I´m a german girl living in the center of Tokyo. I love traveling (especially hiking), taking photos and handcraft.
Every year at the beginning of march the tulip season starts in japan. In Sakura City (Chiba prefecture) you can find a huge field full of different tulips from around the world. In the middle of the field is a beautiful windmill from the Netherlands which has a small museum inside. If you going at the end of march to the fields, you might be lucky to see most of the tulips fully bloomed. But every tulip is different and has different blooming time. I love to walk around the fields and see the big variety of flowers. Also for around 500 Yen you can collect 10 tulips from the fields and bring them back to home. The good thing about tulips is that they come back every year again. For your entertainment you can listen to a school choir or dress up in a typical Netherlands dress with wood shoes. Also you can have lunch at the nearby restaurant and food stands.I visit that place every year because I like the nice atmosphere of the fields in the countryside and it gives me a little feeling of being back to Europe.
Japanese loves their strawberry shortcake. I guess it is the number one cake ever in Japan. You can buy it really everywhere. Also my husband really loves that cake, so I promised to bake one for his birthday. For everybody who like to try out to bake the most popular cake in Japan, I will teach you how to make it!Ingredient list:- 6 eggs- 250 g flour- 250 g sugar- 15 g backing powder- 10 g vanilla sugar- 1 kg strawberries- 400 ml sweet creamFirst we will start with the biscuit base: Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar in a bowl and stir it very well. After it put the flour and the backing powder and stir it till you have a good dough. Put the dough in a cake tin (26 cm).Put it in a preheated oven (180 °C for 40 minutes). After 40 minutes take it out and let it cool down. During the waiting time you can cut the strawberries and whipped up the sweet cream.After the base cooled down cut it horizontal. Put the top part on the side and put the whipped cream on the other half. Also put all full with half cut strawberries. After that put the top part on it and put whipped cream and strawberries on top. When you finished all, it is better to put the cake a little bit in the fridge before eating it.Please enjoy!
Before I came to Japan I didn´t care much about food, just filling my stomach every day with some junk food was totally fine. Since I´m living in Japan, I realized how much the people here love their food and how much time they spend talking about food, recipes and which is the best restaurant. Especially on TV you will find millions of shows where people just try food and of course there are also many cooking shows. In my hometown, the food is usually very heavy and greasy, not really healthy. In Japan the food is often very light and healthy (of course there are exceptions). That is one of the reasons why the people here live way longer than in other countries of the world.As a big fish lover, Japan is really a paradise for me. You can get reasonable and good quality fish at every corner in the city. Also meat got very popular especially around the young generation. But let´s have a look at my favorite Japanese dishes:1. Sashimi/Sushi (刺身/寿司)Always when my husband ask me about what I want to eat, my answer is always Sushi or Sashimi. I really love raw fish! Especially I´m a big fan of salmon sushi and all kind of shells. The very good fish quality even if you are going to a cheap chain restaurant is really great. I really like to try new Sushi or Sashimi variation. There are so many different kinds of fish and shells that I guess I will never make it to try all kinds. 2. Tempura (天麩羅)If you don´t like meat or seafood, tempura might be a good alternative for you. Tempura is made from crust of flour and egg fried in oil. You can use all kind of vegetable and of course fish/meat if you like. The typical tempura set at restaurant is a mix of vegetables (mushroom, pumpkin, aubergine…) and fish like shrimps. I like to order the only vegetable tempura set, which comes often with many different kinds of mushrooms. Often restaurants serve tempura together with soba noodles or on top of a big bowl of rice. The typical source for dipping in the tempura is Tensuyu (a mix of rice wine and soy sauce), also comes with ginger and radish. Some places just offer a small plate of salt for dipping. 3. YubaMy favorite Japanese food is yuba. Yuba is made from tofu skin and can be eaten in many different ways, like in a soup, natural way, fried and so on. The texture and tastes is a little bit like fresh mozzarella cheese, but also like cheese the taste depends on the good quality of the yuba. Nikko is well known for their good yuba restaurants, but you can also find it in other areas of Japan. I ate the most creamy and delicious yuba in a small store in Kimitsu (Chiba). So whenever you find a restaurant who offers yuba as a dish, just give it a try!4. Mochi soup/Ozoni (雑煮)Every year on 1 st January Japanese family usually eat osechi and mochi soup for the first breakfast of the year. I´m a big fan of the mocha soup, which comes with a big piece of mochi in a very simple clear broth and some vegetable. But you should watch out to just make small bites. Every year many people die from eating that soup. Especially older people can have problems to chew the very sticky mochi.5. Tonkatsu (豚カツ)Tonkatsu is the typical japanese pork cutlet, which is usually cut in small strips and served with white cabbage. The taste is very similar to “Wiener Schnitzel”, but there are also some variations with different kind of meat (like more greasy part, or softer meat).6. Tamagodon (卵丼)Tamagodon is one of my favorite dishes for cooking it at home. It is very easy to make. Just put some slices of pork and onion in a frying pan with a spoon of dashi and fry it a little bit. At the end put some scramble eggs and green onions and mix it with the meat. Served with a big bowl of rice, you will have a big good simple dish for the day.7. Oden (おでん)Oden is a typical dish for the winter season in Japan. Oden is a light soup made from soy sauce/dashi and several ingredients such as boiled eggs, daikon and processed fishcakes. You can buy it at every convenience store or just at the supermarket.8. Chicken Teriyaki (鶏の照り焼き)Chicken Teriyaki usually served on a bowl of rice with small chicken pieces with teriyaki sauce. It is also a typical easy food for cooking it at home. 9. Kakifry (かき揚げ)Every autumn it is oyster season in Japan. You can eat oyster raw, boiled or fried. Kakifry (fried oyster) is very typical oyster dish in Japan. I´m not a big fan of raw oyster, but fried one is very delicious and I can eat mountains of it. 10. Yaki DangoThe end of my list will be a typical dessert. You can find Dangos in many different kinds and tastes (Goma dango, Anko dango, Hanami dango..) . But I prefer the grilled one covered with a syrup made from soy sauce, sugar and starch. The best way of trying out most of the dishes from my list is to eat a Teishoku set at a restaurants. A typical meal set includes rice, miso soup, a main dish, a side dish, and pickled vegetables. They variety depends on the restaurant and price. I like to try many different kinds of food, that´s why I prefer to eat those Teishoku sets. How about you? Do you like Teishoku?
Yesterday I´ve visited the Tobu Zoo which is close to the Station „Tobudobutsukoen“ in Saitama. There is also a small waterpark (but only open in summer), a small amusement park and a big place for professional horse riding.I really love that zoo. The size is perfect even for small kids and the areas for each animal are very big and clean. For me it is the best zoo around Tokyo because of the big space for the animals. Also it is never crowded even at the weekend. But the highlight for me, are always to visit the big white tigers, who were born there in 2015. I´ve never seen white tigers before especially not so close. It is really a great experience.There are also some special events like pony ridding, small animal petting (Rabbit, birds, guinea pig). As a big rabbit lover like me, I always use the chance to pet small rabbits there. Also they have some shows with elephants, hippo and sea lion.If you love firefly or just want to have a romantic date you can join the firefly show (only for a few people). The show is inside a small dark building, where you can see millions of fireflies flying around. It is really amazing to see so many fireflies.
It´s getting warmer and warmer in Tokyo. The winter is over soon and the spring is just knocking on the door. That means it is time for the plumtrees to bloom. Every year from the beginning of February the plumtrees in Tokyo start to bloom. The Kameido Tenjinsha Shrine northeast of Tokyo celebrates every year the plum festival. You can find a big variety of plumtrees in many different colors. If the trees are fully bloom you can smell their sweetness everywhere.Also the shrine has a small park with a pond and red japanese style bridges. It is very nice to walk around and enjoy the flowers there. I recommend to go there doing the week. Especially during the plum festival it can get very crowded. At the weekend they will also sell typical festivalfood around the park.
It´s winterseason in Japan! I love winter. I love snow. Living in Tokyo where snow is very rare, gives me a tough time during the cold month. That´s why I like to go to the north to enjoy snow in the mountains. For people who just want to walk in the snow or build a snowman without going to a ski-slope I can absolute recommend to go to Nikko. I´ve been there yesterday for snow hiking. My hiking started at Akanuma where the Senjogahara marshland starts. My goal was the Yudaki waterfall around 7 km away. Usually it takes 2 h but with all the snow it took me 3 h to walk that way.I´ve just walked with my normal hiking shoes but I totally recommend to use snowshoes. You can rent them at Akanuma or Senjogahara. The walk in the snow was really great and I enjoyed it very much. The snow was amazing high (around 80 cm), so it is kind of dangerous but on the normal walkway the snow is not that high so that you can walk easily. You can also book a guided tour with snow shoes through the marshland.After 3 h I arrived at the Yudaki waterfall, which is 70 meters tall. It was amazing big, the biggest one I´ve seen in my life. I was really impressed. On the way back we just used the Bus close to the waterfall to go back to Nikko Station.
Fukui is one of the most unknown prefectures in Japan. Even it is not far away from Kyoto or Gifu prefecture, many people never heard of that area. During my journey to the biggest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa, I decided to make a small stop in Wakasaka (Fukui), to visit a small waterfall there.From Tsuruga, one of the biggest city in Fukui, I just took the Obama line to go to the station “Kaminaka” in Wakasaka. It took around one hour in a very cute small local train through the mountains of that area. The station itself is really countryside, no shops or even a kombini, just local houses. I walked around 15 minuts from the station to a small park with a teahouse and a few shrines. At the end of the park was a small forest, where you could find a small waterfall.The waterfall was very beautiful and had a mysterious atmosphere. Especially I was totally alone there and I could only hear the sound of the water and the birds around me. I felt a little bit like I´m in the anime of “Nausicaä”. Just right next to the waterfall was a small house for resting. It was lunchtime, that´s why I used the chance to make a small picnic alone in the forest. I was very surprised to find this amazing place in that area, especially I´ve never heard of it before. The way to go there is very long, but if you have a little bit leftover time it is a very nice spot to visit.
I´ve been living in Japan already a few years, but the Christmas season always brings back the memories of my hometown and I wish to be there. But mostly I can not go back every year so I´m trying my best to enjoy christmas in Japan. The Christmas atmosphere is totally different here. The following points are very different than what I used to know:- The weather is always too warm! At least in Tokyo it can be sometimes amazing hot during the Christmas holidays (up to 20 degree). And of course there is no snow when it is so hot outside. - People tend to go out for a date on Christmas eve. Usually Christmas is a holiday for the whole family in other countries. In Japan oshogatsu (new year's celebration) is the big family come together day. For many people Christmas is a romantic day, that´s why especially couples like to spend that day together. - Christmas Illumination/light up:First time I saw those Illumination events in Tokyo, I was very surprised. I didn´t understand what it has to do with Christmas. In my home country (Germany) we don´t have those light ups. People usually hang some Christmas decoration like lightning stars or candle at their windows at home. - Christmas Food:The typical Christmas food in Japan is chicken and Christmas cake. This tradition comes from a very old TV spot of Kentucky fried chicken. I guess nowhere else you will find this kind of food combination. In Germany there are many different kinds of dishes we are eating. Usually for the Christmas eve it is very popular to eat raclette or potato salad and sausages (it depends on the region). For the Christmas lunch on 25. and 26. December we have the big Christmas roast like duck, rabbit, goose or turkey. And of course all the time you can enjoy typical Christmas sweet like “Lebkuchen” or almond biscuit.- Christmas markets open very late:Most of the Christmas markets in Japan open 2 weeks before Christmas and end right after Christmas. So always make sure to check out when they are open. Usually the Christmas season starts at the beginning of December, except in Japan.If I´m staying in Japan during the Christmas season, I´m trying my best to do as many traditional Christmas things as I can. Usually at the beginning of December, I´m starting to decorate the whole apartment with Christmas ornaments. For the right scent I´m used to put some cinnamon and orange on a small plate and put them in every room. Around mid of December, I´m baking together with friends some Christmas cookies and the kids love to make a small “Lebkuchenhaus” which looks like the small house of the bad witch of the Grimm fairytale “Hansel and Gretel”. After Christmas you can eat the whole house because it is mostly made from sugar, “Lebkuchen” and other sweets.As soon Christmas is coming, I´m taking out the big two meter Christmas tree. Unfortunately it is very difficult to find a big real Christmas tree, so I´m used to put a fake one. To decorate the tree with many ornaments and electronic candles are a typical tradition in my family and usually a lot of fun. The morning of Christmas eve in Japan is always a very busy time for me. I´m standing the whole time in the kitchen to cook for my Japanese family. We just celebrate one day in japan because usually nobody has off, when it is during the week. The typical Christmas lunch is a mix of all typical German food. Mostly every year I´m cooking a very huge duck which I ordered online, german style potato salad, red cabbage and octopus salad (that´s the Japanese part). As dessert we filling our stomach with Lebkuchen. After eating all those food we need to move our bodies. That´s why we visit the nearby Christmas market. In our case the Hibiya Christmas market is the closest. Also it has a very big candle pyramid original from Germany. Especially in the evening it looks very great! We just walk around and check out all the handcraft-/foodstores and drink a cup of “Glühwein” (hot wine).As soon it´s getting evening we are heading back to home and open all the Christmas presents which are laying under the Christmas tree. Most people just give presents to little kids, but I like the idea to also give a small present to the whole family members and friends. Then we are turning off all the lights, except from the Christmas tree, and watch all together a typical Christmas movie like the “Christmas carol”. My favorite one if from the muppets!The day will end in a typical Japanese way with eating delicious sushi at a nearby restaurant. Even I can´t celebrate in my hometown, I like now the way I´m celebrating in Japan too.
I was looking for a nice place in the mountain, which is not too far away from Tokyo. My solution was the little town Takayama in Gifu. It takes 5 hours by bus (Nohi Bus Service from Tokyo-Shinjuku). The view from the bus was great. I saw a beautiful winter landscape in a great mountainside with many lakes and dam. I arrived in Takayama during lunchtime and walked straight to the old town of the city, to see many old nice streets full of handcraft shops, restaurants and small sake stores. I walked around and tried many sweets and drinks like amazake, which were very delicious. There was also the chance to try diffrent kinds of sake for just 200 Yen. The day ended with walking through a long street with many temples, along a small mountain.But I was very surprised. The city is very good for tourists. Every sign is written in Japanese/English and sometimes also in Chinese, Korean or French. At the tourist information you will find pamphlets in diffrent languages (English, Spanish, French, German..). Also mostly of the people in the tourist area can speak at least English and Chinese. Also you can do very easy daytrips by bus to Shirakawago and Toyama.
I´ve been living in japan for a few years and there are still many new things which I learn and experience every day. Living in a different culture often means many differences to your own country but also many new experiences. 1. RulesFirst off it is very recommended to follow the rules in Japan. Walking on the correct side of the escalator, standing in the line of subway or just about the right greetings with co-workers. Especially in big cities where many people are living together it is important to follow the rules, otherwise everything will end in a big mess. If you don´t know what is right, just check what the others are doing and do the same.2. ConnectionsWhen you are just arriving in Japan and you don´t know anybody it is very important to meet new people and make connections at your workplace and also for your private life. Especially in Japan, good connections can open you many doors. Also it is very important for the mental health, otherwise you will have depression very soon. 3. Be always kindBe always kind to the people around you. Don´t show that you are in a bad mood or have an other opinion. In Japan it is very rude to show very direct your opinion. Try to show always your positive side and don´t be negative. The people around you will appreciate that.4. TravelingTo travel around Japan is very easy and safe. I used to travel often alone around the country and never felt unsafe. Especially people in the countryside are very kind and helpful and the very good transportation system ((by Bus, Car, Train, Airplane, Ferry)) makes it very easy to travel around. Even if you can not understand Japanese you will always find somebody who can help you and sometimes they even guide you to your destination.5. You will always be the foreignerEven living a long time in Japan, people will always see you as a foreigner. It happens very often, that people talk to you in English even when you speak Japanese to them. This can be very frustrating but never give up! Also in the countryside it is rare to see foreigners, that´s why people are very curious and stare at you or will ask you many questions. 6. Public holidaysJapan has many amazing holidays and festivals. I really love those days. There is really a day for everything! Like the day of sport or the day of mountain. But usually nobody celebrates these days, moreover people rest at home or enjoy a day off. The opposite are festivals, for example tanabata (star festival) or hinamatsuri (girls/dolls festival), which are big events with many traditions. Try out as many events as you can, it is a lot of fun!7. Zentral heating & Air ConditionerThere is no central heating in Japan except in the northern parts. So, please take care to always stay warm with many clothes, blankets and other heating supplies like heating carpet, kotatsu (table over an electric heater) or heattech clothes. Japan can be very cold in winter and the air is very dry. On the other side in summer it is very hot but all buildings and transportation have air conditioner but they are often too cold, so it is better to always carry a sweater with you. 8. ChildraisingThe first time I came to Japan, I was very confused to see little kids staying up late outside and it seems to be so normal. Especially kids who already attend school have to study a lot in Japan and often go to afterschools or cram schools which will end sometimes very late in the evening. Usually school and work starts late (around 9 h) in Japan, comparing to my country, that means that everything also ends late. 9. Amazing Delivery ServiceSince living in Japan I really love the post service here. You will always get your packages on time. They even come late in the evening, if you ask them. It is very great that you can let packages deliver for a specific time without paying an extra fee. Even if you need to send something inside Japan, they will come to your house and pick up the package without any extra cost. For sending overseas you can use one of the 24 h post offices which you can find in many areas.10. LanguageNumber ten should be also number one. The most important thing is to learn the language. It is very hard to live in another country without speaking the language. Without Japanese it is very difficult to find a good job, rent an apartment or just open a bank account. You will need Japanese all the time in your daily life. English is not that popular and most of the people cannot understand or speak it.
Dolls from everywhere at the Doll museum
The Yokohama Doll Museum is a paradise for all doll lovers. The museum has dolls from all over the world and diffrent time periods (from very very old to the newest generation). You can also see some amazing small dollhouses from europe, which look so real. The museum also always offers some special exhibitions like the exhibition about Rika-chan anniversery or the dollhouse exhibition. The museum is an adventure for small and big children and of course also for adults who love dolls.
The Aquaworld in Oarai is a big aquarium with many shows like dolfin and sea lion show or the aqua viewing time where a diver is explaining and showing the life of fish in a fish tank.You can find many explanations about all animals from the ocean, also how an aquarium works.The aquarium is very good for kids to explore the seaworld. It is a little bit pricey but if you have time to see all the shows it will be worth it. It is recommended to go there by car. The closeest trainstation is around 30 minuts away.
Bandai Toy Museum in Tochigi
The Bandai Toy Museum is a must see for all fan of Bandai and old toys. There are five diffrent sections to explore. The "world toy museum" were you can see diffrent toys from around the world, especially many trains and dolls from germany and Great Britain.At "hobby museum" you can find old Bandai toys like anime merchandise of Sailor Moon, Dragonball and so on. The "Japan Museum" has a big variety of old typical japanese toys, like dolls or tin toys.Also their is always a special exhibition. At the time I´ve been there it was an exhibition about Thomas Edison.After visiting all the diffrent sections, kids can play with very old video games or outside in the big garden with some toys.If you are a toylover it is a must to visit this museum!
Fudan Kaiseki Nagomi Chaya
The Nagomi Chaya restaurant is just on the way from Nikko Station to the Toshogu Shrine. The restaurant has a very nice charming interior. There is an tatamiarea but also you can sit on normal chairs. The restaurant is very popular even around the locals, so you should expect some waiting time.At the Nagomi Chaya you can eat the traditional japanese Kaiseki Yuba Set. Nikko is very popular for "Yuba" (tofu skin). You can try that dish in many diffrent combinations like in the soup, as dessert or just natural style. There are diffrent sets available which they serve step by step. But the waiting between the dishes is short, so you don´t have to spend that much time in the restaurant if you don´t want.
Little Venice in Tokyo
In the center of the popular area Jiyugaoka in Meguro you can find a small magic place, which gives you the feeling to be in Venice. It is a little place with a small canal sorounded by houses in an italien design. You can also find a small condola there. A cafe and a few small handcraftstores are inside the houses. It is very nice to walk around and enjoy the italien atmosphere.If you are already in the Jiyugaoka area, don´t forget to make a visit at this small magic place.
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