Archive for the 'Vacation' Category

Japan 2016, part 5: Morioka and Wanko Soba

October 5th, 2016

In Japan, many cities have a food that they’re known for, and it becomes a thing that people bring back as a souvenir or as a touristy thing that they try when they visit. For example, back in part 3, I wrote about how Sendai is known for gyutan (beef tongue), and there are a ton of gyutan restaurants throughout the city.

On August 7th, we took a day trip from Sendai to Morioka, which is 40 minutes away by Shinkansen (bullet train). What is Morioka known for? Noodles! To be specific, it’s known for jajamen (based off of Chinese Zhajiangmien), reimen (based off of Korean Naengmyeon), and wanko soba. Wanko soba is the one that interested us the most, so we went to Morioka just to try it.

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Japan 2016, part 4: Tanabata Festival

September 20th, 2016

The Tanabata Festival is celebrated throughout Japan, but depending on the region, the date may differ due to different calendars (Gregorian or Lunar). The largest one takes place in Sendai in August, which we were able to go to!

The story behind the festival is actually inspired by a Chinese one. A princess, Orihime, worked hard to weave beautiful clothes by the heavenly river (the Milky Way) but was sad that she couldn’t fall in love. Seeing this, her father introduced her to Hikoboshi, a cow herder from the other side of the river. They fell in love instantly and both stopped doing their jobs. This angered Orihime’s father, and he forbade them from being together, separating them with the Milky Way. Orihime pleaded with him, so he allowed them to meet once a year on the 7th day of the 7th month. That day is the Tanabata Festival!

In Sendai, the festival runs from August 6-8, with fireworks on August 5th. That night, we headed to Nishi Park to check out the festivities and fireworks.

The park was so packed! It was filled with rows and rows of food stands, and many people were also picking out spots to watch fireworks from. Police had closed off streets nearby, so people could watch from there too.

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Japan 2016, part 3: Zao Fox Village

September 12th, 2016

Like I had written in part 2, this was my second time visiting Tokyo, but my first time visiting Sendai! I wanted to explore a new part of Japan and chose the Tohoku region in the north with Sendai as the base city to do things from.

We didn’t do much on August 4th. We basically hung around Tokyo, took a 1.5 hour Shinkansen (bullet train) to Sendai, and then relaxed in Sendai. Before leaving Tokyo, we had lunch at Kiji, an okonomiyaki place I found as a recommend (Bib Gourmand) in the Michelin Guide. Okonomiyaki is a savory Japanese pancake, and we ordered a beef tendon one, a pork kimchi one, and an omelette with yaki soba (fried noodles) inside. The beef tendon was the best okonomiyaki I’ve had so far!

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