Here now and now here or nowhere

The title of this blog comes from a play on words that "now here" is also the same letters as "nowhere" just with a space added in the middle. I am always trying to get better at being in the here and now, and I've always been a bit of a joker so that is why I chose this name.

Monday, June 28, 2010

mutsumiya ramen

while having a day to walk around Matsumoto, I decided to get some ramen as it was cold and raining and.. well do i really need an excuse for ramen?

there were two shops next to each other and after asking one of the locals about which shop to go to, he pointed me to Mutsumiya's. Of course he didn't speak any english so i don't really know if he knew what i was asking or if he just wanted to point me away from him.

Mutsumiya (i later found out) is a chain of ramen shops specializing in Hokkaido style. I decided to go with the kita no megumi (meaning northern blessing) type of ramen.

from the menu

I was not disappointed. it had a creamy slight taste to it and the corn added a little fun and flair to it.

the product delivered.

as usual, another delicious ramen... i really think that I have to start learning proper ways to make ramen as I'll be in withdrawal when/if i come back to the states...


Yes, zushi, not sushi. Saba means mackerel, so it's sort of like mackerel sushi, but different.

Sabazushi is made with saba that has been lightly pickled in salt, then filleted. The fillets are then pickled in sushi vinegar (rice vinegar and sugar) for a short time. Next the outer skin of the saba is carefully peeled away (retaining a delicate inner skin), remaining small bones are extracted with a tweezer-like device.

The fillet is placed into a kigata (a wooden form) for making oshizishi (pressed sushi) which is filled with sushi rice. A very thinly sliced piece of pickled kombu (kelp) is placed atop the saba. It is then pressed in the wooden form.

After pressing the sabazushi is placed in dried bamboo shoot covering and wrapped. The sabazushi will now keep (for a short time by modern standards).

Saba-zushi originally began as a way to get the “fresh” mackerel to the Kyoto-ites in their more landlocked position without having the fish spoil.

the wrapped saba-zushi

from the top

from the side

I also bought some narazuke, vegetables fermented in sake sediments. very pungent, very delicious(in small doeses)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A day in Nara

I went to Nara for the day to see the deer park as well as the world's largest wooden temple which also contains japan's largest buddha statue. Nara is a really beautiful city with a small town feel. Friendly people and a park that houses numerous deer that roam free. the deer actually own the park, so don't mess with them. You can buy cookies to feed the deer but the deer will also just com up to you and start eating paper from your hand, pockets or purses. it's sort of funny and a little sad. I bought some cookies to feed them but i couldn't open the paper. Next thing I know I am surrounded by about 12-15 deer and they are hungry. They started to nipple on me and then a few with horns were head butting me and some smaller ones were jumping on me. I didn't know what to do and just ended up throwing the cookies into their mouths. as soon as I was out of cookies, the deer dispersed. they knew how to place this came, and they play it well. The fellow traveller I was with got a few photos of this but sadly she deleted the video on accident of them attacking me.

5 story pagoda

a walk through a zen garden

in the zen garden there was this little house that had a watermill attached to it. beautiful and serene to be near it

inside the outer gate at Tōdai-ji (the world's largest wooden building)

about to enter the main hall of Tōdai-ji

inside the Great Buddha Hall looking at the world's largest buddha.

buddha from the front left

a god of some sort inside the Great Buddha Hall

buddha from the front right

Yakushi Nyorai, the medicine buddha. you touch whatever is ailing you on this buddha and it is supposed to help heal your ailment

inside the temple is this hole in one of the pillar bases. you can try to crawl through it. I tried... couldn't even get my shoulders in.

hello dear

line of lamps..

deer fountain

i got this at the market. was so tasty, a pickled garlic with bonito flakes. so damn good!

this was a tofu fermented in miso. tasted sort of like wispride cheese. very tasty

for dinner i had a spicy cod row stuffed fish. also very yumz

Sake tasting at 10am. I had full glasses of each of these drinks, which explains my buzz. also in the front are some narazuke, or vegetables fermented in a sake paste. an pungent taste that i happen to have acquired a liking for.

Osaka briefly... in pictures

I loved Kyoto, would move there in a heartbeat if i could. here are some pics from my few days here. we did a whirlwind tour on bikes around the whole city and saw much of Kyoto. though, there are over 1000 temples and shrines so we didn't come close to seeing it all.

a torii gate leading to a waterfall.

Togetsukyo Bridge

Arashiyama bamboo forest

the three of us in front of the golden temple (not my best photo face)

golden temple Kinkaku-ji

my first geisha sighting, and unfortunately my only picture of one

all zen like at the silver temple Ginkaku-ji

this was taken at Fushimi Inari-taisha. i liked the cat sleeping here. (i'll post a seperate blog about my night tour here)

on top of Fushimi Inari, with kyoto in the background


champion karaoke singer of the world




before i left kyoto by bus i stopped in for some coffee at this random spot. I really liked the dog here, hana. loot at her slouched on the counter

and then when i sat at the counter, she sat on my lap :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

a great day in Okinawa

so, i've been offline for a bit as I met friends in tokyo and would rather have spent time with them than be online. Last I wrote, I talked about a great day in Okinawa. well I wanted to share some of the pics of the day with y'all.

I started the day with a walk around a traditional Okinawan folk village.

this little guy looked cute, so i went to pet him. he then decided to bite my hand. ever been bit by a duck? I have

i paid a little extra to see the mongoose vs local poisonous snake show. the law doesn't allow them to actually fight on stage anymore (boooo) so they have them both up there in class cubes and they take the snake out to show it off. they even wave it slowly in front of your face and tell you not to move. Then they show this "3D" animated video of the mongoose eating the snake. Following, we get to taste a powdered snake thing. not sure exactly what it was but it did not taste wonderful.

I was then picked up by two people I met at a couchsurfing party the night before. We also had another girl from couchsurfing coming along for the ride. We decided to stop, get some food and eat lunch on the beach. it was beautiful with great weather. Sadly, Camilo took most of the pictures and I haven't gotten them yet..

the beach we picnicked on.

our little picnic

people from around the world. meeting through couchsurfing

As we got closer to the aquarium (it's about an hour and half drive from where we were) we passed by pineapple land. I really wanted to stop in for a moment, but didn't know if we'd have time. we decided to not go in as it cost 500yen and it seemed high for what we wanted. we accidently went into the exit for the souvenir shop which was meant just for paying guests and we found the mecca. The inside was paved with food samplings. pineapples, pineapple related foods and then okinawan foods such as goya and pig ears. yum!

uniting the world through pineapple!!


For those wondering, pineapple wine is not as good as it may sound to you.

me sampling some pineapple. i ate a SHITLOAD of pineapple that day.

PINEAPPLE!! and me giving the little Japanese girl picture sign

next stop, aquarium.

we got there and the first thing I really wanted to do was see the dolphin show, sowe went.

dolphin saying "hello"

notice the yellow brown near the bottom of the dolphin.. take a guess what that dolphin just did.


this guy had a little feist and comedy in his routine.

it t'was a big fish

rays of all sorts



more sharks and such.

Camilo and me inside a sharks mouth.