I’m just taking a moment to post quick photos and explanations of cool stuff from my trip.
There was a party for me at a bar near Eric’s apartment. The owner gave the gift of a huge platter of sushi. There was also a cake!
We did our best to finish this platter!
I could not have done this by myself
It’s a combination birthday (for another guest) and welcome (for me) cake!
It is possible to buy baseball game tickets at the ATM at the “konbini” or convenience store. Most konbinis are either Lawson Station or 7-Eleven stores. You need to be able to read Japanese, though so Eric’s friend Yukiko did the honors and got us tickets to Wednesday’s Honshu Giants major league game in Tokyo!
Arigato gozaimas, Yukiko-san!
I have no idea why the Lala Square mall building has eyes. I do know you can see it on Google Earth. It’s an 8 story building with lots of shops. I went to a couple of stores and got some travel items and some awesome leg warmers for this coming winter.
Look for Lala Square, Utsunomiya on Google Earth and see the eyes.
This machine sells tickets for different noodle-bowl meals at the train station. You look at the picture, put money in the vending machine, choose the corresponding ticket and hand it in to get your meal.
Look at the photos and choose
Pay and choose your ticket
Utsunomiya is famous for its gyoza (Chinese dumplings). You may have had the same thing when you order from a Chinese restaurant at home. Why is a Chinese dish so popular in Japan? There’s got to be a story in that but I don’t know the answer. I do know that Makafuko’s makes excellent gyoza!
Crispy on the outside, soft and yummy on the inside!
We took a long train ride to an awesome area in the mountains called Nikko. (“Nee-ko”). It’s a series of huge temple buildings built in different styles. We were in a rush because we took the wrong railroad to get there and only had 90 minutes of touring time before closing. Also it started to rain. The area is lush and green, moss covers everything. The buildings have astounding carvings, statues, paintings, gold and other decorated metal. There are several sections where you cannot take photos. You remove your shoes to go into the more sacred areas. We didn’t get to everything but we saw the important stuff.
This is just one of many temple buildings
These monkeys represent “Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil, and See no Evil”
This is one of two giant statues that guard the main entrance.
Look closely at the designs hammered into the metal of these posts