Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Aomori ・ Hakodate - Day 2 (Hotel & Motomachi Area) / 青森・函館 ‐ 二日目(ホテルと元町エリア)

After finishing lunch, it was off to our hotel - the Yunokawa Prince Hotel [Nagisa Tei]. I had already told my parents that we reserved a room for them that comes with it's own outdoor bath and has a view of the ocean.


View from my parents room / 両親の部屋からの眺め

Just getting my feet wet / 両親の部屋の露天風呂で軽く足湯

It was still light out so us kids decided to let Mom and Dad rest while we went exploring a bit more of Hakodate. My wife has been to Hakodate many times before and said my sister shouldn't miss out on seeing the sites around the Motomachi area including the Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward, the Hakodate Russian Orthodox Church and the Motomachi Roman Catholic Church. Afterwards, we would go back to the hotel for dinner then head out once again (with parents in tow) to check out Hakodate's Million Dollar Night View from the top of Hakodateyama.

まだ晴れてたもんで、両親をホテルにおいて三人で町の探索に出かけました。美香子が何回も函館に来たことあるので、妹に元町エリアは絶対行くべきと言いました。そこに見所がいっぱい ‐ 函館ハリsツオス正教会、カトリック元町教会、旧函館区公会堂等。観光したあとはホテルに戻って、夕食を食べて、その後、みんなで函館山からの世界三大夜景と言われる場所に行く。

Motomachi Roman Catholic Church / カトリック元町教会

Hakodate Russian Orthodox Church (doesn't look all that great with all the scaffolding) / 函館ハリストス正教会 (修理中であんまり魅力的に感じないでしょ)

What the church looks like without the scaffolding / 本当はこうゆ感じです

Hachiman Slope / 八幡坂

Showa style building / 昭和を感じさせる建物

Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward / 旧函館区公会堂

Inside the Old Public Hall with my sister / 妹と一緒に旧函館区公会堂の中

A sign said this was the Emperor's toilet and bathroom / ここは大正天皇の便所と浴室と書かれたサインがありました

Concert Hall / 大広間

On the balcony of the Old Public Hall / 旧函館区公会堂のバルコニー

View from the balcony / バルコニーからの眺め

Me and my sister with our entertaining taxi driver/guide / 面白いタクシーの運転手

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Aomori ・ Hakodate - Day 2 (Lunch) / 青森・函館 ‐ 2日目 (昼食)

One of the things my mother was looking forward to on her trip to Japan was to eat a lot of delicious seafood. Hakodate not only being in Hokkaido, which is known for its seafood, it is also a port town so we went in search of place to satisfy her desire (unfortunately for my father who is not a big fan of seafood). At the Red Brick Warehouses, we came across a restaurant called [Kikuyo Shokudo].

お母さんが日本に来て、一番の楽しみは海の幸を食べることでした。海の幸と言えば北海道でしょう。函館も港の町なので、お母さんが満足出来る様なレストランを探しました (お父さんはシーフードちょっと苦手なんでちょっと可哀そうと思った)。赤レンガ倉庫群に「きくよ食堂」を発見。この店に決定。

Fortunately, the menu did have salmon on the menu, one of the few fish that my father enjoys every now and then. Mom was in her own world looking over the menu having a hard time on deciding what to choose. My sister was also in "what to choose" mode. My wife ordered one of her favorite dishes, a seafood bowl with sea urchin, salmon roe, and scallops. I ordered the tempura plate. Mom decided on the sashimi platter while my sister went with the fatty portion of grilled salmon.


The Sashimi Platter / 刺身の盛り合わせ

3 Color Seafood Bowl / 三色丼

Salmon / 鮭

Sister's order / 妹の注文

Salmon (feat. a more fatty portion) / 鮭ハラス焼き

Tempura / 天ぷら

After lunch, we took our father to a place more to his liking - the Hanabatake Farms shop for ice cream with fresh hot caramel topping. Delish! Then we walked around the Red Brick Warehouses a little more, exchanged some money at a bank, and finally headed to our hotel - Nagisa Tei.


Foot bath at the Red Brick Warehouses / 赤レンガ倉庫群にある足湯

(Some pics, courtesy of my sister / 妹が撮った写真もアップしてます)

Hakodate Fairies (Summer and Winter) / 函館妖精 (夏と冬)

Aomori ・ Hakodate - Day 2 (Part 1) / 青森・函館 ‐ 2日目 (パート1)

We were up early on the second day as we were catching a train to take us to Hakodate. I purposely did not inform my father that train connecting Honshu to Hokkaido is through a tunnel built under the ocean! It's called the seikan tunnel and is currently the longest tunnel in the world. At Aomori station, we had to do a couple of tourist shots with the miniature Nebuta float displayed.


Dad and Mom / お父さんとお母さん

This is just a small version of a Nebuta float / 本体のネブタはこれより10倍位でっかい

Our train to Hakodate


I'm a guy, I like things like trains / 男なので、乗り物が好き、つい写真撮りますね

Sign at Kanita Station, "Kanita is a pretty windy city" -Osamu Dazai

The family in Hakodate / 函館到着

Modern Art? / モダーンアート?

Streetcars still run through Hakodate, I liked this retro looking one / 函館にまだ都電が走ってます、これは結構レトロな感じですね

A more modern type / もっとモダーンなやつ

Gotta love the ads / 都電を使っての広告

As our hotel check-in wasn't until 3:00pm, we first checked out an area where the Red Brick Warehouses are located. We also decided to have lunch there as well.


Red Brick Warehouses / 赤レンガ倉庫群

Hakodateyama in the background, we will be headed up there in the evening to check out what's said to be Hakodate's Million Dollar Night View / 函館山、夜に行く予定。世界三大夜景の一つと言われてるのが、この函館です

To be con't...


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Aomori ・ Hakodate - Day 1 / 青森・函館 - 一日目

I apologize for neglecting my blog but as of today, my parents are headed back to the States (they're probably flying somewhere over the Pacific as I write this). And now for my continuation of our excursion up north. Our plan for the first day of being in Aomori was to go to my mother-in-law's house, relax a while, and then head out to a restaurant called "Stamina Taro". It's an all-you-can-eat yakiniku place featuring a variety of meats and vegetables, and also serves sushi, udon, and a lot of other items as well. The place even has a machine where you can make your own cotton candy!


Half the fun of this restaurant is picking out what you want to grill at your table and here I am making my choices.


Meat, meat, and more meat! / 肉、肉、肉!

So much to choose from / 並べてるものが豊富です

Bon Appetit! / いただきます!

I tried posting a video clip of Mikako making cotton candy, but the file wasn't compatible with this blogsite and the video file converters I tried were unsuccessful as well. Tomorrow, we will be headed up to Hakodate.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

On the way to Aomori / 青森行き

Here is my sister at Tokyo Station. She couldn't believe Ichiro is in a commercial ad. Apparently he doesn't give interviews to the American media and does not do any commercials in the U.S.


We are now waiting the doors to open on our train. This is the Hayate which will take us to Aomori.


Just a few more minutes of waiting / あとちょっとで出発

One of the pleasures of riding the shinkansen is eating eki-ben (station bentos). Today I treated myself to a "30 item balanced bento".


Lets see - the bento includes chicken, squash, rice, paprika, carrots, and a bunch of other healthy stuff!

My eki-ben / 僕の駅弁

Family on the train / 電車の中の家族

On our way...