戦で当たり!


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We finally found Weisswurst (white sausages) at a restaurant in Sony Center. It tasted great.


Moment of Reflection 黙祷


Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas

The Bauhaus Archive バウハウス資料館



Bauhaus (1919-1933) was the school of architecture, design, and art founded in Weimar (then, moved to Dessau in 1925). I have recognized the school and its movements as being the greatest contributor to development of industrial methods of modernism. I felt attracted to the idea of Bauhaus as a teenager. It’s maybe pompous way of saying, but by grace of it, I, a common person, could get a wassily chair designed by Marcel Lajos Breuer who was a master in the school (keep this a secret. I don’t usually use it because it’s hard to sit on it long).

I didn’t know that the school had some connection to Berlin, but it was in the city for a year before it was closed.


The Bauhaus Archive was relatively small, but detailed voice guidance was available for free, so we spent nearly two hours there.


Posted by Kinakinw | 20:15 | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | Travel & Hot Spring

11 2013

This or That in Burning Berlin Vol. 1


The visiting Berlin wasn’t my choice. I mean, a conference I attend annually was held in the German city this year. So, until I opened a guidebook, I had very limited knowledge of the city: the dismembered city, the enclave of West Germany, Berlin Wall and so on.

Much the same was true on summer temperatures in Berlin. I expected it should be cool in the city that was located on the same latitude as Wakkanai (a city in the northern part of Japan), but actually, it was very, very hot though it was low humidity. The sun was so strong, and the feels like temperature was more than 35 (95 degrees F) in a sunny place.

Putting that aside, I liked the city that stays organized. Curious to say, I could learn my way around town easily in Berlin: U-Bahn, S-Bahn and the bus routes are reasonable. Additionally, it was helpful that many people were honest and steady and speak English.

I made use of the free time and did sightseeing.

Lodging 宿泊


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Westin Grand was just a little way from the venue and conveniently situated for tourists. Though a station of U-Bahn was also in front of the hotel, we mainly take buses running throughout the city. Because of the strong Euro, we avoided over-priced coffee at the hotel and made use of a kiosk at the station as a take-out coffee shop (:D).


The City, Under Construction どこもかしこも工事中


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U-Bahn and buildings…. After 23 years from German reunification, all I saw in Berlin were still under constructions.

Walking in Former East Berlin 旧東ベルリン散歩

Berlin Wall ベルリンの壁


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We visited the East Side Gallery, an international memorial for freedom. The point where I realized the true nature of the wall wasn’t there. It was the abandoned walls on the way to the airport on the day of our departure, but I couldn’t take a picture. In contrast to this sightseeing spot, even now I could observe the differences in streetscape across the decayed walls.

Hackesher Markt ハッケシャー・マルクト駅


Feeling thirsty, we burst into a café under the elevated of Hackesher Markt station. I enjoyed first German beer listening to the lady singing.



Urban Redevelopment Project 再開発プロジェクト


We took a walk around Mitte area from Hackesher Markt station. The apartment buildings connected by courtyards and corridors in former East Berlin were used as a shopping town. A lot of budding designers set shops on the first floors of the buildings. While the products might not be highbrow fashion, the place was enjoyable to walking through.

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

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