Thursday, July 14, 2011

Try at least once: Fish overies

This wasn't that bad. In fact my overly pampered taste buds could not register any taste at all. You may feel awkward by its slimy touch though.

This dish is offered in many places (fish may be different) as shown in this picture.

You can see the yellow bunch in the center. That's what you eat. Of course you can have the fish too and at least for me, the fish had great taste compared to ovaries. You can take out the overies  in separate dish and put some soy sauce (Shoyu - 醤油)on the top.

Name: I forgot the fish name but these are the ovaries of fish, uncooked.
Place: An Izakaya (Japanese restaurant) near Atami station.
I would appriciate if someone can tell me about the fish.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mount Fuji

I am sure there are many blogs, articles on this topic but since the official season of climbing has started I just want to share my experiences when I climbed it last year.

It was my second time climbing Mt. Fuji. There is a saying in Japan that "If you haven't climbed Mt Fuji even once, you are fool. If you are climbing it twice, you are a fool". Well, I decided to be a fool and prepared for the climb based on my first experience.

There are loads of articles on internet on how to prepare for the climb. You can find some useful information here.

Me and my friends started climbing at 8 PM on a Friday and except for few minutes break to catch our breaths we reached till 8th station smoothly. The top of the mountain was in sight and I thought we will easily make it before sunrise. But after 8th station, situation was worse than a crowded escalator in any metro station in Tokyo. It wasn't moving at all. Somehow we crossed 9th station and the sky turned deep blue from black and then orange towards east. We could almost see faces of people lining up at the top to watch sunrise but I decided to take a good spot right there and watch the sunrise. It was a good decision because ever after watching sunrise it took us another 45 minutes to cover 10 minutes distance. Anyway the crowd was all calm and orderly as usual unlike any place in world.

Eventually it paid off since I could click amazing sunrise and moonset pictures from the same spot.

After enjoying some more hours at the top of Japan and enjoying extraordinarily pricy curry rice and noodles we decided to call it a day and get down. The descent is the worst part of this. It feels like forever. Something like a mirage. You see the end of the trail till your eyes can reach and once you reach there, the trail still goes on and on.

A word of caution: One of my friend and his wife nearly got stranded on their way back because they reached late and started their descent too late. Fortunately they met a Japanese person who helped them get back to nearest city and stay there overnight. Their first climb became a horror story to tell instead of a good memory. Study the routes well and call it quits if you can't make it within planned time. People have died here. Not to mention the horrible Aokigahara forest at the mountain base.

If you take basic precautions and read the instructions very well, Mt. Fuji is certainly a place to visit while in Japan.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer gifts

Rainy season is officially over! Hot and humid summer is here to stay for couple of months.
Summer is the period of various festivals. It is also the time when you send gift packs to your friends, family and colleagues. Since I first came to Japan, wonderful gift packets and the whole range of items presented as gifts have  always amazed me.

Assorted beer cans, cooking oils, soya sauce (shoyu) in summer gift packages

 High quality meat is also a  nice summer gift.
These are very few examples of what is available in summer gift packs. Of course wine, sake, coffee, green tea, cold drinks, dried fish, cookies are also available from wide choices of other gifts.

For me, when I see these in the super markets it's the feeling that time for hanabi (firework) is close!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Time to go digital

For those with analogue TV sets, they will lose the TV transmission from 24th July

We bought our digital TV last year when Japan government was offering certain points as a way to promote more eco-friendly products and revive the economy.

Eco points were going to be halved after December 2010. So we rushed to Yodobashi camera in early November and decided on 40 inches Sharp AQUOS. Eco points + Yodobashi camera discount got me almost 50% off. It has proved a good choice so far.

For those who missed on the digitalization wave or have just arrived in Japan, here are some tips:

  • Don't go for any second hand TV set unless you are certain that the TV is capable of digital transmission. You will notice a mark on right hand top of the screen saying アナログ  meaning Analogue.
  • For most of the mansion the antenna for digital transmission should be taken care by building management company.

  • If you are not sure about what will happen with your current TV set, first talk to your mansion superintendent or if you live in a single story house refer to this.

By the way here is the comparison in digital and analogue quality for those interested.

Analogue Transmission

And the digital transmission
You may not notice the difference immediately but if you click and enlarge the pictures and compare them overlapping you will know what I mean.