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13 May 2015 @ 11:28 am
People who visited Japan could have noticed that food is everywhere, you even sometimes ask yourself "how Japanese people are not fat?".
I noticed this since a long time, but my friend who visisted recently the country couldn't avoid to tell me that.
If you didn't visit Japan yet, when you'll come, you'll understand ;)

So, let's start with some meals, that of course I've tried myself. And at same time, giving some extra info.

When you arrive in Japan, you might be lost with all restaurants, menus in Japanese, unknown food...
For a easy choice and small budget you can go in a "SUKIYA" or "YOSHINOYA".
The menu is full of images, sometimes they have English version.
This one is a "Gyudon", bowl of rice with topping composed of beef and onions. The extra salad is cheap, don't hesitate to order one. You have some dressings on the table, usually there a sesame dressing, onion dressing, and chinese dressing.

The combini is an alternative to get food on the road for a small budget. You can always ask to warm your food inside the shop, or sometimes there are microwaves at the entrance for your use.
Here we bought a onigiri box containing also omelet, croquette and kamaboko.

For another budget, at least if you want to get really good ones : TEMPURA.
Fried vegetables and shrimps.
We went to a typical restaurant with a Japanese friend, fortunately because there is no image, no English menu and even no "romaji".

To be polite, I've eaten the shrimp in full. Yes, with legs and head!!! It was horrible to think about it, but finally it was easy and not bad or hard to eat.
pas de titre

Not the first time I went to Osaka, but first time for my friend. So with Japanese friends we brought her to a "Kushikatsu" shop.
Sticks with vegetables-meat-fish fried. Here you can see a selection with many different ingredients:
Lotus root, garlic, tomato, chicken ball, paprika, onions, etc etc.
The rule is to put the stick only once in the sauce, this one is used for everybody and even next customers.

Another speciality from Osaka: TAKOYAKI
These ones were purchased in Tokyo though.

So, you can also cook your takoyaki by yourself in some restaurants in Osaka. Funny to try, but not easy!

The TONKATSU is common in Japan, easy to order and find a bit everywhere. If you don't understand Japanese, the only thing is that sometimes you don't really know if it's chicken, pork, etc... But basically all are good.
Here, ther served already with the sauce, but usually you can put it by yourself. This sauce was a bit different than the usual one, so that explains maybe why.

Fried chicken and gyoza. I love gyoza, but to be honest that restaurant was not the best one. My japanese friend told it was a good place to eat Ramen, but I wasn't in the mood for that. I have doubts about the "oishii" place, it wasn't so clean haha.

Something I love, it's "MATSURI", the festivals held a bit everywhere in Japan, following seasons. There are always food stalls, with so many different things to eat.
This one is a OKONOMIYAKI, take-out version.

Another version of the Okonomiyaki, with noodles.
This one was cooked in front of us, in a little restaurant on MIYAJIMA Island.
The Okonomiya noodle is typical from Hiroshima prefecture.

Japaneses seems to love pasta, and I also do! They have many Italian restaurants, but of course, their Italian pasta have always a Japanese note. This one was composed with a garlic saucen scallop and nori.

The UDON, can also be found everywhere.
This dish is composed of udon, tempura and pork. The place was nice, sitting on the ground and located in Mt Fuji area.

Another style of "KATSU", like the Tonkatsu I shown previously, they have many variations. This one was with vegetables inside.
I took a little DONBURI in extra: bowl of rice with mashed raw tuna. The Donburi can have different toppings of course.

And to close this 1st part of Japanese food, a BENTO. The bento is the box composed with different ingredients, separated by cases.
Usually vegetables, fish or meat, rice.
The bento is most of all a take-out meal that you can buy in combini, bento stores, supermarkets, stations, etc ....
22 April 2015 @ 08:24 am
Today not a visit in Tokyo or anywhere... [apart to the supermarket to buy some food] ...
But finally finished a new artwork. I worked since a moment on a digital painting.
I can say it's not my favourite way to work, I don't feel free with the graphic tablet compared to the real brushes and painting.
The positive is that you can create nice 3D effects and get a really smoothened painting.
Final label is not approved yet, just posting a sneak peak....

20 April 2015 @ 09:25 am
As the 16/04/2015 was long, this is the next part of the day.
Direction to the DAIJINGU shrine. This shrine is listed as one of the 5 main Tokyo shrines.
This one is dedicated to love and couples...

On the website, they announced a festival (matsuri)on  the 16 & 17th. 16th should be the small part of the event, main on 17th.
There were indeed many lanterns at the entrance and inside the shrine, but nothing else, so it probably started only in the evening.
I missed it, as I can't stay late in Tokyo.

The spot to clean your hands and mouth before to enter the temple.
It is said that you have to be clean to enter the temple.
Take one of the ladle with 1 hand, fill in with the water.
Put a part of the water in the empty hand to wash it, take the ladle with the other hand, put another part of the water to wash it too.
And remaining part of water for your mouth. You can spit the water.
Be careful to not do that in the clear water. Always check what Japanese are doing before, then you can mimic.

As I started a collection of "GOSHUIN" [calligraphy & stamp of the shrine] collection, no way to leave this place without one.
While waiting the monk is drawing it (no picture, it was in a hidden room), I recieved a cute number sign and a cold tea.

I admit that it's not the most pretty I got until now. Just have to check to know what is written.
At least, on the left side, the date is added, if you can read it, then you can remember the name of the shrine/temple where you collected them.
(it can be written on the right side though)

Just for the cuteness...

Time to leave the shrine for another spot.

Next destination is the Koishikawa Korakuen, a nice garden. This one was bigger than I thought, fortunately I decided to get a bento in the garden's restaurant before to start the walking.
The garden closes usually around 16:30 or 17:00, and fee to enter is only 300 yen.

The garden is pretty and quite, and desserve to take some time to visit it. You have the main lake, but also many little spots in the middle of the wood.

You can cross some people around the lake, drawing or taking pictures.

All spots in the garden has a sign with explanations.

You will cross many ducks, often flying around the lake, and begging for food to some photographers.

HAKE-DO ruins : in the past there was a little shrine built there. Nothing remains, it was burnt in after 1923's earthquake.

ENGETSU-KYO: It is called like this because the bridge and its shadow is forming a full moon.
Interesting design.

Much more can be seen, impossible to post all pictures here.
To close the visit, I decided to get the sakura ice cream, it was delicious.

And by hasard, I found the stamp of the garden, I inaugurauted my notebook with this one, and hope I can collect many other stamps everywhere ^^

To be continued in the part III, another day...
17 April 2015 @ 10:29 am
Yesterday (16/4/2015) it was announced as a sunny day, so finally, I can plan a little trip back to Tokyo.
Weather since weeks is most of time rainy, and I was waiting so much a bit more sun.
Indeed, when I woke up, sky was blue with a big sun, and temperature in the morning was already warm.
After checking the net the day before, I found a blog talking about an area in Tokyo that I never visited :

Iidabashi has different interesting spots: shrine, temple, garden, shopping in Kagurazaka dori.

I went first to Zenkoku-ji Temple, not a big one in fact. I expected to get a Goshuin, but the "omikuji" place was closed.
Maybe too early, but it was around 11.00 am... weird.
So I decided to leave quickly, have a look in the Kagurazaka street, where you can find many restaurants and some stores.
It seems famous for its French area, but excepted some restaurants, nothing really "French".
There is also a famous area close to there, that I found without searching. It's the paved street.

The TSUKUDOHACHIMAN shrine is quite close from there. Nice place, with unexpected sakura fully bloomed.

pas de titre

There are often many stairs to reach shrines or temples.
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pas de titre

After some pictures I decided to return to the Kagurazaka-dori to have some food. Not noon yet, but already hungry.
Just got a burger at "Mos Burger", to continue my visit without starving.

To be continued... 
10 April 2015 @ 04:35 am
I just started a blog, and maybe you're wondering why ?
Many of you don't use Facebook, Twitter etc and I can't update my website often, so an open blog to post all news about "Helcanen" like Painting, photography, news, etc etc...
You can see a bit of everything and maybe a bit of nothing.