Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bamboo Lantern Festival - ONE

Bamboo Lantern Festival 竹燈籠祭り
The 7th Bamboo Lantern Festival will be held on Oct 11 and 12, between 5pm and 9pm in Murakami. Lighting 5000 lanterns made of bamboo in the castle town with traditional Japanese instrumental music.

About Murakami
A laid-back castle town of salmon and hot spring delights Senami Onsen:This century-old onsen, which boasts an abundant source of hot spring water and high temperatures, is captivating for the views of the sunset as it dips into the Sea of Japan and for the delicacies caught from that very same body of water.Famous Products of Murakami are (green) tea (Murakami is the northernmost tea-growing spot in Japan), salmon, and Murakami beef.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Windy Tree

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Dorayaki (どら焼き, どらやき, 銅鑼焼き, ドラ焼き, Dorayaki?) is a type of Japanese confection which consists of two small pancake-like patties made from kasutera wrapped around a filling of sweet red bean paste.

It originally only had one layer, and the current shape was invented in 1914 by the Ueno Usagiya.

In Japanese, dora means "gong", and this is probably the origin of the name of the sweet.

The famous Japanese anime cat robot character Doraemon likes to eat dorayaki very much. This is a kind of punning, though his name comes not from "dorayaki" but from the word "doraneko" (stray cat.) The dorayaki was a plot device several times throughout the series. In Japan, a company sells a limited version of dorayaki called Doraemon Dorayaki every year from March to September.

Want to know how to make Dorayaki? Click here for the recipe

(source: Wikipedia)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Town Area

Friday, October 24, 2008


Yakiniku (焼き肉 or 焼肉), meaning "grilled meat", is a Japanese term which, in its broadest sense, refers to grilled meat dishes.

Today, it commonly refers to a Japanese style of cooking bite-sized meat (usually beef and offal) and vegetables on gridirons or griddles over flame of wood charcoals carbonized by dry distillation (sumibi, 炭火) or gas/electric grill. In North America, China and Taiwan, Yakiniku is also referred to as either "Japanese barbecue" or "Korean barbecue" [1][2] due to its Korean origins.

It is thought to have originated from horumonyaki, a dish of grilled offal, invented by Korean immigrants in the Kansai area after the Second World War.[3]

In a yakiniku restaurant, diners order several types of prepared raw ingredients (either individually or as a set) which are brought to the table. The ingredients are cooked by the diners on a grill built into the table throughout the duration of the meal, several pieces at a time. The ingredients are then dipped in sauces known as tare before being eaten. The most common sauce is made of Japanese soy sauce mixed with sake, mirin, sugar, garlic and sesame. Garlic-and-shallot or miso-based dips are sometimes used, and sometimes yakiniku is eaten seasoned only with salt. Soup, kimchi, nameul, bibimbap and other Korean-influenced dishes are often served alongside.

(full article from Wikipedia)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Japanese Tree Frog

The Japanese tree frog (Hyla japonica) is a species of tree frog belonging to the genus Hyla. The species is distributed from Hokkaidō to Yakushima in Japan and from Korea along the Ussuri River to northeastern China.

(source: Wikipedia)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Japanese Rice Cake (Mochi)

Mochi (Japanese: ; Chinese: ) is a Japanese and Chinese rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time.

Mochi is similar to the Chinese rice cake nian gao; however, mochi is shaped from cooked glutinous rice right after it is pounded, whereas nian gao is steamed directly to its final form from a batter made of uncooked glutinous rice flour. In the Philippines, it is called palitao in Tagalog and is coated with sesame seeds and grated coconut.

(source: Wikipedia)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Koshihikari (cont'd)

I think I have posted this before. This is a closer look of the famous Koshihikari rice produced in Minami Uonuma. As you can see from the picture, the rice is not in white colour! It is yellowish brown. They claim that it is the best rice in Japan.

Click here to view my other post related to this.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunset @ IUJ

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Smiley Car Garage - Disappointed Smile

My theme for this week is the smiley car garage in Shinsui area, about 20 mins drive from Urasa. I am very amazed at the creativity of the people in this area. As you can see in my next few posts, there are a lot of other smileys.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Naked Man Festival - 3rd March

The Naked Man Festival will be held on March 3rd at Urasa Bishamon-Do in Fukkouji Temple (cultural assets designated by town) and some of you have already registered for this festival. This is the most exciting event in UONUMA and called one of the three unique cultural festivals in Japan.

Do you know its cultural background, its origin and the reason why all men participate in this festival without wearing clothes except for short pants?

Click here to find out more.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Japanese House

This is one of the Japanese house in Urasa. I took this on my way walking to Urasa station from IUJ. The house is surrounded by countryside field.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wine Shop

This is the wine shop in Urasa. It sells both Japanese wine and international wine as well. Read more about Japanese wine history here.

The wine store is one of the few places that stores ice in the winter and uses the ice as air-conditioner in the summer. It is really energy-saving! Isn't it cool?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Japanese Wine

Have you ever tasted Japanese wine? This is a picture of the wine field in Urasa. Niigata is one of the wine producing area in Japan. Read it more here...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Winery Park

This is the view taken from the winery park in Urasa.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Colourful Lines

Guess what this is!

It is actually a series of lines on the hospital floor (Yamato Hospital) guiding to different places in the hospital.

These lines are really helpful for foreigners. Hospital staff can just direct the foreign patients to follow a line in certain colour to go to a particular section in hospital.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I took this picture in front of Yamato Hospital. Anyone knows the name of this small cute caterpillar? Look carefully at its body. It has a beautiful skin pattern. Do you agree with me?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Yamato Hospital

Yamato hospital is the only hospital located in Urasa area. It is about 10 minutes drive from Urasa station. Many of the doctors do not go to the hospital every day of the week. Some serve several different hospitals including hospitals in Tokyo. Therefore, they may not be able to see you on certain days of the week. They usually have a calendar near their desk that shows the days they are available. However, there are some medical students who are practicing there.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Burnable vs Unburnable

This is a typical garbage bin in Japan. All garbage is divided into burnable: food, paper, etc., which is collected two or three times a week; and non-burnable but not 'bulky': plastic, glass, metal, etc., which is collected once a week. If you mix your garbage, then your neighbours might return the bag to your doorstep for you to sort through.

Garbage must be put out before 8:00 a.m. and some neighbours go berserk if you put it out the night before. It’s best to watch what your neighbours do in order to determine how strict your neighbourhood is about putting garbage out the night before. Also look out for special days when bottles, cans, and paper (including newspapers) are collected separately. Don't put anything out on a non-garbage day—leave it to rot in your kitchen rather than put it out on a non-garbage day.

You must put garbage out in special bags you can buy in convenience stores or in a large plastic bin with the lid removed. You must bring in the bin immediately after the garbage has been collected, so, unless you want to spend four hours waiting for the garbage to be removed, use the bags.

(source: MKC Properties)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Musashi Center

This is a shop located opposite Urasa station that sells household needs. You can find things like broom, pail, stationeries, laundry basket, toiletries, cookery, cutlery, anything that you need in a house.

If I remember correctly, they don't sell electric appliances. This is the biggest shop in Urasa that sells such household items. There are about 2-3 similar small shops in the area, but this is the most complete one. Most people go to JUSCO in Muikamachi (Urasa's neighbourhood town).

Opening hours: 9:00 AM. I only remember the opening hours because I once went there early in the morning at about 8.15 AM and it was closed!