Thursday, April 21, 2011

Montas' Stretched Out Nap

 So, my cat Monta loves to sleep as most cats do. Today, I found him sleeping like this. this. Normally, he looks really cute but the other day he managed to make an ugly face.

Say Hello to Montas' Ugly Face! It's really amazing how such a cute cat can make such an ugly face, but don't worry his face went back to normal once he woke up!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cherry Blossoms at Yamazaki River in Mizuho, Nagoya City

 This is tori no sakamushi. Or, chicken steamed in Sake. This is very good and is famous at this Restaurant, Yamamotoya. For our lunch we had one of Nagoya's famous foods to eat....

 Misonikomiudon, which is udon cooked in Miso. I had mine with tempura shrimp and an egg. It was very good! If you like dark miso which is a stronger flavor than white miso then you will like this. Not everyone likes this dish, because many people from other cities are used to a lighter flavor of miso. But, I say give it a try and try it at this yesterday, because they are famous for their Miso nikomi udon!

 After lunch we went to the Yamazaki River in Mizuho for Cherry Blossom viewing! This is part of the fencing along the river.

Walking along the river.

 Cherry Blossoms!

 Here is Sato standing on the deck overlooking the river.

 I'm not sure what this is exactly. Maybe a type of fungi? I liked the orange color.

 Here is my hand holding onto some cherry blossoms.

Cherry Blossoms with some pine trees.

 At Yamazaki River you can find some food trucks along the way. We bought Yaki imo which is rock baked sweet potatoes. It is really good and perfect on a cool day! Another type of truck that I saw was for a Takoyaki truck. I think the trucks are only here during the Cherry Blossom viewing type since this is probably the busiest time of year around this area.

 Here is the view that we had while crossing a bridge over the river.

Sato and I had a great time walking along the river and looking at the Cherry Blossoms! I'm not sure how much longer the view will look like this, but if you are lucky it will last through this week. If you haven't seen Cherry Blossoms yet this year, go now!! Otherwise, you will have to wait for next year and hope that it isn't raining cats and dogs. Nagoya seems to have many places with Cherry Blossoms, but it's a different experience to see so many in one place. Enjoy your Hanami party!

Kyoto Part VI A Hidden Little Temple in the main streets of Kyoto

 Here are the ladies that I talked about in my last post. But, I took this photo because I liked this street not because I saw them although it does add a bit more of the traditional flair to this photo.

 Here is the hidden little temple. Sato is walking to the shrine in the background.

 Here is a little statue of a Ojizosan statue. You used to be able to find these statues all over Japan, but now it is getting harder and harder to find them. It was a surprise for me to find this one here.

This lovely bouquet of colors are folded swans, senbazuru. They say that if you fold one swan a day for one thousand days your wish will come true. I don't know if this is true, but that is mainly because I have never been able to follow through for that many days. lol

 Well, this is the last of my pictures from our trip to Kyoto. This is Sato at the gateway of the hidden little temple. I hope that my pictures do inspire people to visit Kyoto as it is a beautiful city. I really hope that the news isn't affecting people's idea of Japan, especially down in the southern areas we are fine and are experiencing no problems. I do hope that the people who are in the northern area of main land Japan can begin their recovery very soon.

Kyoto Part V Gion

 Sato and I visited Gion, but because we went to two other places before and spent a lot of time at those places we didn't get to Gion until around 4pm. If we had gotten the, were earlier it may have been much busier and we may have had the opportunity to see a Geisha or Maiko. Unfortunately, we didn't have that chance.

 After running into that pigeon at the beginning of Gion we saw this orange fencing and the street that splits off in two.

 A view of the main area of Gion!

 Sato and I infront of a temple at Gion. Again, this was in February and that's why we are wearing down jackets, probably not necessary now.

 Here is a photo of the bridge and 3 women dressed in kimono's. They are actually the ones that took Sato and my photo in front of the temple. They were very nice ladies wearing beautiful kimono's. We actually saw these ladies again in the main shopping area of Kyoto.

 Here is a better view of that street that the ladies were walking down.

 Looking down the street.

My favorite view from over the bridge. To get to Gion just get in a taxi and ask the driver to take you to Gion. This is probably the simpliest way for people who don't know their way around us. Happy travels!

Kyoto Part IV Sanjyusangendo

 This is actually another temple grounds that we went to. At this place there are (I think) 1,000 kannon statues with the (I think) thirteen deity statues......Don't quote me on the numbers it is highly possible am I wrong, BUT this place does have many statues of the same Kannon God that has many arms that are each holding something different. I would have taken a picture, but photographs are not allowed inside. If you are interested in having a picture you can purchase one from the gift shop.

 The Japanese garden outside the main building.

 There was this little place for cleansing your hands and making a prayer kind of off by itself.

 This is where you can use the water to cleanse your hands....I didn't since it was February and freezing.

 This place is called the Natural Spring for Worshippers....according to the friendly English translation. In case you couldn't read the picture.

 I love these gates! They are huge and the color is amazing! This is probably my second favorite spot at this temple. The first being the inside with all the Kannon statues.

 A view of the main temple area.

A gateway into another area of the temple grounds.
There are so many temples in Kyoto that it is impossible to see all of them in one day. I recommend that you either take a few days to explore Kyoto or make several trips. Either way you won't be disappointed!

Kyoto Part III Leaving the Temple grounds

 The view of the main shopping street from the temple gate. Again this was in February and so it was still really cold. Now, it's probably not as cold. lol

 We stopped for a little snack before lunch. I had a cream puff with match filling and Sato had the regular filling. I really enjoyed the Matcha filling! Kyoto is famous for Matcha so if you go I suggest you try anything Matcha flavored. If you are unsure of what to try with Matcha flavor, I recommend Matcha ice cream!!

 This was our view from the restaurant we had lunch in. You could see down into the crowded streets. The bottom portion is frosted so that the people below can't see you from the bottom.....that would be awkward.

 Sato thinking he escaped the picture, but didn't. He forgot that my camera has a wide angle lens. lol The lady on the far left doesn't know that either and that's why she is fearless in staring at me. hehe

 Sato's lunch! I'm sorry, but the name of this dish has escaped me, but it is a tofu dish! lol This is actually a pretty common dish, so it shouldn't be hard to find.

I wasn't very hungry since I had that cream puff not too long ago, so........I had zenzai! Kyoto is famous for having very sweet zenzai. It has mochi in sweet red bean....soup for lack of a better word. It is delicious! and great on a cold day! Please give it a try if you have the chance. (^^)y

Kyoto Part II Kiyomizu Temple

 A view of temple grounds from the bottom of the hill....we actually walked a big hill already, but we turned onto this street from that hill. So.....we are at the bottom of this hill.

 There are a lot of little shops along the way up and then there is another street next to this one that has a lot of souvenir shops. That street is much more crowded and I will show you in the following post.

 At the entrance of the temple grounds. The two guard dogs.

 One of the intricately detailed guard dogs.

 A peak through the gateway...

 After passing through the gateway.

 I really like this tree. They were able to mold the tree to grow onto the thing next to it. Sorry, I have no idea what it is called, but I love the idea. Oh, and I have no idea whether this is a tree or a vine, but it looks like a tree.....(^-^;)

 I love this bright redish orange color used on some of the buildings. Plus the details at the base of the roof....seen below....

 You want to be careful here since it is a very far drop to the bottom.....but, there are guard rails incase the cement rails don't work for some reason.

 I always liked the lanterns in this temple.

 People's wishes and hopes written on wood and hung up with prayers that they will come true. It's the year of the rabbit so they all have some type of picture of a rabbit drawn on the back.

 Sato pulled a Omikuji which is a type of future telling. This one wasn't a good one so he is tying it so that it won't come true. (he pulled another one later that was a good one and he kept it. I also pulled one and it was a good one so I carry it around with me it hopes that I will have a good year.) For good ones you keep it and then bring it back the following year for it to be burned and to pull a new one....I hope it's a good one!

 Sato getting ready to through in a coin and make a prayer to the God.

 The Omikuji store, there are a few of these on the grounds, but this is the one where I got my good fortune omikuji!

 Sato and I taking our picture in front of the temple.

Here is an unobstructed view of the temple. I should mention that this is a VERY delayed post. We went in February, but now the trees should be greener and maybe some Cherry Blossoms are left?