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Thursday, June 10, 2010

GW Day 5 Hitachi

On our last day, we drove from Iwaki City (いわき市) back to Tsuchiura (土浦) to return the car. On the way, we stopped by Rokkakudo (六角堂), a place where we planned to go on Day 2 but didn't have the time.

Rokkakudo which basically means a hexagonal room.

This room which faces the sea in the peaceful surroundings have been used by poets, philosophers and artists who come here to seek inspiration and to calm their minds.

Rabindranath Tagore, a famous Indian poet, novelist, musician, playwright and a Nobel prize winner, who reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, also came here.

Around the area, there were other monuments and a museum.

Carved out all from a block of wood.

Countries which were under the Japanese Occupation in World War II would probably be pissed off seeing monument.

The words on the monument basically means Asia as One, which was the ideology of Japan when they launched the "Greater East Asia War" as they called it.

The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was a concept created and promulgated by the government and military of Japan during the Second World War. This 'ideal' represented the desire to create a block of Asian nations led by the Japanese and free of Western powers.

After Rokkakudo, we stopped by a seaside cafe for lunch.


My salad lunch set. Olive oil with bread.

A plate of vegetables with this very interesting and delicious sauce as the dip.

Li Yan's bagel lunch set.

After lunch, we took a stroll down on the beach before heading back to Tsuchiura.

To sum it up, it was a relaxing Golden Week and it was a nice drive. Minus the fact that I had gastric pains for 2 days, it was a great trip. I definitely want to go back to the caves!

~ { 10:13 PM }
reflections @ 10:13 PM 2 comments

Sunday, June 6, 2010

GW Day 4 Minamiaizu

Since it was pitch black the night before when we arrived, I couldn't get any pictures then. By the way, it was so dark and the road leading to this guesthouse is really narrow, unlit and there weren't any signs, we actually took a wrong turn and turned into this guy's house. The owner happened to be outside and came over to us and was like "???". We then realized our mistake and apologized profusely before finding that narrow road.
Unfortunately again, we turned into the wrong guesthouse! Finally after some directions from the owner of the first guesthouse, we got to our intended destination.

Took some pictures of the guesthouse we stayed in the next morning.

The corridor leading to the shower, bath and outdoor onsen.

Stairs leading to the rooms.

Our breakfast!

Leaving the guesthouse, we headed towards Ouchijuku (大内宿), a famous historical site from the Edo period in Minamiaizu town. Ouchijuku is situated somewhere halfway up a mountain only about 15mins from the guesthouse we were staying at. However, we were caught in a jam for 2 hours! Poor Li Yan was at the wheel. I was still suffering from gastric and was in pain...
Took some pictures on the way up.

There was still snow at the top of the mountains in the foreground.

We finally reached, parked our car and walked towards the site.

This is so cool. By using the cold running streams from the top of the mountain, the shopkeepers cool their beverages. Natural fridge!

The shopkeepers use the water from the streams for everything. Cooling their beverages, washing their cutlery, etc.

After Ouchijuku, we drove to Li Yan's cousin's house to visit him, which was our main purpose of coming to Fukushima.

The sakura were at full bloom during our time there.

Matthew's (Li Yan's cousin) house.

He lives just next to the school.

After some catching up and lunch, Matthew brought us to Tou no Hetsuri (塔のへつり) which was a natural attraction in Minamiaizu.

A toad carved out of a tree trunk outside one of the shops.

The bridge is a suspension bridge.

View from the bridge.

View from the bridge.

View from the bridge.

View from the bridge.

View from the bridge.

After crossing the bridge, we walked on this ledge as seen above.

View from the ledge.

We then climbed up this flight of stairs.

View from the top.

It was a nice and relaxing day, minus the fact that I was still having gastric. However, there was a shop selling dried ginger slices coated with sugar at 塔のへつり and I bought it. It worked liked magic. I only ate a few slices and my gastric pains were gone.

After 塔のへつり, we went back to Matthew's house again and talked for some time before setting off for a three and a half hours drive to our next and final hotel which was in Iwaki City (いわき市).

~ { 6:41 PM }
reflections @ 6:41 PM 2 comments