Saturday, November 28, 2009

TABASCO SODA? / タバスコ・コーラー?

The small print that says "Makka no Uso" means "A Big Lie". This is not Tabasco Cola, its cola in a bottle made to look like Tabasco. Tastes like cola as well.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Abu-san / あぶさん

Continuing with my Kinugawa Hot Spring story, once we returned to Tokyo, it was dinner time. Yukio took us to an izakaya called "Abu-san" that he used to frequent and is very popular with sports athletes and television stars alike. We didn't see any however Mikako has been here before and has seen a few celebrities. Oh, I wasn't familiar, but "Abu-san" is a manga about baseball featuring the Daiei Hawks. I guess you have to be a maniac about Japanese baseball to understand. But I'm only going to feature the food.


Yukio said we coudn't come to Abu-san and not try their spicy tripe dish. I'm not a big fan of offal but I must say, this was quite delicious.


However, I love tomatoes and I love meat. So when I saw tomatoes wrapped in meat on the menu, of course I had to order it.


This is a favorite dish of Mikako's. Dried manta ray fin (not shark fin!).


The yaki-udon was tasty as well. Yukio also suggested mixing the tripe in with the udon which gave the dish a different flavor.


Chicken Nanban is pretty standard dish at izakayas, its just chicken nuggets topped with a type of cream sauce. Goes well with beer.


Reiko wanted something refreshing so she ordered the tomato dish. It looks like one whole tomato, but its actually sliced into pieces and covered with herbs and olive oil.


We also ordered some salmon carpaccio for a change of pace.


As Yukio knew the owner of the place, he joined us for a short spell and brought out some shochu from Miyazaki that wasn't listed on the menu. Very smooth tasting shochu - even though I prefer Nihon-shu myself.


Long time employee and acquaintance of Yukio's - Makoto-san. As you can see in the background, the izakaya is full of pictures of baseball players and other celebrities. The table we were sitting at which also served as a display case was a bunch of signed baseballs as well as the bat and batting glove of Seattle Mariner's superstar - Ichiro.


Bon Appetit!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Japanese Microbrew Tour - Tochigi Prefecture / 日本地ビールツアー ‐ 栃木県

As we spent last weekend at Kinungawa Hotsprings in Tochigi Prefecture, I had to go in search of the prefecture's microbrew. Luck was on my side as I found some Nikko Beer. I tried the three styles - black, lager (which I drank at the hotel), and the Syu which I tried at home. Me, I enjoyed the black beer (as I'm a big fan of dark beers). The Syu wasn't bad either. The lager was average, nothing to write home about.


Nikko Beer (Black) / 日光ビール (ブラック)

Nikko Beer / 日光ビール

Nikko Beer (Syu) / 日光ビール (Syu)

Bottoms Up!


Handmade Soba [Hama Ichi] / 石挽手打ちそば「浜一」

Okay, okay, this isn't a ramen shop. It is a soba shop called [Hama Ichi]. As dinner and breakfast are served at the hotel when we stayed in Kinugawa, we had to look elsewhere to eat lunch. Although, we were hoping to eat some ramen, the only ramen shop we came across was closed. So we settled for soba instead. There wasn't anything special about this place, but it wasn't bad either. I had the maitake mushroom soba, while Mikako ordered the sansai (mountain vegetables) soba. Reiko had the store specialty kamo tsuke soba while Yukio went with the zaru soba with a mini katsudon as well.


Maitake Mushroom Soba / 舞茸そば

Mountain Veggie Soba / 山菜そば

Kamo Nanban Tsuke-men / 鴨南蛮つけ麺

Zaru Soba / ざるそば

Mini Pork Cutlet Bowl / ミニカツ丼

Bon Appetit!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Kinugawa Onsen Tour (Part 6) / 鬼怒川温泉旅行 (パート6)

More pics from the top of the observation deck.


Heading back down to the bridge.


It was nearing our time to head back to the station to catch the train that would take us back to Tokyo. But as we still had a little time, we checked out all the gift shops and went back to the foot bath at the station. We did more hiking today and could really use a soak in the bath - unfortunately, I little trip was about to end.


Enjoying the foot bath!


And so ended our hot spring trip.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kinugawa Onsen Tour (Part 5) / 鬼怒川温泉旅行 (パート5)

Waiting for the tram as we say good-bye to Monkey Mountain.


Off the mountain we go.


Once we were down the mountain, we went to a little shop that kindly watched our luggage. The shop also featured a small fishing pond so we tried our hand at catching some trout. Unfortunately, Yukio, Reiko and I couldn't make a single catch.


Trying to catch trout in the tiny fish pond.




The Fish Pond / 釣り堀

Then it was time to finish our tour of the bridges.


Standing Kinuta / 鬼怒太 「立鬼(りつき)」

View of Tateiwa Bridge / 立岩橋

Kinugawa River / 鬼怒川

Heading to our last bridge.


View of Kinutateiwao Suspension Bridge / 鬼怒楯岩大吊橋

Another view of the river.


More views of the bridge.


The following pictures of the Kinugawa River were taken from the standing in the middle of the bridge.


Looks like somebody has a major fear of heights.

We finally visited the last Kinuta as well.


Standing Kinuta / 鬼怒太 「楯鬼(たておに)」

Once we crossed the bridge, there was a sign pointing to a waterfall viewpoint and an observation viewpoint. Both were only 5 minutes walking distance. By this time, we figured it was too late to head to the Tobu World Square and enjoy it so we opted to check out the observation deck.


Looking back at the bridge as we make our way to the observation deck.


We had to walk through this tunnel to get to the observation deck.


Inside the tunnel.


Oh no! More climbing!! But before we made our way to the observation deck, we checked out the small shrine called the "Tateiwa Kinu Hime Shrine".

うわ~ また登りだ!! でもその前に「楯岩鬼怒姫神社」にお参りする。

Video clip taken from the top of the observation deck.