Eating Yakitori (grilled chicken) at a restaurant.

Grilled chicken so called "Yakitori" in Japanese is really taste good. However, I hardly take it in restaurants because it's usually eaten with alcohol. Non-drinker like me,  Yakitori looks nice but difficult food for many reasons. I heard last week that there's a good restaurant serves Yakitori nearby, and I dropped there at dinner.

Shortly after making the order, they brought a small dish. It's named "oto-shi" which is served most Izakaya, or place to drink. Regardless of your order, they gave it to customers, and more importantly, it usually costs, around 3US$ or 300yen. 'I have to pay money for something I didn't order???' One big reason why I don't go to Izakaya is this. You can refuse it or some restaurants ask whether you need it or not. Sometimes it's free of charge. So if you're interested in, it's better off asking them :)
 That night was spinach boiled for seconds, then seasoned with sesame and seaweeds.

 I also ordered a sake, or Japanese alcohol. It came with bamboo! The taste was so strong that I only had a sip :(  It cost about 6.5US$, or 630 yen for a bottle.

 Yakitori has many unique names. Thus there was a bunch of menus I've even never heard of. This is sasami with green horseradish, wasabi. It tasted rather plain to me.

 This is Kawa or a skin of chickens served with a vinegar sauce, chopped green onion, and grated Japanese radish. Since grilled skins are oily,  I guess they got together with vinegar sauce.

 And don!! You also can bring it to your home as well as eating there (6US$, or 580yen).

 What do you think they are? The left one is some kind of meatball, "tsukune".  I didn't know, but it seems we have to eat it with a raw egg. Raw egg again (last time was here, haha)! It tasted really nice by the way, meatball and raw egg, I didn't know how to stop eating it! :)
 The right side was a grilled eggplant. They got rid of its skin, and put some sauce based on soy paste on it. Definitely the mixture of the sauce and  eggplant was awesome!

 These were the last. Green one is.... what was that?! I just forgot! =) The red one is easy to remember, tomatoes bound sliced bacons. I like it! ;)
 It's not easy to order in yakitori restaurants even for Japanese. But once you eat, you'll miss it a year or two! :)


Asuke, a rural place in Aichi Prefecture.

Asuke is a heart and soul town of mine. Located near Nagoya city where I was born, my parents used to bring me there.

 Like any other rural villages in this country, Asuke also has a river and mountains. This place is popular especially in Autumn, people are packed in there to see the leaves change into orange, yellow and red. I've never been there in Autumn by the way, due to heavy traffic jams and so on. Well, there aren't so many people except Autumn, so I prefer to visit there like last week, late summer.

 Walking across a red bridge, then,

 Asuke Yashiki!! (the word "yashiki" means "big house" :)) As you can see in the picture, some people enter with their dogs. It appears you can visit with them. I should have come here with my lovely dog ;)

 The temperature wasn't so high, I think it was around 30 degrees. Summer was about to leave this country, we are welcome to upcoming Autumn, but how about winter? I'm terrible with that!

 They were placed in front of the gate. Oh, the admission fee was about 3US$ (300yen), for the record :)

It has traditional houses in it, I took a glance at them one by one, sometimes took my camera to shoot.

 Old style sandal! :D

 One day calender, and,

 Umbrellas ;)

 I like seeing old houses though, if you ask whether I could live there or not, it would definitely confuse me a day or two. Just looking, that's what I like, haha.

 Beautiful lamps :) They are making it in front of me plus if you want, you can buy it on site.

 Asuke is not easy to access, nor has brilliant things. But anytime I feel depressed in my hometown Nagoya, I come visit there to take a deep breath. No working, no reading, just sitting by the river to listen to the sound the natural play. Sure, I'll be back soon :)


Morning :)

It's 6:32 a.m. in my country right now. Rain which started last midnight stopped just ago and we have a bit cool and cloudy morning.  Today is Monday and I leave from here in my hometown Nagoya to get Tokyo, but for now, I just want to enjoy taking some rest in this silent room. None of my family member wakes up, including my dog on my lap.



Something I ate lately.

 Boxed meals, or Bento (about Bento, see this post) on Shinkansen! Actually I took this picture a few hours ago :) Raw fish on the rice, Japanese food box, and some kind of European, I guess.

 It's a popular instant noodle from Korea. Since I was too tired to cook something at that time, I just cut vegetables and boiled them all :)

 Ah, it's a lunch last week, or two weeks ago. I went to some sushi restaurant in a big city in Tokyo. I asked a chef to cook sushi that value around 50US$, or 5,000yen. Hum, I liked the taste, but.... Considering the price, I prefer the one I ate in Toyama. Once you eat sushi there in Toyama (about Toyama, see this post), there's no turning back, I promise! :D
 Anyway, it was the first time for me to go such a high rank sushi restaurant. Whatever it is, 50US$ for a single lunch isn't that cheap, at least for me. Even if it is, I ordered rather low price at that restaurant. There were menus that say more than 200US$ for a dinner. And there're many rules I have to follow (that I really don't like because of their pointless, by the way.) such style of sushi restaurants. While the chef cook sushi one by one, I kept asking him many things like 'Should I eat one by one, or wait for minutes to be prepared and eat at all once?' 'Should I eat with my hands or chopsticks?'. Fortunately the chef was kind and responded my questions :)

Pasta with eggplants and tomato sauce, yummy! ;) Italian is always my favorite :)

A breakfast sometime this weekday. I was a person who only drinks coffee in the mornings. No bread, no salad, no nothing. But these days I try to eat more and more. From a banana alone, yes, that day I ate that much!

Basically I don't drink, but sometimes I feel like taking not coffee, but alcohol :) Oh, it hit 1:19 in the dead of night and by writing it, I became really hungry! Hmmmmmmm....!!! :)


Visiting Tama Zoo, in Tokyo.

 I like animals. When I was a kid, I was always with animals like birds, fish, and now I'm with my dog. Visiting zoo is one of my pleasure in my holiday, so let's see it :)

 Tama Zoo is located suburb in Tokyo. It has several zoos in and around Tokyo and the most famous one is definitely Ueno Zoo. But hey, I prefer Tama zoo where I went last time! Bigger than the one in Ueno, silent place, plus not so crowded (That's important for me :)).

 I brought a lunch box by the way ;)

 Water and....

Do you know what it is? It's a kind of sushi. 'Ha! That's impossible!' you might say. It doesn't look like sushi AT ALL! But it actually is. Not raw fish, but this brown thing is made of fried tofu, or bean curd (about bean curd, see this post) covering the rice. 'That's never happened!' you say? It does! On top of that, it tastes really really sweety like candy :P I know people in Western never eat sweet food, but anyway, once you eat, you won't be able to live without it! :)

And...Where are we? Oh, we are talking about zoo ;) After taking lunch on a bench, I went into a zone covered by wire dome. There were hundreds of birds in it, and you can walk inside.

 Looks like a toy, I thought because of his wonderful color. But I like him :D

 Leaving from there and took a short walk, then,

 Wow, they're looking. For what? Well, I found later that they all stared at a door which the feeder shows up. That's why they were so earnest.

She seems cute, however,

 "I just finished hunting." She still has a spirit of wildness you know.

I remember days spending in East Africa anytime looking at giraffes :)

In closing...

 They have a dome for butterfly ;) I found a board of notification that says over 2,000 of them were freed in it last month. Small, big, and colorful. While I was taking pictures, some butterflies came close at me to land.

 Tama Zoo is not easy to access from main stations such as Tokyo, Shinjuku. If you want to visit a zoo near from them, simply go to Ueno Zoo. Still, I prefer Tama Zoo because of its largeness yet not so many people even in weekends.  I'll surely visit there again :)


Somewhere in Sibuya, Tokyo.

I have lots of stories to write here, but due to these busy days, I can't! Next Time! Let me show you something fun :)


Before going to the hospital.

 After spending extraordinary busy days, I finally got back here. Not working, but because I had been doing what I wanted to.

 Do you tell what kind of drink it is? It says, "Citrus ichangensis (Yuzu, we say, lemon like fruit.), green tea and soda." The mixture of green tea and soda?? Then added that flavor? No way for me! :)

 A dinner sometime last week. It was Korean and so forth, yes, I'm Korean food fan ;)

He's always in front of my house's door. I brought it from East Africa in 2007, old time, you know. It's called Makonde, as you may know. I always like the style of it and I first saw it in 2006, when I was on tour as a fresh student in a university, and all of fresh students were sent to somewhere in a hotel to get to know each other. On the way to get there, the bus suddenly stopped at a museum named "Makonde Art Museum". I had no idea what Makonde was at that time. I'm a person who still can't see the value of most of the arts. But Makonde inspired me a lot. I stood before each one for a long time. I didn't think I was going to visit Tanzania and Makonde village while there that time. Just one year later, I was there. Probably that museum somehow led me there :)

 Rain, cloud, then....

Everything's gonna be alright :)


Shinkansen on weekends.

 Riding on Shinkansen (or bullet train) on weekends is something fun for me.  Many people seem just relaxed, chatting with their companions, drinking a beer or two, eating boxed meals called Ekiben (see this post about it), or just sleeping. You can see many colorful luggages above.
 'Not like commuting hours.' I tell myself. When you ride on it at commuting hours, most passengers wear suit, keep staring at their laptops all the way. I'm only one who wear T-shirt and jeans like always, and taking some pictures from a window such times.

 I'm not interested in Shinkansen itself. Nor machines such as trains. But I like moving from one to the next. Probably this is why I keep coming back to my hometown Nagoya every month. I can't... be standing-still.

 Anyway, I enjoyed the mood in it, the weekend's Shinkansen. I'm not even sure what I was doing during the ride, haha :D