Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Squid Ink Ice Cream, no? How about Ox Tongue Ice Cream?

A friend of mine researched and found this place in Ikebukuro after seeing some Food Network Tv show where the host was eating a bizarre ice cream flavor here in Japan. Ice Cream City in Sunshine City is said place.
I do not like ice cream, but when I saw flavors such as Potato and Butter, Miso, I had to give in. I did not try the Ox Tongue in the picture above.
Shark's fin and Noodle on top, strawberry on the bottom.
I didn't try fish sauce, but someone in our party did try the shark fin and noodle. The noodle tasted like caramel, so I'm not sure if there was really shark fin in the ice cream. I wouldn't doubt it though.
In my opinion squid ink and goya were pretty good, eggplant and chicken wing were not.
Garlic, Mocha Coffee, Miso Noodle, and Powdered Pearl.
Viper - didn't try it.

Bring a camera! Just outside the Cup Ice Museum are several additional places to purchase ice cream treats. Those places have more traditional flavors, but they have unique presentations.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Summer!!!

I took these photos on July 2nd, so pardon me for displaying them a little late. These were in a display of summer cards. I thought they were cool cards though.

Hula Dance Party!
Takoyaki. You know, Octopus Balls! As seen at many a summer festival.

That is takoyaki! We got that at the Tanabata Festival at Shonan Hiratsuka on July 3rd. More on that in a few days.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Daibutsu in Kamakura

The Daibutsu statue in Kamakura was originally cast in 1252. It's a very famous icon in Japan, and one of the first places we visited upon our arrival in Japan. This visit was fun because there were several busloads of junior high students visiting from the Chiba Prefecture. Three groups stopped us and pulled out notebooks. They said, "Hello, we are junior high English students. Do you speak English?" We do and we told them we did have time to answer their questions. They asked us our name, where we were from, and what our favorite Japanese food is. They also asked to have their picture taken with us.
For 20-yen, you can go inside the Buddha.
That's looking into the head of the Buddha.
The Buddha's slippers.
The Buddha is about a 10 minute walk from Hase Station. You can also hike to the Buddha from near the Kita-Kamakura station. It's a beautiful hike!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tokyo Marathon -- Now accepting applications!

The 2011 Tokyo Marathon will be run on 27 February next year, but the lottery starts now!
Here's the link to the official site to enter for a chance for a spot.

It's not a fun race. I don't know if any marathons are, but it's a flat course with a lot of community support. Oh, and you get to run through several of Tokyo's most famous areas... not that you'll notice them through the pain.

The weather the last couple of years has not been great, neither has the t-shirt, but it's an interesting experience.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fuji TV

If you have been to Tokyo, you may have noticed that funny looking building with the gigantic sphere almost suspended in the middle of a building. That's the Fuji-tv building in Odaiba.

I kept meaning to tour it, and finally did on our last visit to Odaiba. For just 500-yen, you too can take the tour of the big ball and the museum a few floors below. That hallway in the photo above has television memorabilia. More interesting, it offers a live peak at some of those wacky Japanese television shows being taped a floor below. You're not allowed to take photos through the windows, taking a photo of the hallway was the best I could do. If you see down that hallway, there are television sets above windows on the left in the hallway. The sets show you what the cameras are on in the studio. The windows offer a live view of the same thing. While we were there we saw some show with spinning tables piled high with donuts. I don't know what the show was about.

There were several mini sets along the hallway as well. There were life-sized cut-outs of television personalities that you could pose with for pictures.

This was the view from the 24th floor.... I think. It's the floor you first go to after visiting the inside of the sphere.

The view from inside the sphere. It's an awesome view of the Tokyo skyline!

When you pay the 500-yen, you'll be given a passport. You take that passport to various spots throughout the sphere, museum, and the shops area to get a variety of stamps. The final stamp makes a multi-colored Fuji-tv logo and blue dog. You then present the completed passport for a prize. We opted for the tape on the left. It rolls out with pictures of the little blue dog on it.
View from the water taxi on the way from Odaiba to Hinode. We always take the Yurikamome from Shimbashi out to Odaiba and the water taxi back to Hinode. The water taxi is an awesome and cheap way to see Tokyo from the water. A one-way ticket is less than 500-yen for an adult!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Heiwa no Mori

Meanwhile back near Tokyo....
I took a little trip at the end of June, beginning of July back to my old stomping grounds near Tokyo. One of the places we re-visited was Heiwa no Mori. It's a Point Course near the Heiwajima station on the Keikyu Line -- not far from Kawasaki.
There are 45 different obstacles spread out over an impressive-sized park.
This was the second time I had been. They had changed the obstacles up a bit this time. They have added a couple of new water obstacles that are different from last year.
To get to this park, exit out the station toward the bicycle lot and follow the signs to Heiwa no Mori. There is a pretty good size park in addition to the obstacle course.
Prepare to sweat! These obstacles require strength and stamina.
Above is one of my favorites... to watch. Those platforms aren't as stable as they look.
The main obstacle course is for those older than 6. The entrance fee is anywhere from 100-yen to 380-yen. While the younger kids can't climb on the bigger obstacle course, there is a free preschool course just outside the gate. The last picture is part of the preschool course. The preschool course has added diagrams now that makes it look more like the paid course.
One note: We went on a day it had rained in the morning. The course had to dry out two hours before they would open it. They also told us that if it had rained anytime before noon they wouldn't open it at all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


This was one of the last photos I took on Sunday night, the last night of Obon.
Some of the lanterns were for pets lost in the past year.
These are candies specifically for Obon. These had azuki bean filling. I saw them for sale everywhere in the weeks leading up to Obon. I thought they were candles or the kind of soap that people put in their bathroom that you're not sure if you're supposed to use or not. One of the first things we were told when we moved to Japan was that we should plan to travel during Obon. Many people use that time to travel to be with their families and the roads are packed.
Walking and dodging the fire crackers.
The group carrying this boat was taking a break so we were able to get a close up.

At first the lanterns started floating up the river and away from the ocean. No one was too concerned as they go out toward the ocean eventually. Our guide told us that there was a team of people waiting around the corner to grab up the lanterns so as not to pollute the ocean.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hunting for treasure at Huis ten Bosch

We went to Huis ten Bosch on Saturday. They used to have a treasure hunt that involved a bunch of locations throughout Kyushu, so when we entered the park this time and saw the ads for another treasure hunt, we were all over it. This one was fun... at first. We chose the International Course. For 300-Yen we could complete this course is in English, Chinese, or Korean. There were three courses in Japanese, with the most expensive costing 1,000-Yen.
You follow the clues in the little booklet they give you to five different treasure boxes. The clues aren't hard to find in the daytime, but we arrived just before dusk and that made it difficult.

This treasure box was on a tree off the beaten path, and next to another treasure box for one of the Japanese courses. Make sure you get the right treasure!
It was fun for the adventure, but don't do it for the prize. Our prize was that plastic folder above. We turned in our completed clue sheet and the guy made a big show of us getting all of the clues right. He handed me the folder above and I asked him in Japanese what it was. He took a piece of scrap paper and demonstrated putting a piece of paper in it. He must have thought I was an idiot... I felt like one too. I know how to operate a folder, I was just hoping the prize would have been something more interesting.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Crispy Mint M&M's

Found these while at our local O-ban celebration tonight. It looks likes they are currently being sold here in Japan and in Australia.

Thriller Fantasy Museum light show

The Thriller Fantasy Museum is a horror museum with a horror restaurant and the above music and light show. We didn't actually tour the museum, we were on a treasure hunt at the time. We just stumbled upon the light show while following our treasure map.

More about the treasure hunt tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Yukinoura Beach

Above is Yukinoura Beach in Oseto. I had heard from many people that this is a wonderful beach. A great place to snorkel, swim, etc...
It wasn't a great place when we were there. The waves were crashing right on the beach. We went in... once, then spent the rest of the time picking sand out of everything! I have seen pictures of a beautiful and serene cove with families happily playing in the water. It must have just been bad days when we went.
At least he was happy.
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