Fukushima

Years have passed, 6 so far, and the world still remembers Fukushima. Japan has not finished with the case, and every week comes a new report, investigation, press conference on what to do with the nuclear plant.

But how is life there really? Well, there is still a vast area where citizens have not been allowed to come back. For the villages where they have been allowed, only 20% did, the rest have created new lives elsewhere.

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Beer Garden

Did you know that Japanese literally love the Beer Garden concept and imported it in mass from Germany?

From June to September, so many restaurants and most hotels offer a 2-hour package with all you drink ! they have partnership with the famous brands and depending on the location, offer random junk food for up to elegant dinners. I tried a number of them and it is fun. This is where you see families, salary men, relaxed and friendly people in numbers.

I enjoy one in Tokyo Bay, very classy with a Thai food theme in August, the place was full of families and we enjoyed a nice evening although not quite comparable to what you would find in Frankfurt or Munich!

Kyushu

I spent very little time in Fukuoka and will need to go again but I noticed the quality of the Kyushu Shinkansen. wide cars, wide seats, wooden features, beautiful and elegant access. it makes you travel truly.

I was told it was a new train until I found out new means 2002!

 

Nagasaki

Not sure anyone falls in love with Nagasaki at first sight however it has a lot to offer.

First, it is on the seaside, and it is surrounded with hills which makes it an attractive spot for me at least. the city lives out of tourism mostly thanks to cruise ships coming every day from Mainland China with 1000’s of visitors. Mitsubishi has a massive construction site there too and that drives the business.

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I found a pretty city with the Glover Gardens, the tiny streets, enjoying castella. It has a special feeling as in the history, anything that was not Japanese was called Dutch. therefore you have a lot of Holland this and Holland that but there is a Dutch connection and you may visit Huis Ten Bosch or have a look at some of the flemish style houses in the historical center. During the isolation period for Japan, Nagasaki was the only place still open to the world. This is why the castella cake has an inspiration from Portugal for example.

Because of the Chinese influence, the typical meal in Nagasaki Shippoku looks alike a Chinese dinner with plenty of food or a rolling table. But they also have Turoku Raisu (Turkish rice), Castella, oysters, seafood, champon, or Nagasaki beef.

I will go again as many of the sites are in distance from the city and you cannot walk around but need bus or even train

 

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Wagashi

Japanese people love their sweets!! Many of them are made out of red bean paste.

 

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Awa Odori

In August, this was a highlight for me and I have penciled this again for next year as this is truly amazing.

This is a traditional dance ceremony from Shikoku Island, in Tokushima but Tokyo enjoys it in the area of Koenji. the groups walk around the tiny streets and dance on the main square for the whole afternoon in the week end in late August.

It is crowded but friendly and tradition is to eat yakitori along the streets with beer. Once the show is over, the dancers crawl through the local bars to thank the public.

I absolutely love Awa Odori festival

 

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Kiyosumi Gardens

Walking around the Fukugawa area, we found this precious Kiyosumi Garden

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, this was created by the founder of Mitsubishi who then gave it as a legacy to the city of Tokyo, nowadays, you can walk around it in peace, it feels like a moment of peace in the hassle and bussle of the city.

You can see turtles, bird, insects. this is countryside for 10mn! On the Fridays, people over 60 can get in for free with 1 person. Otherwise, the fee is only 150 yens.

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Close by are many cafes and shops.

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