Archive for March, 2010
Quick Bites of Japan
Japan offers a lot to see and even more to eat. Here is a quick guide of things to try in Japan:
- In Hiroshima, try the Hiroshima style okonomiyaki. Close by at Miyajima Island, definitely try the seasonal Momeji manju.
- You can’t go wrong with food in Osaka. At the very least, you must try the Kansai style okonomiyaki
- In the Chubu area (Kanazawa, Takayama, Toyama, etc.), try the zaru soba
- In Kyoto, try the koshi katsu in the Gion district
- In Tokyo, you must have the fresh sushi early in the morning near the Tsukiji market
In addition to these, you can try the other well known dishes like yakisoba, tempura, taco yaki, and katsu pretty much in any place in the country. I am a foodie and one of the reasons why I like Japan so much is because of all the great food options that provide us! Happy eating!
by Adnan Mahmud
Going through Tokyo Part 2
Here is the second part of my list of my favorite activities in Tokyo:
Watching Cherry Blossoms
Japan is famous for its Cherry Blossoms. If you are lucky to be in Tokyo during the blossoms, make sure you take in as much of it as possible. Check out the blossoms at Chidorigafuchi, Ueno Park, and Nakameguro. If you are Chidorigafuchi, take the boat ride. The evenings at Ueno Park are a lot of fun. During the blossoms (called sakura), Japenese people go out to the parks in groups. They set up picnic like hangouts called “hanamis” where they hang out, drink, and enjoy the blossoms with friends and loved ones.
World’s busiest intersection is thought to be right outside the Hachiko exit in the Shibuya station. The best view of it could be had from a higher position – lots of those options around the intersection.
Take a day trip
If you are not going to get out of Tokyo for your trip, take a day trip to at least one of these locations – Hakone, Nikko, or Kamakura. These will get you out of the fast-paced Tokyo life and give you a glimpse into another side of Japan.
by Adnan Mahmud
Going through Tokyo Part 1
Tokyo is a well-documented city in terms of tourist options. You can open up any travel guide and pick out anything from that book and you are guaranteed to enjoy it. So, I will suggest some of my favorite activities:
Spending the New Years
New Year is the biggest holiday in Japan. If you come here during that time, a lot of the attractions might be closed the first 3-5 days of the new year, however, you will get a chance to see a lot of culture, everything from folks dressed in Kimono to people visiting shrines to traditional Japanese food. Tokyo is a little cool during that time, but the northern and eastern parts are covered in snow. If you are in Tokyo during New Years you should check out Zojoji Temple for the countdown followed by a night out at Roppongi. Around 3/4 AM, you can make your way to one of the nearby mountains – popular destination for the locals who believe it is good luck to see the first sunrise of the new year.
Harajuku on Sundays
If you are in Tokyo, outside of the New Year check out Harajuku on a Sunday. Takeshita Street in Harajuku is lined with shops, hair salons, and restaurants. Right next to Harajuku station is the Meiji Shrine – the most famous shrine in Tokyo. During Sunday afternoons, on your way to Meiji Shrine, you might be able to see few young people dressed as dolls. Sundays are also popular for traditional Japanese weddings at Meiji Shrine.
Tsukiji Fish Market
This is one of a kind market. Every morning starting at 3 AM they have huge auctions. Restaurants from all over Japan get their fresh supply of fish from this market. However make sure to plan your trip to the market as they are closed on Sundays.
Tucked in between the Shinjuku Skyscraper district is this massive garden. It’s a great place to take a break from our busy travel schedule with lots of open spaces dotted around the work.
by Adnan Mahmud
Well spring time in Oklahoma can be a roller coaster ride with the weather. Yesterday was beautiful! We had a light wind and low 70 degree temperatures with plenty of sunshine. Today should be more of the same with low to mid 70 degree weather and sunshine most of the day. Tonight it is all supposed to change. This evening we are expecting a storm to move in bringing us some rain and possibly thunderstorms.
The real fun begins tomorrow. As the rain moves in overnight, on Saturday we are supposed to have a cold front move in as well. The temperatures will top out early Saturday morning around 45 and then they will start to drop. They will be at or below freezing by late in the afternoon and we all know what happens when we have rain and dropping temps…SNOW!
Are you kidding me? Two days of 70-degree weather followed by snow…welcome to spring break in Oklahoma! Seems like we always have some snow on spring break. They are only calling for 2-4 inches and with the warm days leading up to it there will not likely be any major issues. What it really does for me is make me want to get on a plane and go island hunting! Fortunately that will come in May…too bad it won’t come in April.
I am planning to do some more reviews this weekend and next week so keep an eye out.
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of a great loss in my life and also a great loss to Chandler, Oklahoma. I grew up in Chandler and have fond memories. One of the greatest influences on my life outside of my family was my baseball coach, Mark Howard. He passed away from complications associated with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. I made a post one year ago today about my thoughts. That first post was a tough one to make and honestly it hasn’t gotten any easier to reflect on my experiences and the lessons learned from Mark.
At Mark’s funeral I was given a blue bracelet to remember him by, and I have worn it everyday for the past year. I decided this morning to take that bracelet off and put it with all my other baseball memories. I decided to take the bracelet off because I think that Mark would want me to move on. He taught us to remember our roots and traditions but he also taught us not to get hung up on the bad things that happen in our lives. I will never forget the lessons he taught me and I will continue to pass his legacy along to anyone I can. His dedication to his family and job were second to none and I try everyday to dedicated myself as much. I was lucky enough to work with Mark during the summers outside of baseball and he exhibited the same work ethic and determination no matter what the task at hand. You simply could not spend time around him without this rubbing off on you. As a young man growing up this example was invaluable. I know that he was able to touch the lives of so many young people through baseball and he will never be forgotten.
His family will always be a part of those he touched and we will all do anything to help them. They shared their husband and father with us and we will forever owe them a debt we can never repay.
Thank you Coach. Thank you Mel, Randee, and Karlee.