Nimoko’s Nippon Blog – Kyoto

Konnichi wa minna!

The last but beautiful stop during my Japan trip is Kyoto! It was the most beautiful city I have visited so far, very traditional, with so much nature and many temples and shrines that give you so much peace in your heart.

First of all, I’d like to show you pictures of Kyoto’s beautiful temples and shrines. Of course there are many others but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to visit them all …

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Washing your hands before prayer is a Japanese tradition
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When Japanese people pray, they can make a wish and write it on a small paper or piece of wood
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These small wooden boards are called Ema
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This seems do be a traditional ritual but unfortunately I couldn’t find out the meaning of it 😩
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A beautiful small Japanese shrine
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The entrance of a Japanese palace in the middle of a park in Kyoto
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The temple itself

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I love these Japanese gardens, so peaceful and green …

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Japanese cemeteries look quite different from the ones we know in Europe. More crowded, but very peaceful though …
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The beautiful view over Kyoto from a cemetery near the temple on a mountain.
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Do you remember these traditional Japanese kimonos from my first blog entry? They are seen all over Kyoto and tourists can rent them in many shops.
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The famous Teramachi shopping street in Kyoto

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So many small shops with traditional Japanese food. I loved exploring them!
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And soooooo much Sakura (cherry blossom) flavored food <3<3
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Some shrines can even be found within the shopping areas
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I just had to capture this little puppet temple with the kawaii dancing puppet Miko (priestess) ❀
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View over the Kamogawa (Kamo river) in Kyoto

 

So this was my last entry in my Nippon blog and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did ^^ if you ever get the chance to travel to Japan, I highly recommend it to you!

Ja nee minna! <3<3

Nimoko’s Nippon Blog – Universal Studios Osaka

During my journey through Japan, I also visited the famous Universal Studios in Osaka, which I must say are really awesome! Let me give you a small Tour through the most famous movies in the world!IMG_5304IMG_5305DSC00635Harry Potter IMG_5318

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Visit the famous Diagon Alley and you will feel the movie itself! It is so realistic!
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At Honeyduke’s you find all the sweets and treats of the Wizarding World! And even some cool tricks and gadgets to play with!

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The famous chocolate frogs that actually include the collectors cards of famous wizards and witches!
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Take a pin of Butterbeer or Pumpkin Juice at the Three Broomsticks! I tried some Pumpin Juice and it was quite delicious 🙂

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The well known Pub Scenery where Harry, Ron, Hermione and their friends often meet…
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Take a glance into the mirror of Erised. What will you see?

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Don’t miss Olivander’s when you start your magical journey because every wizard or witch needs a wand 🙂
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Well, the Weasley’s flying car… always there when you need it 😀

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I have FINALLY come to Hogwarts! Yayyyy!! 😀

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The Hogwarts Express at the Mogsmeade Station!
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Hogwarts Castle is such an impressive sight, it’s real size and looks so realistic. Couldn’t stop taking pictures of it…
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Do you know the password to Albus Dumbledore’s Office?

Jurassic Parc

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I always loved Dinosaurs and the famous movie series Jurassic Park!

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This moving and sound making Raptor was amazing!

IMG_5332IMG_5334IMG_5348Jaws

 

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Who doesn’t know the shark movies? I think sharks are really fascinating!

IMG_5328The Minions

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I see yellow…
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…jiggling yellow…
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…jiggling yellow minions everywhere!

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This is just too cool xD

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Traditional Japanese Crùpes in Detective Conan Design 😀 Sooo delicious!

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Well that’s it! I really recommend to visit the Universal Studios if you ever travel to Osaka, it is worth it!

Ja nee! 😀

Nimoko’s Nippon Blog – Tokyo One Piece Tower

Every one knows that Tokyo Tower is a City Highlight for Sightseeing in Tokyo. But for Otakus, there is much more than just a wonderful sight above the City. Let me show you that part of the tower where you can go on adventure with Captain Luffy

and his Crew of the famous anime ONE PIECE!

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On the Ground Floor of Tokyo Tower you find a large One Piece themed shop with lots of merchandise and interesting exposed pieces of the series.
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In this shop you find everything that a One Piece fan heart is longing for…. 😀
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Going Mary
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This is kind of funny- Captured Usopp xD
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This is a must-have-been for every One Piece Fan: Sanji’s Restaurant!
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Taste the love out of every dish in Sanji’s own restaurant ❀
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A real highlight of the tour is this room where you find the whole crew in lifesize scale having a big party and having fun together.

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You will never feel closer to your One Piece heros than here…
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Additional decoration like glass bottles and realistic looking food make the scene even come more to life…
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They are all partying hard XD
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The life-sized Franky was indeed really huge :O
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Every one’s having a good time but these two guys are arguing as usual 😀 Curious what they could be fighting about…
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I love this little guy ❀
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On the upper floors you have several character related Games you can join. This can be really fun!

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My favorite one: Brook wants you to fight a zombie by putting a tennis ball in his mouth. xD
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Sanji in the kitchen. This was really cool and the pot was boiling!
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Menemenemenemeneeeee!! Someone should pick up the snail 😀

 

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Surely every One Piece Fan remembers this scene where your heart broke in pieces… even worse seeing it in Life-size… 😩

 

I hope you enjoyed the tour through the One Piece Tower and I really recommend to visit it when you ever get near by ^^

Kiwotsukete ne!

Nimoko’s Nippon Blog – Japanese Theme CafĂ©s

Konnichi wa minna!

I am sure you already heard about Theme Cafés in Japan? These are Cafés about a special topic where they serve food and drinks related to this design.

I will introduce two different types of theme cafĂ©s to you today, although there are much more. In Japan, there are no limits to fantasy and fancy ideas of cafĂ©s 🙂

Let’s start with the typical maid CafĂ©!

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At Maid Cafés, you are served by Maids, wearing cute outfits and hairstyles. You can take pictures with the girls by paying a small account.
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Maid Cafés are mostly designed with cute furniture and colorful wall decoration, kawai (cute) stuff and have a stage for the Maids to make a cute show. Often they sing and dance.
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In Maid CafĂ©s everything is kawai :3 even food. It often looks too cute to eat and is always as sweet as it looks like 😀

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When your kawai food is served, the Maids often play games with you or give you small gadgets to entertain the customers and give you an all-round “Kawai” Feeling. It is always a pleasant experience and is highly recommended by me 😀 (Photos taken at MaiDreamin Akihabara)

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Check out the Theme Song and Dance of MaiDreamin! It is really cool and you hear that song all around Akihabara 😀

 

The next Theme CafĂ© I experienced myself was a Cat CafĂ©! In this cafĂ© you don’t pay your drinks and food, you pay for the time you spend. It is all you can drink and counted per hour or every 20 minutes you spend in the cafĂ©. The main topic is cats, so there are cats running around free and you can pet them. If they need their free space, the cafĂ© has many possibilities to climb onto a higher point of view where the visitors can’t reach them.

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So many places to hide and take a nap for the little fur balls 😀 You can watch them and have e nice cup of tea.
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If you wish to feed the furry little friends, you have the possibility to buy some treats at the cafĂ©. It definitely increases their interest for you 😀
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In Cat CafĂ©s you have got some rules to follow: The fur balls are used to visitors, but have their own mind. You are not allowed to lift them or carry them around. Also food brought from outside is prohibited. They have also very strict hygienic rules as washing hands, taking of the shoes before entering…
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If you follow those simple rules and are not allergic to these little fluffy guys, you will definitely spend a good time at the Cat Cafés. (Photos taken at Mocha Cat Café Shibuya)

Nimoko’s Nippon Blog – The Story of Hachiko

 

Have you ever heard of the famous dog Hachiko? Surely you have, as he has been very popular since the 1920s. He actually became so famous that his story has been adapted unto the screen several times already.

 

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For the ones who don’t know, let me tell you the story of this unbelievable faithful dog…

Once upon a time, in 1924, a Japanese professor in agriculture science at Tokyo University named Ueno Eizaburo adopted a small Akita puppy. He called him Hachiko or Hachi and soon the two of them became best friends.

 

 

 

 

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Hachiko as a puppy, only a few weeks old …

 

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Hachiko waiting for his friend at Shibuya Station

 

As Hachiko grew older, he started to memorise the times when his best friend Eizaburo went to work and when his train from work returned at Shibuya station in Tokyo. So he began to bring him to the train station and waited for him to return in the evening every single day.

It’s a very sad story that gained a lot of attention, inspiring many people to visit Hachiko and give him treats. They called him “Chuken-Hachiko” which means faithful dog.

 

 

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On the left: Shibuya station in the 1920s, on the right: Shibuya station today

But one fateful day, when Hachiko was only two years old, he was sitting as usual at the exit of Shibuya station but his best friend didn’t come home. Eizaburo had died  unexpectedly by a cerebral haemorrhage at work.

Hachiko was adopted by a member of the Ueno family but he still didn’t give up hope for his buddy to return. Throughout the rest of his ten-year-old life and until his death in 1935, he waited at the exit of Shibuya station every single day grieving for his best friend, who would never return to him


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Hachiko died alone in the streets near Shibuya station. Many people were grieving for him as he was loved by the citizens of Shibuya.

 

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Hachiko Memorial in front of Shibuya Station

In honour of him several memorials were built such as the one in front of  Shibuya Station Exit and the one next to Eizaburos tomb at Aoyama Graveyard in Tokyo.

 

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Memorial of Hachiko at Eizaburo’s tomb

 

So in the end the two inseparable friends were finally reunited and can rest in peace forever.

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The only existing picture of Eizaburo and Hachiko together

+ In Memory of Ueno Eizaburo and Hachiko, best friends forever … +

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nimoko’s Nippon Blog – Akihabara

Konnichi-wa minna!

Today I am going to show you the part of Tokyo that makes every Anime-Boy and -Girl’s heart beat faster: Akihabara! You find everything you need, from Anime figures and plushes to dolls, pillows, clear files…

Akihabara is also popular for Anime Second-hand shops, where you can find some very rare treasures 🙂 Let me give you a glance of Tokyo’s Anime paradise!

 

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In Akiba (short version of Akihabara) everything is anime-themed. Even building decorations…
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My first reaction arriving at Akiba was just over-excitement. So much to explore…
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It took us three full days to see most of Akihabara, as there are many shops several floors high…
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Just a small impression of an Anime Shop…
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Taito Stations are the most popular for UFO Catching! Some machines contain figures, others plushes or other anime goods. I can’t say which one is the most easy to handle, as I am very bad at all of this 😀
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I saw that it is indeed possible to figure it out well, but it needs a lot of practice and 100 Yen coins 😀
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These Pikachus are just too kawaii (cute)!!
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Do you remember the Gashapon machines I told you about? In Akiba you’ve got plenty of them so that there are even shops specialized to these little Gashapon balls!
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Second-hand shops in Akiba. For me the most interesting ones. You can find very rare items and even Anime merch in very good condition but less expensive. Really worth visiting!

IMG_5462I hope you enjoyed the small trip to Tokyo’s Anime heaven!

 

Kiwotsukete ne! (Take care of yourself!)

Nimoko’s Nippon Blog – About Japanese Culture

Konnichi wa minna! (Hello guys)

I had the chance to travel through the beautiful country of Japan during the last two weeks and I wanted to give you some impressions I got about this beautiful landscape and culture. At First, I will give you a brief impression of the country and its culture, before I give you a deeper sight to different Cities and places I got to explore ^^.

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Traditional Japanese Houses are kept small, made of Bamboo and wood. They are mostly seen in smaller cities or country sides. I saw a lot of them in Kyoto.

 

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A great part of the Japanese Culture that many of us really appreciate is Anime and Manga! There are so many different Anime types and much merchandise for every taste.
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As Anime and Manga makes a big part of the Japanese Culture, you can see it spread everywhere throughout the cities. For example on buses and trains.
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This is something I have only seen in Japan and it’s really cool 😀 Ufo-Catching! It is all about trying to catch an Anime Good by grabbing it. One try is 100 Yen. But it is quite tricky.
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Gashapon machines are also quite popular in Japan. You see them everywhere, especially in Akihabara. For the cost of 200 to 400 yen you can get a plastic ball containing a sweet little toy. There are many different types to collect.
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One of the biggest passion of many Japanese people: Pachinko Halls. They are countless and spread all over Japan. Many Anime Themed Gaming Machines building long lines give occasion of spending your money in a playful way. It might be similar to our casinos.

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These “Koi no bori”  are decorative and traditional Japanese flags in shape of a carp and exist in many different colors. Captured at the Entrance of Tokyo Tower.
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Your surely have seen these little dudes before, Japanese carps called “Koi” They are very appreciated in Japan and mostly quite expensive.
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If you ever make a trip to Japan, you will see many people wearing these mouthprotection. There are different reasons why they are worn: Because of self-protection against infections, or to prevent others of your own infection. Japanese people are very hygienic and protective. Even if it might look weird for us, I think it is quite effective.
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A small Graveyard shrine.
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You might have seen Japanese Graveyards in Anime. Compared with European ones they seem very crowded as Japan has a much higher population. Usually, if someone dies, they are burnt and their ashes are buried in “Haka“, which mean family Graves.
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On the Gravestone itself is only written the family name. Small pieces of wood with dedications to every family member, the “ihai” are placed in front of the Gravestone.
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85 % of the Japanese people are Buddhists. They make their prayers at Buddhist shrines and temples.
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Many shrines or temples are decorated with “ChĂ”chin“, Japanese Lanterns usually colored in white or red made of Japanese “washi” paper. You can buy lucky charms and protective goods.
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I absolutely love these traditional Japanese clothes. These are Kimonos mostly worn by “Maikos“. Maikos undergo a five-year training of dancing, singing and playing traditional Japanese insruments, just as the “shamisen” to entertain people during a traditional tea ceremony. It is a very hard training.

 

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Japan is also very popular for its Cherry Blossoms. The Japanese call them “Sakura” and use them as an ingredient for Food and Drinks as in beauty. Cherry Blossom Tea is very tasty.
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A traditional Japanese Sword is called “Katana“. They are very old and popular of the Japanese Swordsmen “Samurai”. There are many differtent types.
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In Japan, many Restaurants show samples of their dishes in windows. These are usually plastic made and look almost like real. Very convenient for tourists, if they can’t read the Japanese writing, they can choose their dishes from the windows.
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Now I am going to introduce some Japanese food to you. In Japan, traditional food is mostly fresh-made and hand-made. Often you can watch the preparation.
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These fish shaped cakes are usually filled with red soy bean paste or other sweets like chocolate or jam. They are called “Taiyaki
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At “Candy Show time” a candy shop in Japan, you can watch people make the traditional “Kintaro-ame” candys which you can purchase in different colors and shapes.
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They are shaped to long tubes and then cut to small roud pieces. Mostly made of colored sugar.
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This was captured in Kyoto in a very traditional bakery. A man making cookies with Japanese black beans. They are quite tasty.
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Food in Japan is usually not expensive but often freshly made, what makes it so special and tasty.
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You surely have seen this dish before. A traditional Noodle Soup called “Ramen“. It is served in a big bowl, containing Japanese noodles, meat, seaweed, eggs and vegetables.
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Another Japanese Food tradition which is very similar to our well known Barbecue. The “Yakiniku“. I have tried it myself. You can choose out of different meats and prepare it over a fire by yourself. Nice experience 🙂
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This is one of my favorite Japanese food. It is called “Tenpura“. Fried shrimps, fish or vegetables that are also often served with Ramen.
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Ever seen Anime characters eating these? Sure, as they are very popular especially for teenagers. Octopus Balls “Takoyaki” usually toppd with soy sauce.
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This is one of the main ingredients for any dishes in Japan next to Soy Beans: Rice. So many dishes and desserts are made with rice, like Sushi or…
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…these famous snacks called “Onigiri“. They are filled with fish or meat.
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Next to Soy Beans and Rice, Japanese people eat very much fish and sea food. They can fleshly be purchased at Japanese Food Markets.
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Another very traditional good of Japan is Rice Wine. It is often served at meals. Different from Chinese Rice Wine, it is less strong in taste and alcohol. They call it “Sake“.

 

Well,  that’s it for now. I hope you got a small impression of Japanese food and Culture. I will show you more of my Japanese Adventure next time.

Ja nee! 🙂