Yokohama – The Seaside Town as the Precise Embodiment of Pleasantville – Part 1


One of the things that make Japan will never run out of visitors to come is because Japan doesn’t only have Tokyo to offer to the visitors. Though I must agree that Tokyo is the most popular destination in there, beside Osaka and Kyoto, it doesn’t make that Japan only has those three cities to compete with the other country in terms of tourism. If last week I decided to cover Fukuoka, a beautiful city located on Kyushu Island, today I’m going back to the main island, which is Honshu Island, to cover a pleasant city that will make you start to like that city as soon as you arrive there because of the relaxed and the serene atmosphere inside that city. The city that I’m talking about is Yokohama, the seaside city where “harbour of the future” lies inside there. Continue reading

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100 Flavors of Japanese Ice Cream


A soft cream shop in Iwakuni (Photo Credit: Vicki M. Thiem)

If you ever go to a soft cream stand in Japan, you’ll see the standard flavors: vanilla, chocolate, vanilla + chocolate. But depending on where you are, you might see many more flavors than that.

Dozens of soft cream flavors  (Photo Credit: Vicki M. Thiem)

Some of the flavors seem like common sense to have: strawberry, cherry, banana, orange, even coffee, and a swirl of any of these combined plus vanilla or chocolate. Others of them seem odd, but you want to try them because they’re unusual and kind of cool sounding: flan pudding, lamune, cola, green tea, melon, pumpkin, chestnut, rose, etc.

And then there are those that seem right out. Black sesame? Tofu? Wasabi? Soy sauce? All manners of seafood? What? Are the Japanese intent on being weird?

First, an advice for life: don’t knock it until you try it. Second, in America, everyone is intent on bacon-flavored everything, so the Japanese aren’t just being weird. This is part of their culture.

Many of the most bizarre ice cream flavors you’ll come across is region-oriented. In the Hagi area, for instance, not only will you stumble upon natsumikan-flavored ice cream, but blowfish-flavored ice cream as well. In towns where they pride themselves on their wasabi, they’ll boast the flavor with wasabi ice cream. I first tried black sesame ice cream in Nara, where the flavor could be found at every soft cream stand, and for the record, it’s now my most favorite ice cream in the world. Many of these flavors are easy enough to find in other parts of Japan as well; at Asakusa, for instance, they also have an extensive list of ice cream flavors to include tofu and black sesame.

It’s also a good way to make more money off of tourists, as the weirdest flavors are often located at big tourists sights. What better way to get people traveling from far and wide to spend money than introducing them to something completely outrageous, so outrageous they have to try it? Even locals may balk at the strange flavor before them and then let curiosity overcome them as they fork over the 100, 200, 500 yen for the ice cream cone.

The strange flavors go beyond the soft cream stands, however. Google “Japanese ice cream” or “strange ice cream flavors” and you’ll see that the Japanese take a step further in their supermarkets. Prawn ice cream, squid ice cream, eel ice cream, you name it, they have it. And they must sell moderately well as these aren’t necessarily rarities, either. Apparently, they’re tastier than you think they would be. Unusual, for sure, and nothing like you’ve ever tasted before, but not mazui.

For any traveler to Japan, the surest sign of your adventurous spirit is your willingness to try the strangest ice cream flavor you can find. Don’t be afraid; these flavors have stuck around for a reason, after all. Who knows, maybe like the green tea ice cream, some of these will eventually make their way into the Western world. I hope the black sesame ice cream is next myself.

Fukuoka – A Two Face City for a Break from the Busy Cities to the North


I have to agree that most of the beautiful and amazing cities in Japan are located on their largest island, which is Honshu Island, where Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are located. However, it doesn’t mean that the cities located on smaller islands around Honshu Island are less appealing compared to the cities on the mainland. One of the proofs for my sentence could be found in Fukuoka, which is a city of 1.5 million citizen that was as one of the most liveable city on earth. Great views, relaxing atmosphere, and rich in culture, Fukuoka is the place for those who wants to take a break from the fast-paced cities to the north. Continue reading

Natsumikan: A Hagi Favorite


As you travel around Japan, you will find that many cities and towns have souvenir shops for the traveler looking to buy something to bring home to remind them of their time spent away from home. Most of the time, these souvenirs are gifts, and believe me when I say that these souvenirs are beyond the level of, “My neighbor went to ____, and all I got was this stupid T-shirt!”

Oh, no, the Japanese are much more thoughtful than that, and it shows in their gift shops. Often, food products are the favorites to go for when purchasing souvenirs for family and friends, and there’s always a theme: what is that city or town most famous for, or what are they the most proud of?

In Hagi, a city in the Yamaguchi prefecture, there are two food products boasted about in their souvenir shops: the natsumikan and the blowfish. Hagi is also famous for their pottery, which is something you can also find touted about in their shops, but for today, let’s focus on the natsumikan, or, literally, the summer tangerine. Continue reading

Daikanyama – Stylistic, Cozy, and Serene Neighbour of Shibuya


Sarugaku, Daikanyama

During my trip to Tokyo, there are some areas that I really love, such as Shibuya, Harajuku, Ueno, and Daikanyama. I guess for the first three areas, Shibuya, Harajuku, and Ueno, most of you have known exactly about what are the things inside those areas and why those areas are famous, however, I think not a lot of people really have idea about what and where Daikanyama is. As one of the areas that caught my heart, Daikanyama is not as big or as popular as Shibuya or Harajuku, but Daikanyama has their kind of attractive points which are different from what Shibuya and Harajuku have. So, today let’s explore this Shibuya’s stylistic, cozy, and serene neighbour, Daikanyama. Continue reading

Top 7 Most Favourite Spots for the Couples in Tokyo!!! part 2


Hello guys! Today, I’m going to continue my previous post about the top destination spots for the couples in Tokyo! In the last post, I’ve covered 3 of the top destination spot and this time I’m going to finish it off to the number 7. For those who are curious about what kind of spots that usually be filled with couples in Tokyo, I hope that you can get the picture by reading this post! Don’t forget that I also add the example of the best place for each category just like in the last article (like Ueno Zoo, Disney Sea, and Shinjuku Picadilly). Moreover, I hope for the Japanese lovers, maybe this article could inspire you about the Tokyo romantic style that you often see in dorama, manga, or anime. So, off we go! Continue reading

Winter Wonderland – the Enchanting Christmas Illuminations in Tokyo!


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Roppongi

Hello everyone! How’s your Christmas day? I hope it was great since today, still in the mood for Christmas, I’m going to present you some pictures of the Christmas Illuminations that we can find in Tokyo!  Just as what I said in some previous posts, that the Christmas and year-end time is the best time to go travel around Tokyo! The reason is because there are so many glittering and enchanting Christmas Illuminations in every famous areas in Tokyo, such as Roppongi, Shiodome, Omotesando, etc that are going to transform the bustling, crowded metropolitan Tokyo into an amazing “Winter Wonderland”. So, get ready to see the magical romantic year-end that you can have in Tokyo! Continue reading