Taking part in a festival "Kuri-matsuri" in Chofu City.

 Although we can see cities holding a festival every few months, Tokyo is a hot place to find it. Walking in a local district, especially summer, you can easily hit a festival taken place, where shops are decorated with colorful handmade ornaments made of papers and woods. Last months, September, I happened to walk into a road near Chofu Station, where a small local festival was held.

 As I walk through a shrine along the busy street, I noticed many lamps were displayed. It was unusual, since I've never seen any of this before. It was still late afternoon, hence the sun was shining weakly but surely. As I approached, I smelled sweet teriyaki sauce in the air. "That's it" I thought. This flavor deeply reminds me of festivals.

 I took a glance at each of drawings on the lamps' shades. They were all handwritten, and to be honest, they were so beautiful.

 There were small temporary stalls along with a narrow stone path. They were selling flied potatoes, sausages (German style, they called it), yakisoba, and even kebab. Among them, I discovered a shop selling grilled chest nuts (That's why they call this festival kuri-matsuri,くり祭り,  named after chest nut in Japanese)
(I hadn't seen kebab at festivals in my young age, but it looks they've got a regular menu for festivals nowadays.)

After a while, a special car for festivals were finally took off to a main street. Ordinary, this road is packed with cars and pedestrians in the business hours. But today, the unique car called "dashi (山車)" became the only one that can be allowed on the road.

 Okay, we have to check it out what it's like :)

 Initially, many people grab ropes tied with the car, then pull them altogether. They also have a small place which is available for a few people dancing singing along with playing traditional instruments. While I was watching it, two children wearing masks were dancing, waving their hands and legs like forever. 

 On one area, which is usually a pedestrian road, was now for adult having beer and snacks. It looks festivals bonds people living there, children and adults alike. I like the atmosphere like that, though I hardly participate it. I couldn't help hoping these tradition remain as it is, at least for a while :) 



Having deep-fried pork Tonkatsu in Daimon, Tokyo.

 A friend of mine and I visited a Tonkatsu, deep fried pork restaurant in a late August. Located just near the Tokyo Tower, I found a festival taken place on narrow streets on my way. Let's check it out before getting to the restaurant :)

 With dark, wet evening, it was so exotic, fancy mood on the streets. I love this kind of mood: red lamps lining up above the streets, people chatting endlessly with glasses of beers and wines in their hands every corner of the road. Okay, it's time to eat :)

 Among the tiny, old, a bit dirty buildings near Daimon Station, I found a light colored wooden counter table in front of the kitchen as I open the door of Nomoto-ya (のもと家,  Facebook page is here. It might be wonderful if you come alone, sitting on a chair, taking a glance at chefs cooking dishes while you're waiting for your dish to come. We took a seat besides the windows, asking them to bring some shochu (焼酎), a kind of Japanese strong liquior, ordinary around 25% of alcohol, made out of potatoes, rice and such. Apparently, they have a variety of Shochu on the menu. No wonder, I thought, since Tonkatsu is a soul food in Kyushu region, like Shochu. About 10 minutes later...

 Here it comes :)

 Though I am a big fan of Tonkatsu, had many experience to visit Tonkatsu restaurant before, I had never seen such a thick pork as it was. They also served salt, wasabi, soy sauce along with sweet sauces, so I could taste different ways for each piece. The food price for each person ranges from $20, but I think it's worth it ;)



A depressed night.

 Take a pill, go to bed, and turn the light off, before things begin to be crazy.


Relaxing stay at a hotel in Izu peninsula.

 When it comes to be a relaxing over-night-trip from Tokyo, Izu peninsula is one of the most famous destinations for many people. Hotels have fine hot springs, fresh sea cuisines including Tuna from the ocean nearby, and many many more is available. One sunny day, I caught the train to get there :)

 A couple of train rides later, I finally arrived at the destination. From my point of view as a person living in urban Tokyo, it was like, "Wow". A tiny station without anyone, thus no one checks my ticket. What should I do? Do I just pass the gate through, leaving the ticket on the desk without any staff? Well, I did it anyway, went out of the station.

 The hotel was initially for people staying with their dogs, and that explained why most of them walked corridors and pool sides with their dogs. I wonder why I came this place alone, haha. (Well, that's the story I sometimes do.)

 Reading old books, taking photos in front of a mirro...These are things I always do whenever I go outside XD

 Okay, let's have a Japanese style "Kaiseki (会席料理)" course. Starting from a small dish and assorted raw fish, they serve a variety of meals one by one, with different way of cooking and plates. I love this kind of gorgeous cuisines :)


 I decided to take a short walk after the dinner, and it was then that I found the Milky Way lying across the sky with a whole bunch of stars. Astonishing, indeed. Izu peninsula is just 140km away from Tokyo, and yet I could actually see it in my eyes. I couldn't believe what I was seeing at first: I didn't even know it was possible to see the Milky Way in Japan...

 The next day, I visited some museums, and spend a late morning at a dog cafe.
(Again, my dog wasn't there, haha)

Having a casual lunch of noodle, I headed back to my home in Tokyo.

 Perhaps the peninsula of Izu isn't so attractive than other places like Nikko or Hakone, famous day-trip destinations from Tokyo. But I'd like to emphasize that it might be a nice place to stay, especially when you're so busy that you want to go somewhere without doing anything in particular. I'm sure I'll be back soon :)


having "Hitsumabushi", grilled eel on rice.

 There are some eel food lover in Japan. They love it, and many of them have their own favorite eel restaurants. Although the only time I have it is once a year or two, I always enjoy having passionate conversation about it. One day, I decided to go eat an eel food :)

 We call the dish "Hitsumabushi" (ひつまぶし), and initially it's a Nagoya style food. Born and raised in Nagoya, I'm quite familiar with this eel dish, which is dipped sweet sauce after grilled, then put it on rice. (Note: people in Nagoya truly love sweet, rather strong taste like miso foods)
Although the price of eels are higher year by year due to decrease of the amount they capture, but it's still affordable.
(It cost $26 in my case, for the record.)

 Together with sliced green onion,  seaweeds and a typical Japanese soup dashi, I really enjoyed having a late afternoon lunch with my friend :D