Category Archives: Museum

Japan 2013: Thu August 15

Breakfast in room
Morning train to Tokyo Eki
Metro to Ueno
Ueno Park
Tokyo National Museum (Tokyo Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan)–main building
Metro to Okachimachi
Meet Taku & Maki & Tsumugi and go to sushi bar (Okachimachi North exit, cross street, go left, second alley on right–two places across from each other, same restaurant)
Cafe Renoir
Electronics store
Metro to Jinbocho
Records-ya/Fuji records
Train home to Higashi Zushi (Green car)
Dinner at Taku & Maki’s
Train back to Yokosuka/hotel

Pictures: Best sink on earth (soap & water at top, dryer at bottom, Tokyo National Museum); Deer and maple (from “Narrative Picture Scroll of the Priest-poet Saigyo, Vol. 2,” by Tawaraya Sotasu, 17th century); sushi bar; Records-ya/Fuji records





Japan 2013: Tues August 13

Train to Higashi Zushi, pickup by T&M/car
Zushi City beach
森戸大明神 (Moritodaimyojin) Temple visit (where Tsumugi was blessed), Hayama
Drive to coast
Delicious lunch at 鴨鶴 Kamo Tsuru (“Duck Crane”)
Small beach across from the restaurant
Yokosuka museum: Yokai exhibition, library, gift shop
Grocery store
Dinner at Taku & Maki’s
Train back to Yokosuka/hotel

Pictures: Little beers; T&M’s house; Kamo Tsuru (“Duck Crane”) restaurant




日本 8.10.13 イレーン

We took the train Saturday from Hiroshima to Kurashiki by way of Okayama quite early. We had heard that Kurashiki was a beautiful, quiet and traditional town with a day’s worth of activities to enjoy. We arrived too early to check into the hotel (APA Hotel BTW is right at the JR Kurashiki station and very convenient) but we checked our big bags.

This town was a really nice change after all the crowds in Hiroshima and Miyajima. The historical district is beautifully preserved around the canal. We started with the Piggy Bank Museum which is just a really small room of glass cases on the top floor of an antiques shop. It was incredible how many they had and of all different varieties. This town was also an antique collector’s dream. (Mom, you would have loved the 101 Dalmations wallpaper!)

For lunch we got the special lunch sets at Mamakaritei. We were disappointed only because the guide book had led us to believe we would be getting a special “sardine” focus which was not entirely accurate and it was a rather expensive Kaiseki for lunch time on our budget.

After lunch we went to the old toy museum which was a wonderfully crowded crazy hodge podge of dolls, masks, daruma, kites and games from Japan for hundreds of years.

I was done museum hopping at that point and I had my eye on the shops in town. So Dan went off to the Ohara museum and I went shopping. Kurashiki is a great town to shop in both because of the antiques and also because many of the shops have traditional products hand crafted in the area so you get away from the proliferation of junk for sale. I bought a great waist belt pouch made of canvas from a Kurashiki design company and educated myself about all the differences in Bizen Pottery (a specialty of that region) so that we could get something nice when Dan was finished at the museum.

Along the way I stumbled into a small shop where an older lady was sitting quietly manning the store. She was really sweet and we tried our best to communicate. When Dan popped his head in she invited us to stay for iced tea and chat. She was 88 and in great health. Taking away… We did our best to participate!

After shopping we checked into the hotel and got settled researching dinner options. We heard that the regional Katsu (fried pork usually) had a great sauce so we headed out to Misokatsu Menoki. Dan got the seasonal set menu: pork and crab Katsu, rice, steamed chicken and vegetables, raw octopus in a mustard vinigrette, chicken sashimi with salad, miso soup with raw egg, tuna sashimi and a lemon jelly yogurt dessert. All that for 1800¥! I got just the pork katsu set which was delicious but Dan’s meal was delicious and one of the best values thus far.

Off to Zushi City tomorrow to finally see our friends!

Photos: steaming veggies at Misokatsu Menoki, pork Katsu set, piggy bank museum wallpaper, bird and fish toys at the Kurashiki toy museum





Japan 2013: Sat August 10

Breakfast at home
Leave Tanaka-san’s apartment, streetcar to Hiroshima station
HIKARI shinkansen 8:44 to Okayama
Local train to Kurashiki
Leave bags at hotel
Piggy bank museum/antique shop/dog museum (the RCA Victor dog, that is)
Lunch at Mamakari-tei
Rural toy museum
Ohara museum (Dan)/shopping (Elaine)
Chatting with 88 year old in ceramics shop
Shopping: fabric; Bizen ware
Hotel check in
Dinner at Misokatsu Umenoki

Pictures: something great on 9/12; Piggy bank museum; Masks at Rural toy museum; Elaine & ceramics lady; fresh-made oyster cracker






日本 8.8.13 イレーン

Today was the day where it sets in… All the running around, especially with the addition of the heat, wore us out. After the last of our at home granola breakfast we passed out and slept until nearly 10:00. No getting started early today. It was a nice morning to be lazy… Weather was calling for temps of 91+.

For lunch we walked up the street to Tanaka-san’s favorite okonomiyaki place. He said this 72 year old lady made the best and we were dying to try it. Okonomiyaki is big here because there is a country wide rivalry between the kind made in Osaka and the Hiroshima style. We had the Osaka version last trip to Japan at a little local joint so this seemed like the appropriate test. There were 9 seats around the 6×6′ griddle she was working at and 10 seats at the back of the place. There were 9 people eating when we arrived. The rest, I can’t say enough and wish we had it all on video, was pure entertainment.

This lady was completely on the ball. First, she put two Tupperware tubs of raw squid and shrimp in front of us to see if we were ok with seafood. Yes, of course we were… although at the time we had not yet figured out that this was the “special” and would be 400¥ more. Wielding two large spatulas and working multiple meals at once it goes like this:

She pours a thin pancake mixture like a crepe… Sprinkles it with spices… Tops it with cabbage and panko… Puts on some pieces of dried squid cake she has pre-made. All the while that is cooking she has individual piles of cooked soba noodle on the other side of the griddle. Back to the main attraction she adds the seafood (squid, shrimp, scallops) and tops with strips of raw bacon… Then she flips the entire pile over so that the bacon is now on the bottom… That cooks for a while. She the slides that pile onto the soba pile… Cracks an egg and spreads it like a crepe… Slides in onto the egg pancake and flips the whole thing again (pancake is back on the bottom)… Paints the egg top with sauce (texture of hoisin), sprinkles it all with herbs and pickle and slides it over for you to eat. Everyone gets a small spatula to cut and serve with… Some folks ate right off it. She made 7 of these all at once while we sat there all the while telling her husband what to do and chatting up the locals. Genius entertainment and totally delicious. We had great fun and were stuffed. Dan already wants to go back.

Even the end of the meal proved entertaining. When we went to pay the 1800¥ we gave her a 2000¥ note. This currency denomination is no longer made and they are rare in Japan, similar to the $2.00 bill in the US I think. So we had gotten a bunch of them with our exchange in NY and they have been eliciting all kinds of responses here. Well, one of the customers wanted it, so she traded two 1000¥ notes for it. Dan pulled out another one and joked that she could have it for 4000¥ … Hearty laughs all around!

We took the tram up to Hiroshima station and walked over to the Peace Memorial Museum. It is difficult really to speak much of the afternoon. We were there for hours and it is hard to get through emotionally. But the people of Hiroshima convey a strong and beautiful message to all of mankind that we need to love and respect one another. Peace should prevail.

At the end of the afternoon we wanted only to have a quiet meal and turn in early. So we walked to near the station, took an escalator to the 6th floor of the Pacela building and rested over a meal of Vietnamese food at Miss Hoa.

Photos: Hiroshima manhole cover, okonomiyaki chef at Mokumoku, okonomiyaki instructions


Japan 2013: Thurs August 8

Sleep late
okonomiyaki lunch at Mokumoku
Streetcar into downtown
Peace Memorial Park
Flame of Peace
Memorial Cenotaph for A-Bomb Victims
Peace Memorial Museum
Atomic Bomb Dome
Coffee at Doutour, postcard writing
Vietnamese dinner at Miss Hoa
Streetcar back

Pictures: okonomiyaki at Mokumoku; Memorial Cenotaph; Atomic Bomb Dome




Japan 2013: Tues August 6

Breakfast at home
Bus to Takamatsu station
Express train to Kotohira
Eyeglass shop to “repair” Elaine’s sunglasses
Kompira-san temple climb (dedicated to the guardian of mariners)
Kompira Udon, lunch
Sake museum
Kanamaru-za (oldest kabuki theater in Japan)
Train to Marugame
Uchiwa-no-minato (paper fan) museum
Wrong train to Okayama!
“Marine Liner” train to Takamatsu
Dinner at Mikayla (Italian)

Pictures: “Eye exam,” Kotohira; Ice blocks and salt-lemon candies, Kompira-san; Inner temple and view, Kompira-san; Elaine (wearing kabuki jacket) and Kanamaru-za tour guide